Donald Trump crosses the line criticizing Ben Carson's religion

Donald Trump went off the deep end, criticizing Ben Carson's religion.

Speaking at a campaign rally here, Trump was in the midst of discussing his standing in the polls, including recent Iowa surveys that showed him falling behind Carson in the GOP race. Then, he brought up religion.

"I love Iowa. And, look, I don't have to say it, I'm Presbyterian," said Trump. "Can you believe it? Nobody believes I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."

As the Des Moines Register notes, "some conservatives have argued Seventh-day Adventists … aren't Christians." Carson is a twice-baptized Seventh-day Adventist....

I am sure Trump supporters will say that saying "I don't know much about" Carson's religion is a neutral statement.  But if you look at the context above, it seems very, very clear to me that he is suggesting that there is something suspect about Carson's religion.  What if he had said, "I'm a Presbyterian.  But I don't know about Catholics"?  Wouldn't that have been offensive?  What Trump did crossed the line.

There has been a lot of ink spilled criticizing radical Islam, and for very good reason – tens of thousands of people kill in the name of it.  But I have never heard of a Seventh-day Adventist killing someone in the name of religion.  Whatever they believe, it shouldn't be criticized.  It is wrong, un-American, even, to criticize someone else's religion (unless his religion calls for murdering the rest of us).

This comment goes to Trump's judgment and temperament.  He has crossed the line before, when he called women "bimbos," but never like this.  It makes me wonder if he's too abrasive to be president.

On the other hand, however, I do worry about the other candidates for the opposite reason.  I worry that Hillary Clinton will make mincemeat of Ben Carson because he will never attack her.  I worry that Ted Cruz will attack Hillary Clinton but in an abstract, legalist fashion that will not touch voters' emotions.  I worry that Jeb will fall alseep during debates.  Donald Trump has the ability to attack when he needs to, but his tendency to go overboard is worrying.

One final note: Trump's repeating, three times in a row, "I'm Presbyterian.  I'm Presbyterian.  I'm Presbyterian." sounds desperate and phony.  I don't believe he carries his Bible around.  I don't believe he's particularly religious.  I think he loses credibility when he tries to appeal as a religious conservative, when he is clearly not.

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of, the conservative news site.

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