It's been noted that the meteoric rise of Ben Carson, the world-class neurosurgeon hailed as the future of the GOP, hit a snag last week when he compared marriage equality to pedophilia and bestiality at a time when some conservatives are desperately trying to make their party more appealing to gay people. But while the rising star apologized for those remarks, it turns out a passage in his 1999 book may complicate the attempt at crisis cleanup.
In his book "The Big Picture," Carson went even further than his recent remarks, calling homosexuality a sin comparable to murder and cheating. The book decries the "obsession with politically correct speech," saying it has "reduced the quality of meaningful dialogue" and that it "discourages honesty."
The two biggest issues where political correctness becomes a problem, Carson's writes, are abortion and gay rights. On the latter, he explains by way of an example. After a gay couple brought their child in to be examined at Carson's clinic, a colleague told him, "I know you don't approve of homosexual relationships ... but I was impressed with that couple ... Think what you want, but it's just your opinion."
Carson writes that he replied thusly:
My response wasn't nearly that politically correct. "Excuse me, but I beg to differ," I said. "How I feel and what I think isn't just my opinion. God in his Word says very clearly that he considers homosexual acts to be an 'abomination.'" Whenever I point out that God calls homosexual behavior a sin, I am usually quick to add that the Bible just as clearly calls a lot of other things wrong -- lying, cheating, adultery, murder, gluttony -- and I am not going to try to justify any those things in order to be politically correct either.
Carson, however, says that "just because I believe homosexual behavior is wrong does not mean, therefore, that I think it is right to discriminate against gays." He continues by writing that he believes that "God loves gay people just as much as he loves any sinner -- and we are all sinners."
In February of 2009 Carson told the Washington Times, "What alternative families have done wrong is tear down those things that have worked so well for the millennium ... Children need two parents and nurturing." (Incidentally, in that same profile, he praised the Obama family as "highly functional, intellectual" family, saying he was "delighted" by their prominence as "the Obamas are role models for everyone.")
In 2012, he told Newsmax of the growing acceptance of homosexuality, "And that's one reason I am so against this political correctness stuff, because it is absolutely destructive. And it's the same thing that happened to ancient Rome." He expanded on his view of how homosexuality contributed to the fall of Rome in his 2012 political book, "America the Beautiful," even though it's ahistorical, as same-sex marriages existed only during the early Pagan era and were banned long before the fall.
As Dave Weigel noted, in "America the Beautiful" Carson writes that he has "no problem" letting gays live as they wish, "as long as they don't try to impose their lifestyle on everyone else. Marriage is a very sacred institution and should not be degraded by allowing every other type of relationship to be made equivalent to it."
If Carson's comments last week that sparked controversy were unacceptable to the people who helped elevate him, it suggests they did an exceedingly lazy job of vetting him before elevating his profile with a CPAC keynote speech and heaps of glowing praise.