Last year, while visiting the home place in Chattanooga, Tennessee, an old family friend asked me if I was excited by the prospect of Ben Carson running for president? I replied that given Carson never had been in a political campaign, I doubted that his candidacy would amount to much, and it seems Carson is working overtime to prove my point.
I admit to cringing when I read some of Carson's statements, especially on homosexuals and gay rights, and on his view that U.S. armed forces overseas should not be held accountable for war crimes and atrocities. As one who has been critical of U.S. armed intervention overseas for the past three decades, I believe that this country through its military might has been spreading death and destruction on a huge scale.
Still, I would like to see Carson do well if for no other reason than he has exemplified determination and courage throughout his life and became one of the best neurosurgeons in the world. This is a man who came from the kind of background that would condemn most young men to a violent life on the streets, and yet he rose above it in a way that most of us cannot even comprehend.
In 1984, at the age of 33, Carson was appointed head of pediatric neurosurgery at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, one of the most prestigious medical institutions in the world. During his years in neurosurgery, he distinguished himself as being one of the best in the world in his field, yet I wonder today as to whether or not a person with Carson's views would be allowed to clean toilets at Hopkins, given the abyss of modern Political Correctness that infects Hopkins and just about every other American institution these days.
Ben Carson does not believe gay marriage is "legitimate" marriage. He is a Christian and I suspect that his views would put him in the company of Moses, King David, St. Paul, and, yes, Jesus Christ himself. (I, too, am a Christian and believe that the best "solution" to this situation is for government to get out of the marriage business altogether. Ours is a pluralistic society and I favor legal institutions that minimize the prospect of people of different interests and points of view being at each others' throats.)
Carson's views on gay marriage might be out of favor with the editorial page of the New York Times, but I suspect that they don't differ with the vast majority of people who have lived before us, including almost all of the previous residents of the White House. To put it another way, Carson hardly is out of the historical mainstream and I daresay that most Protestant denominations have not endorsed gay marriage as being consistent with Holy Scripture, and the Roman Catholic Church takes the same position. Muslims as a whole have not joined the gay marriage bandwagon, either.
It is safe to say that at least 50 percent of Americans and certainly millions of American Christians, Jews, and Muslims do not support gay marriage, yet the Southern Poverty Law Center declared Ben Carson to be a security threat to this country, putting him on its Extremist Watch List, a list that includes white supremacists, leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, and people calling for violent overthrow of the U.S. Government.
In other words, the SPLC (which later reluctantly took Carson's name off that list after a public outcry) wanted us to believe that Ben Carson was a violent man whose views were so extreme as to pose a real danger to other Americans. Now, I suspect that a lot of readers a rolling their eyes regarding the SPLC, given its controversial statements and the negative exposure it received when a former associate blistered the organization and its founder, Morris Dees, in an article in Harper's Magazine in 2000.
However, to the typical American faculty member of a college or university, not to mention a large portion of the Democratic Party, the SPLC is the Very Voice of God. If the SPLC essentially declares Ben Carson to be in league with the Ku Klux Klan, then I'm sure that lots and lots of Democrats and other lefties believe that Carson must have walked around Johns Hopkins in a Klan robe and hood.
This brings me to my main point. Given Carson's political and religious views, would Johns Hopkins today permit him to be on its medical staff? This is not an idle question, nor do I think it silly or irrelevant. After all, Johns Hopkins University does not permit Chik-fil-A facilities on its campus because the company's chairman has said publicly that he does not believe gay marriage is permitted in the Bible. (Duke University also prohibits Chik-fil-A from being on its campus and the city government of Chicago will not permit a Chik-fil-A franchise from being located within the municipal limits of the Windy City.)
Students of the history of the former Soviet Union know that one's political views determined the kind of employment one might have. A person might have been a brilliant nuclear scientist, but if he or she did not have the "correct" political viewpoints as determined by the U.S.S.R.'s government leadership, then that person got a job sorting paper clips.
I have no doubt this is where we are headed in the USA. When a cyber mob drove Mozilla's CEO out of office a couple years ago because in 2008 he had contributed $1,000 to an initiative to define marriage as being between a man and a woman in California, no one cared as to whether or not this was good for Mozilla. It didn't matter. All that mattered was that people were demanding that the CEO of Mozilla be in favor of gay marriage.
Likewise, we see small businesses in this country being hounded by government agents, lawyers, and gay rights advocates because a baker or a florist will not accommodate a gay wedding out of religious beliefs. (So far, states like Oregon and Colorado have gone after only Christians; one wonders what will happen if the same challenge is thrown at Muslim-owned businesses.)
Furthermore, there are boycotts, secondary boycotts, and Twitter mobs to harass anyone who might make a public statement on gay marriage that does not meet President Barack Obama's approval. (It turns out that Obama was against gay marriage before he supported it.) So, it is very clear that at least when it comes to gay rights and gay marriage, the pro-gay forces are declaring openly that one's politics should be a determining factor as to whether or not one is permitted to work or own a business.
So, it brings me back to my original question: Given his religious, social, and political views, would Ben Carson be permitted to be on the pediatric surgical staff at Johns Hopkins? Would he be permitted to be in a classroom at Hopkins teaching future pediatric surgeons? Would he be permitted to operate on children?
I don't believe he would. What I do believe is that the politicization of American society is becoming so expansive and so overwhelming that there is little we can do but watch the horror show unfold around us.
Some time this year, I most likely will be having knee surgery. When I "go under the knife," I really won't care as to whom the doctor supports in the upcoming presidential election or even his views on Obamacare. I won't care if he supports gay marriage or even if he is gay himself. I will care about his abilities to fix the trouble in my knee. Unfortunately, it seems that views such as mine are becoming archaic and even regarded as "dangerous" in modern, Politically-Correct America.