Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hitting the pause on Christian values

© 2016 Christy K Robinson
2011-2016: Do Christians think it's OK
to back an immoral politician?

He's done it again. The man who is known for his career as a world-famous neurosurgeon and advocate for education has said that electing a terrible person to office means laying aside your Christian principles for a time. It hasn't even been six months since he said that being nice gets you nowhere

Dr. Ben Carson is not alone in lowering his standards to put politics over personal ethics and religious beliefs.             

Days after this article was written, the New York Times
wrote a tiny, obscure correction, 
saying that 
Carson didn't actually say these words. However,
if you read his words transcribed from the videotape,
he absolutely implied them. He said he'd love to bring
back Judeo-Christian values at another time, but not now.
Following a week of controversy surrounding Donald Trump's admission of grabbing women's genitals, and a steady stream of women coming forward to say they'd been groped or assaulted or leered at while in a changing room, Dr. Ben Carson, who has defended Trump's many unChristian actions and words, implied that the women were lying about Trump. When the CNN co-host, Katty Kay, asked if he thought the victims were lying, Carson raised his voice and sneered at the anchor, shouting that her microphone should be turned off for arguing with him. And he asked if there was a plug for her mouth (to stop the journalist from speaking). He said,
“Listen, it doesn’t matter whether they’re lying or not. What matters is that the train is going off the cliff. We’re taking our eye off of that and getting involved in other issues that can be taken care of later. I love the fact that all of a sudden you want to talk about morality in our country. I would love us to bring back our Judeo-Christian values and begin to teach those things and emphasize them at a time other than a political election. Let’s do that. But right now, the train is going off the cliff.”
So it doesn't matter if Trump assaulted women, if he's lying about it now, or if the victims are lying about it. It's not as important as defeating the hated Democrat on Election Day. And if that offends your political correctness, or your godly principles of morality--hey, lay them aside and vote for the Republican.

Many of the comments below online magazine articles said, "It's Christians like Ben Carson that turned me into an ex-Christian."

I don't know what happened to Dr. Ben Carson. In addition to fame for his professional career, he was a celebrity in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, where he gave sermons and speeches all over the world, testifying how God took him out of a potential thug life and into the halls of academia because his godly mother forced him to read as a boy.

Carson co-wrote several books. I met him at one of his book tour speeches in 1990, and he signed my copy of Gifted Hands, his autobiography. His mother gave me their address and phone number when I inquired about having him speak for an organization I was a board member for. (But the nonprofit couldn't afford to fly and chauffeur and provide first-class accommodations for Dr. and Mrs. Carson and his mother to our event.)
For years, Carson enjoyed the attention for his career, and Christians flocked to his events and to hear "their" celebrity teach a Bible class or preach at a convocation. On a different book tour, he visited the church I attended in California. I didn't follow him online or in print, but at some point he retired from Johns Hopkins. He wrote in one of his books that his hand slipped when injecting a rat with cancer, and he injected himself, and had a reaction. Then he was successfully treated for prostate cancer (he seemed to connect the two incidents). I think the next time I heard about him, it was at the rise of the Tea Party, when they used his "blackness" to oppose anything and everything to do with President Obama and universal healthcare.

He started getting media attention again. Then we learned that Obamacare is worse than slavery, the Egyptian pyramids were used to store grain against famine, straight men go into prison and come out gay, he's more offended by gun control than a body with bullet holes. Worst of all, in my opinion, is his belief that government and religion should be blended because America is a "Christian nation," though he opposes another religion--especially Muslim (a dig at President Obama's African father)--in the Oval Office.
ADDITION: On March 6, 2017, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration, Carson said, "That's what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, harder for less. But they, too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue happiness and prosperity in this land."  
What? Slaves were not immigrants with dreams. They were forcefully abducted from their home and country, separated from their families, imprisoned until a slave ship with manacles could be filled with them, then transported while lying in chains in their own waste, then sold at auction, forced to work under the master's lash for the rest of their miserable lives in the hot sun or freezing cold, knowing that their children were also property and were doomed to the same fate for unknown generations to come. 
So, is the man mentally ill? In 2015, Rolling Stone wrote that fame is an addictive drug for Carson.
Even his speaking demeanor drips with disregard: the total unconcern with being audible, as if anyone who has trouble hearing needs to lean closer; the endless dilations delivered with eyes almost fully closed, as if eye contact or even the presence of others is immaterial; the answers that engage topics of interest to him at a plodding pace regardless of your available time, ending at a terminus of his choosing, the journey intelligible only to himself. More pointedly, almost the only time Carson raises his voice, opens his eyes and looks directly at someone for a response is when he's angered. 
That's not the man I met in the 1990s, the man who urged people to get an education, and to have dreams and goals to pursue. The younger Carson certainly had an ego, but not the bitter, nasty temper. He still had Christian values then, that included being nice to people, telling the truth, and having some personal integrity. Maybe some compassion for victims of assault or trauma. Now he's a heap of rubbish to both Christian and non-believer, because that's where he's publicly laid his Christian values, without regard to what that says to unbelievers about ALL Christians, right, left, or center.
There it is at my church in Arizona:
Drumpf support on a car in the
parking lot. Even AFTER the
revelations of sexual assault and

This is the type of comment that appears under articles that include Carson, Fallwell, Ralph Reed, James Dobson, and other religious right leaders.
  • Hypocrisy is the foundation of xianity.
  • The christian right actually believes the rest of us are persecuting them on a daily basis. I sure wish we did.
  • "Religious right suddenly decides morality's not important in politics:  How in the world did this happen?" That's because the so-called religious right had decided some time ago that morality is not important in their version of Christianity. 
  •  Grace is a cheap commodity with them.
  • The religious right, the "Moral Majority" as they like to call themselves, are, and always have been, about money and politics - it's never been about morality or doing what's right. I thought that was pretty obvious decades ago - it's damned undeniable now. 
Imagine what the witness of Christians could be if we upheld the standards of the Beatitudes or the Love-Your-Enemies thing in our own lives, and stopped trying to impose Old Testament Jewish law on our modern, secular culture? What if, in an election, we supported people of honor, and in the absence of that choice, did the best we could by studying the voter guide, or withholding our vote for that one office?


  1. The quote in the meme is fake.

    Correction: October 20, 2016

    An earlier version of this column erroneously attributed a quotation to Ben Carson. He has argued that religion on occasion has to take a backseat to politics, but he did not say, “Sometimes you put your Christian values on pause to get the work done.”


    1. The correction came out two days after I published this article (after taking a couple of days to write it), and I will alter the article to reflect that. However, if you listen to the outburst on tape (which I did), and read Carson's words that lies, and who was lying, didn't matter, and they could be dealt with at another time, the implication is clear. Carson has abandoned morality in favor of justifying his endorsement of an extremely flawed sociopath, Donald Trump.


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