Ben Carson shifts position on Muslims in politics


By Eugene Scott, CNN
Updated 1:42 PM ET, Tue September 22, 2015
Carson clarified that his concern is that the president prioritize the U.S. Constitution over his or her faith
“I don’t care what a person’s religion beliefs are or religious heritage is,” Carson said Tuesday

Washington (CNN)Ben Carson is changing his position on whether Muslims are fit to be president.

After sparking a controversy over the weekend by saying he doesn’t think a Muslim should be in the White House, the Republican presidential contender said Tuesday that he is more interested in the president prioritizing the U.S. Constitution over his or her faith.

“I don’t care what a person’s religion beliefs are or religious heritage is,” he said Tuesday at a news conference in Sharonville, Ohio. “If they embrace our Constitution and are willing to place that above their religious beliefs, I have no problem with that.”

That’s a significant shift from Sunday when, during on appearance on “Meet the Press,” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Carson, “Do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?”

“No, I do not,” Carson responded. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson has walked back his comments since then.

In a post on Facebook on Monday night, Carson outlined his position, though he included the requirement that a Muslim candidate would have to disavow Sharia law in order to get his support.

“I could never support a candidate for President of the United States that was Muslim and had not renounced the central tenant of Islam: Sharia Law,” he wrote. “I know that there are many peaceful Muslims who do not adhere to these beliefs. But until these tenets are fully renounced … I cannot advocate any Muslim candidate for President.”

Carson attempted to shift the conversation Tuesday, saying that it is not an urgent topic.