Dr. Ben Carson has become more politically outspoken as of late and it may have landed him in the political boiling pot.
The world-famous neurosurgeon and Johns Hopkins University’s director of pediatric neurosurgery has been making more appearances on conservative talks shows including Sean Hannity of Fox.
In what seems to be Dr. Carson’s last year as the school’s director, he is becoming the Republican’s fresh, black face of the party.
The GOP had a party “autopsy” in early February as announced by RNC Chairman Reince Prebius.
A major key to the party’s autopsy is reaching out to minorities.
Dr. Carson provides that opportunity for the RNC.
Dr. Carson, a known religious conservative, said Tuesday on Fox News to Sean Hannity,
“My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality–it doesn’t matter what they are–they don’t get to change the definition.”
The subsequent media storm came in the same week the Supreme Court of the United States weighed arguments for and against California’s Proposition 8 law, which bans gay marriage, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
This has proven to not work in Dr. Carson’s favor, although he and Hannity should have been well aware of the consequences of discussing a sensitive topic like this without tremendous care.
Furthermore, Dr. Carson should have been aware of the network’s “us vs. them” mentality, which unnecessarily creates false dichotomies in almost any important issue.
The network has been known to ride the momentum of a person’s popularity and then throw them under the bus once they become a liability to the network (it’ll be interesting to see if Fox News backs Dr. Carson or ditches him at the first sign of trouble).
The resulting effect of those two sentences from Dr. Carson have caused country-wide controversy and has even led to groups at Johns Hopkins University to petition his commencement speech.
Dr. Carson has since been frantically trying to clear his name from his controversial remarks — remarks that people say linked the LGBTQ community and their quest for equal marriage benefits to pedophilia and bestiality.
Nationally, he appeared on CNN to talk with Wolf Blitzer. When Blitzer asked Dr. Carson if he could see how his remarks could be offensive, Dr. Carson responded by mostly clarifying what he intended to say instead of addressing what he actually said and how it was perceived by the LGBTQ community and groups empathetic to their cause.
Dr. Carson did, however offer this apology,
“As a Christian, we have a duty to love everyone and to love them as ourselves. So, you know, I love gay people. I love straight people. So this was really, I think, on my behalf, somewhat insensitive and I certainly apologize if I offended anyone because I was not in any way comparing gays with people who engage in bestiality or sexual child abuse.”
In a telephone interview with The Baltimore Sun, Dr. Carson responded to his mounting criticism by saying,
“I think people have completely taken the wrong meaning out of what I was saying. First of all, I certainly believe gay people should have all the rights that anybody else has. What I was basically saying is that as far as marriage is concerned that has traditionally been between a man and a woman and nobody should be able to change that.”
When Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC asked Dr. Carson if he was prepared to withdraw from giving his commencement speech he said,
“Absolutely. I would say this is their day and the last thing I would want to do is rain on their parade.”
“We have so many pressing problems in our country, and at some point we’re going to have to tone down the rhetoric and just move toward solutions to the multitudinous problems or we’re going to go right down the tubes, just like every other pinnacle nation that has done many of the same things we’re doing.”
Dr. Carson also told Mitchell that he backs things like “the right to transfer property” and hospital “visitation,” but as a Christian doesn’t believe the term marriage should be redefined as it defined by “God.”
As of 4:08 p.m. on Sunday, Dennis O’Shea, executive director of media relations at Johns Hopkins University issued this statement in an email to The Huffington Post,
“Dr. Carson is a distinguished Johns Hopkins surgeon and scientist chosen to speak at the School of Medicine diploma ceremony because of his extraordinary accomplishments as a neurosurgeon and his many contributions as an advocate for education and children […] He was not asked to speak because of his personal political, religious or social views. His personal views are just that, his own. When he speaks about them, he is not speaking on behalf of Johns Hopkins.”
As of now, it looks as though Dr. Carson will not experience too much political fallout for voicing his beliefs nationally.
The university still backs Dr. Carson and is not going to let two poorly chosen sentences detract from all that Dr. Carson has done for the university and the community.
However, Dr. Carson should take this time to reflect on his legacy, his beliefs, the state of the country and the appropriate time and place to voice his concerns.
Right now, America is moving away from traditional notions of marriage, equality, the economy, the media and the role of the government, so it may behoove Dr. Carson to think carefully and stand behind his words if this is truly what he believes.
On the other hand, Dr. Carson’s critics should understand that not everyone is going to see the world the way they do.
Like O’Shea said, Dr. Carson’s remarks reflect his view of life — they are his opinions.
This should not take away from what Dr. Carson has accomplished and the impact he has had on education, science and the lives of infirmed children — the weakest among us.
Even in these testy times of American history, I think Dr. Carson and his critics have debated the topic of gay marriage respectfully and tastefully.
If only the rest of America paid attention.