Recap of the ongoing series: Politics is unimportant of itself, but Torah does give us instructions on how to pick leaders, so we should look to follow, not look to ignore.
I’ve been basing my conclusions on the following:
1) The president must be a brother. Devarim/Deuteronomy 17:15 says when we set up a king, he is to be someone whom YHVH chooses. He is to be a brother (or by interpretation sister), and not a foreigner. I take this to mean not a blood brother, but someone who has the same Father, namely YHVH.
2) A judge ought to be able, god-fearing, truthful, and hating covetousness/dishonest gain (Exodus 18:21). This is fairly straight forward, but I note that it doesn’t say “knowing Torah”. These characteristics when confronted with truth found in Torah would be inclined to obey it, but there have been god-fearing truthful people in scripture who did not know Torah. David and Yoshiyahu, for example.
Since the Torah gives us qualities to seek, judging fruit is an obvious necessity. This is not to say that I presume to know a soul’s destiny, but YHVH expects us to act upon what we know, not what we can’t know. Conclusions so far, based on a command to find POSITIVE evidence of each quality?
Ben Carson (R)
Brotherhood? Inquisitr.com (http://www.inquisitr.com/2547760/ben-carson-talks-about-faith-love-and-his-career-on-the-kelly-file/) quotes Carson as saying, “faith played a huge role in my transition when I almost stabbed someone.” I like this, especially in that he goes on to say how he prayed for God’s help to take away his temper. I like that interaction, inspite of the vague nebulus “faith” reference, which in this case I chalk up to lack of attention on the summary of the article.
The Christian Post (http://www.inquisitr.com/2547760/ben-carson-talks-about-faith-love-and-his-career-on-the-kelly-file/) quoting Carson’s own writing, Gifted Hands, says that Carson was twice baptized as a seventh-day Adventist because he didn’t feel he’d fully understood the importance when baptized as an infant. Baptism is itself a profession of faith isn’t it? Especially as 12 year old, so that is substantive to me as a mark of faith. And isn’t it really? How many other candidates have mentioned being baptized? An archaic, kind of weird ceremony (at least when done to an adult)?
More plainly written in another of his works, America the Beautiful, he also said “As a Christian, I am not the least bit offended by [other religions] . . . ” Some (myself included) might take issue with the smell of pluralism, but I can also see that Carson might have just been responding to the idea that Christians purportedly ‘hate’ or ‘fear’ other religions as opposed to simply believing their wrong without an emotional aversion. But there, I really wanted to note that he explicitely says he’s a Christian (and more specifically identifies as a Seventh Day Adventist).
And while denomination isn’t important, as he himself points out, I notice that Seventh Day Adventist is a little bit ‘fringe’ in the minds of some (even Christians), which makes it seem more believable to me that he is legitimately of the faith he claims.
There are more references, but to me the most powerful claim Carson has to being a brother is the frequency and ‘ease’ with which he talks about God. To me it just looks like the real deal, so I say there is substantial evidence that he is a brother.
Able? Ben Carson is being criticized on the basis of his political lack of experience, that can be taken for granted, he’s not claimed to have it. But is that the same thing as ability? Clearly no, since we’ve seen lots of ineptness from those who have had experience. Plus, the Biblical standard of leadership is not experience, but the ability to go out and come in, the ability to persuade others to act because of your actions. David had no kingly experience, but he did get others to follow him. Y’hoshua (Joshua) was born a slave, but distinguished himself by actions.
Political.com (http://www.political.com/Post/31629/dr-ben-carson-has-no-business-experience-no-military-experience-and-no-political-experience-so-why-do-republicans-want-him-to-run-for-president-in-2016) starts out by pointing out that Carson has no experience. But how does Political explain Carson’s rise? After all, when did Carson become a national figure? The article itself tells that Carson became a figure when he as an obviously educated man, had the gall to criticize President Obama to his face about the Affordable Care Act. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in a political mythos where all African-Americans have the same concerns/interests/views of government, one black man making such a statement sounds a lot like “going out and coming in”. And what happened? People flocked to him. That doesn’t mean he’s the best, but it shows ability to move people to follow.
But what experience does Carson have? Bencarson.com (https://www.bencarson.com/meet-ben), talks about his medical achievements such as successfully separating conjoined twins (at the head). Do you think you get into that position without moving people to see that you’re exceptional? He received numerous awards including from the NAACP and President Bush (GW), do you think that happens from a medical background without someone thinking you’re a leader? He started a foundation to help fund scholarships, that spread to all 50 states, and other programs. Do these look like leadership to you? They do to me. As such I have to say there is some evidence that Carson has ability.
God-fearing? Carson is Seventh-Day Adventist, that means that despite the influence of more than a thousand years of entrenched tradition, Carson knows that the only Shabbat that YHVH endorsed was the one on the seventh day. He’s also vividly pro-life.
In his account, told to CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/25/politics/ben-carson-2016-religion/index.html) of his near stabbing of another person, his reaction to that was a plea to God to change him. And he talks specifically about reading from Proverbs and seeing the bad stuff the Bible has to say about an angry man. He talks, defending Adventism, about how his denomination believes the entirety of the Bible.
When it is pointed out to him that Adventists generally don’t get involved in politics, He points to Yosef and Daniel.
In addition to recognized Shabbat and being pro-life, he also recognized homosexual behavior as a choice (though shows no efforts to overturn the recent ruling . . . but then neither would I unless it comes out of a national repentance as opposed to a top down enforcement). These things don’t show that he is god-fearing, but taken in the over-arching context of his frequent/easy professions of faith, and that many of his decisions are influenced out of his relationship with the Father, I conclude there is substantial evidence that he is god-fearing, even though I’m sure I disagree with him on many specifics of Torah and faith.
Truthful? Politifact.com (http://www.politifact.com/personalities/ben-carson/) puts Ben Carson’s half-true to True at only 19% of the time. To put that in perspective, Hillary gets 71%, Bernie Sanders also 71%, and Trump gets 17%, and Rick Santorum 44%. Now, I’m not saying those numbers are slanted (really, who believes Hillary is telling some majority of truth 71% of the time?) . . . but, when you’ve reached the place our media currently has, how can you trust them to tell you who is lying? I scroll through some of their examples, and I say, “That’s not a lie, it’s an opinion. That’s not a lie, that’s a perspective. That’s not a lie, it’s hyperbole.” Especially when it’s often paraphrased.
Most of those on politifact.org, seem to fall in this category. Ben Carson makes a statement that when I read it looks like hyperbole/an exaggeration like “every time we raise minimum wage, we get more joblessness” etc., that doesn’t sound like a precise statement it sounds like when I tell my wife “everytime you do ____” Now does that make Carson right? No. But it doesn’t convince me he did anything more than speak imprecisely.
The one that seems a legitimate concern to me, is the question of Manotech. Apparently they settled in a lawsuit about deceptive practices in marketing. Now, you and I both know that sometimes for economic reasons, companies decide to settle rather than fight a more expensive battle, even if they may be not guilty. So settling doesn’t mean the company did anything wrong (other than possibly settling). But the ‘moderators’ attack Carson as to his judgment in being involved with them. Now ‘involved’ isn’t defined. It’s vague. Am I involved with a company like McDonald’s because I eat a cheeseburger? Or better yet am I “involved” with (insert large retailer) that I work for because I take their money for my labor?
Some would say yes because there is a relationship of exchange in both cases. So in a sense yes, but does anyone say I work for ”STORE CHAIN” and count that as ‘involved’? Or do they usually use a phrases like “it’s a job” or “I collect a paycheck”? It depends on how you feel about that association. See by using association, I imply a distance. So Ben Carson doesn’t think he is being swayed by a business dealing or that it was anything more than money for speeches (which he freely admitted) or that he thought they had a good product, but that was his honest judgment, then involvement my have a stigma that he doesn’t believe is true.
Now is that being deceptive? Maybe, yes, maybe no. If he’d just said, ”I have no involvement”, I’d say that’s a lie, but he qualified it freely admitting that he’d given speeches for them. So he’s admitting some ‘involvement’ while denying the term ‘involvement.’
So I have to say that he comes uncomfortably close to lying. I’d have to say, that he walks a thin line, that like Donald Trump as mentioned earlier, that he isn’t careful enough with his speech . . . but since these utterances seem to have come from the debates, I find it a little extenuating when someone is trying to get ‘gotchas’ instead of truth out of you. I have to say there is some but not a substantial evidence that he is truthful.
Hating covetousness? I’m out of time, but I point to his charity foundation and work on giving back to the community. But I’m not sure how to tell, so I guess as with Hillary I have to find some evidence that Carson hates covetousness.
Conclusion: Finally someone I could vote for.
Donald Trump (R): No evidence he’s a brother; substantial evidence he is able; no evidence he is god-fearing; no evidence he is truthful; little evidence he is
Jim Webb (D): No evidence he’s a brother: no vote.
Martin O’Malley (D): Some evidence that he’s a brother. Some evidence that he is able. No evidence that he’s god-fearing; conclusion: no vote.
Lawrence Lessig (D): No evidence he’s a brother; conclusion: no vote.
Lincoln Chaffee (D): No evidence he’s a brother; conclusion: no vote.
Hillary Clinton (D): Some evidence she is a sister. Some evidence she has ability. No evidence she is god-fearing. No evidence she is truthful. Some evidence she hates covetousness/dishonest gain. Conclusion: No vote.
Bernie Sanders (D): Does not look like a brother. Has some ability. Is not godfearing. Somewhat truthful. Somewhat anti-covetous. Conclusion: No vote.