An Open Letter to Ben Carson from a Fellow Adventist: Stop the Islamophobia

He cannot WIN ELECTION and be true to the Adventist heritage. For one thing, the long heritage (taking us back to the pioneers) was vigorously critical of chauvinistic, state-sponsored violence. Dr. Carson routinely sounds like your garden-variety right-wing Republican when he talks about the American military.

We are (in the ideal) a Radical Reformation community. Dr. Carson sounds more and more like a mouthpiece for the NRA and other violence-friendly Americlan institutions.

Chuck

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i think ben carson’s personal attractiveness and low key self-assurance is an adventist asset…like sheila jackson lee’s well-spoken reasonableness, ben’s easy, non-confrontational style is a persuasive argument for some of the practical aspects of our faith…

in fact i’m thinking a ben carson election, or even nomination, would be an incredible coup for our church…think about it: how many evangelistic crusades, and tithe money, would it take to get adventism into the public eye in the way ben’s candidacy has the potential to…from what i’m seeing, evangelical republicans - our historical allies - are flocking to him…just this morning i saw yet another poll showing that with republicans, ben is in double digits, right behind donald trump…has any adventist achieved anything close to this level of influence…the answer to this question is no…whatever his views on the undesirability of sharia law influencing the white house, or whether an armed citizenry would have impeded hitler, i would think all adventists interested in seeing our brand stride out of the closet and into the national conversation would be cheering him on…

and candy carson would make an interesting first lady…i can see her playing her violin for the country on christmas eve, and perhaps developing a vegan white house cook book, replete with veggielinks and a few other items that are part of our secret goodies…obviously ted wilson and dan jackson would be regular white house guests and prominent speakers at white house prayer breakfasts…and given that 2020 would be a re-election year, a ben carson appearance at the indianapolis general conference would be a must-attend event…even in terms of adventist politics, i think a black adventist u.s. president would go a long way towards healing some of the strains between nad and third world adventism occasioned by the wo debacle in san antonio…

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Which is kind of funny to me. They have no idea that Dr. Carson believes they are going to persecute him someday. Have any of them watched that Avondale video yet?

I don’t understand the mindset that says, yes, my base is going to be instrumental in bringing about the persecution of innocent people (including me), but hey, in the meantime, let me be their leader and help their ideas gain even more power. They actively work to blur the lines between state and Christianity (but not those other bad religions). Does he think he can control that tiger after getting on its back?

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Dr. Carson’s comment on Islam and his failure to attack his own Church for its position on ordination and homosexual sodomy are consistent. The Church has the absolute religious freedom to decide what theological positions it will promote. The religious freedom of each of us is to support the Church if we agree and leave the Church if we disagree.

At the same time, Dr. Carson’s statement that he would not support the election of a Muslim who did not support religious freedom, is self-evidently a position affirming the religious liberty of all citizens. Apparently the writer of the article failed to notice the lack of religious freedom in almost all muslim countries.

Those writing about how Dr. Carson is violating Article VI of the U.S. Constitution (no religious test for office) lack even a rudimentary understanding of constitutional law. Article VI bars the government from preventing a person from holding office based on that person’s religious beliefs. (An example being the jailing of an official because of her religious beliefs.) Dr. Carson (like everyone else) is entitled to vote based on whatever ground he thinks appropriate. If I don’t want to vote for a Muslim, Catholic or Southern Baptist because I think they would not be advocates of religious liberty, that is my right. I might be wrong, but that is my right. The U.S. Constitution does not restrain individuals, it restrains the government (and its agents).

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Well what do you know Birder, we are in agreement on this one. To me this blog is a hodgepodge of disconnected dots to make a case against what Ben Carson said. As for Carson’s dumb statement about gays, I would hope he would reconsider some of his harsh rhetoric likening homosexuality to beastility like he did at a conservative CPAC early this year. I don’t think Carson hates Muslums, but he clearly sees the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism. Islam is no friend to gays, I assure you. The radical headhunters would just as soon wipe us out.

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Everyone does recall that we wrestle not with flesh and blood right? Our fight is against the powers and principalities of spiritual wickedness in the highest of places.

I would suggest we pray for brother Carson not as a political figure, but as a man of God who has a part to play in our Father’s plan.

Remember Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and all of His servants in times past brought before the great leaders of the world!

Who are we to say? Lest we be found boasting in our own wickedness.

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In the 1980s I worked In Western Australia in the same Hospital in which Ben was a visiting Neurosurgeon and have had occasion to follow his career since then. He was an outstanding neurosurgeon and was clearly recognized for this ability and work.

But then as now there was a certain discordance between his knowledge and skill as a body mechanic and his understanding of things outside his field of expertise. As the son of an Adventist minister he seems to have inherited a certain literalist world view that seems impervious to any infiltration or moderation by his practice of scientific evidence based medicine. One notable event we discussed during his stay in Australia was his incredulity that tithe would not be tax deductible. That the government would help pay for the cost of your religious activities both then and now seem incongruous with his small government and separation of church and state.

Like most fundamentalists he seems to have developed a view of his own expertise and
his statement that being president is nothing compared to the complexity and skill needed to be a pediatric neurosurgeon is I think emblematic of his attitude to his own ability and his call to greatness he has articulated in his books and his utteance about Gods call for him to stand. He may indeed be right about the qualities needed for a presidency but I suspect in practice he would want to be an interventionist president like Jimmy Carter rather than a remote figurehead like Ronald Reagan who left the beaurocracy to run itself, which of course in a democracy it is quite capable of doing.

I think one should listen to his words rather than be soothed by his calm reassuring demeanour. He seems to be a fundamentalist on a mission from God. The road to zealotry is always divisive and does not end well. To combat Islamic zealotry with Christian zealotry has never succeeded any more than the attendent military action has.

I pray that he does not actually succeed in his mission from God for as Chuck Scriven has indicated it will be virtually impossible to be faithful to the message of Gods grace in that office. The children of God whether Jewish or Christian are most faithful in the diaspora and the first great corruption of Christianity started with the conversion of Constantine and Christianity as the state religion.

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And so why was my comment deleted? It was on topic and expanded the frame of the conversation

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Ignore the threat to our peril. Reminds me of Chamberlain trying to pacify Hitler instead of calling him out. Of course this author may not be around to face the ‘I told you so’s’ but it is patently obvious this faith that is, "evil clothed in sheep skin’, will
be the catalyst for world violence. When you look at Arabic Islam and think that you can import it to your own nation with importing the problems your sadly mistaken.
If you go down this path look to the Moslem world, that is your future.

PS If your think full Sharia law is being practiced in the states your dreaming or ignorant of what it entails.

I was disappointed by this hit piece. I don’t think it fairly characterized Dr. Carson’s remarks or beliefs. Rather, it seemed as if Dr. Carson’s remarks provided a vehicle for Geoffrey to criticize Seventh-day Adventist Church positions in the context of presidential politics so that he would have a larger readership. I’m no fan of the church’s recent GC actions either, but I don’t see much value in this author’s approach.

I would like to respond specifically to Dr. Brenton Reading’s comments. I have tremendous respect for Dr. Reading and his contributions to the Spectrum community, including his many insightful comments and articles, especially in relation to science and the science/faith intersection. That I disagree with his comments here doesn’t diminish my respect for him.

On vaccinations, Carson’s remarks have been misconstrued and lifted from context by many in the press. The transcript can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/09/16/annotated-transcript-september-16-gop-debate/. Dr. Reading said, “He started off by correctly stating that there is no scientific evidence that vaccinations cause autism (the one article that made the connection has been refuted). But, then he suggested there might still be a connection with autism by saying that we should delay and space out vaccinations.” I don’t understand how Dr. Reading drew that conclusion from Dr. Carson’s actual remarks, which were, “we have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccinations. But it is true that we are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time.” The fact that these sentences were sequential doesn’t mean that Dr. Carson was suggesting there might be a connection between immunization schedule and autism; that would contradict what he had just said. I suspect he had in mind other possible complications of intensive immunization schedules that are described in the medical literature, such as febrile seizures (e.g., MMR vs. MMRV; see Gkampeta A, Pavlidou E, Pavlou E. Vaccination and neurological disorders. Journal of Pediatric Sciences. 2015;7:e237).

Gkampeta et al. note that Dravet syndrome is associated with vaccinations. While vaccinations are not the cause of Dravet syndrome, “there is some evidence that earlier onset of these syndromes can be triggered by vaccination, especially in children with a SCN1A mutation.” There seems to be a significant association between febrile seizures and vaccinations. There may be an association between fever (from the vaccination) and the onset, but the syndrome would have manifested anyway later. There isn’t an established causal relationship between vaccinations and the disease itself. Donald Trump related an observation of an employee’s baby; I saw the same thing happen to a colleague’s baby within days of immunization. But, lack of an established causal relationship leads to the suggestion that these observations are merely coincidental (i.e., these diseases first manifest in infancy, and that is also when immunizations are administered).

Despite the Wakefield scandal and the lack of any subsequent demonstration of a causal relationship between immunizations and ASD, the challenge remains that parents (and Trump) observe temporal proximity. There are also still epidemiological hints, as noted by Gkampeta et al.: “A more recent [2014] study by Hooker provides new epidemiologic evidence showing that African American males receiving the MMR vaccine prior to 24 months of age or 36 months of age are more likely to be diagnosed with ASD.” (Who knows how that will play out; my point is simply that Wakefield’s demise wasn’t the last word on this in the scientific literature).

There is much remaining to be studied. Is there, for example, a specific study comparing the outcomes of a compressed vs. extended immunization schedule? Advocates suggest that reducing aluminum concentration may be one justification for extending immunization schedules. One review of aluminum adjuvants suggests that there are many questions yet to be answered regarding its potential effects, and criticized the confounding presence of aluminum in placebos. http://www.meerwetenoverfreek.nl/images/stories/Tomljenovic_Shaw-CMC-published.pdf

It isn’t clear that all immunizations are necessary either. For example, influenza vaccinations are increasingly given to young children (the CDC recommends starting at 6 months, http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf), yet their effectiveness was questioned in a recent Cochran review (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22895945). A more recent review found no adverse effects, but concluded for adults, “Influenza vaccines have a very modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost in the general population, including pregnant women.” (http://www.cochrane.org/CD001269/ARI_vaccines-to-prevent-influenza-in-healthy-adults). When one considers the massive efforts of the medical industry via drugstores, supermarkets, workplaces, etc., to drive everyone to get an annual flu shot, studies like this lead critical members of the public to question the motives of the industry and its government counterparts. Without public trust, scientists, including doctors, have little chance of persuading the public to accept their claims.

As Dr. Reading knows, science can’t prove a negative. It is impossible to prove that immunizations do not cause ASD. On the other hand, science can establish a causal relationship if one exists (i.e., prove—in a statistical sense—a positive). The big problem for the medical industry with respect to ASD and immunizations is that no comprehensive scientific understanding exists for the cause(s) of ASD or the explosion in number of cases (other than the suggestion that diagnosis has improved). In the absence of a “positive”, the “negative” retains significance for parents. Thus, medicine’s communication problem is rooted in the lack of a satisfactory understanding for ASD.

It is true, as Carson said, that more pediatricians are shifting to extended immunization schedules. One survey suggested that this is not in response to science, but in response to parental demands, and most respondents agreed to extend vaccination schedules but 40% reported decreased job satisfaction as a result (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/02/24/peds.2014-3474.short). Many feared losing their patients if they didn’t agree to the extension; this itself indicates that trust has broken down. The fact that a majority of doctors do this, however, indicates that either they are unethical or else they don’t believe there is a significant risk of harm to their patient’s health by spreading out immunizations. If Dr. Reading is correct that delays put infants at risk of life-threatening illness, he is implicating a majority of pediatricians as complicit in a scheme to endanger infant lives for financial gain. Or, maybe the enhanced risk is too small to worry about, at least in the United States.

If you examine the transcript, you’ll see that Dr. Carson was trying to avoid the CNN “debate” moderators’ attempts to start verbal wars between candidates. He responded factually and scientifically to the question, then segued into (somewhat disjointed) remarks about the size of government. In the second response, he repeated his scientifically accurate statement, and then made the statement on extending immunization schedules. There wasn’t time in this format to get into the details of the extensive scientific literature on the subject, and I think it is unfair to judge Dr. Carson as having misled the public or missed an opportunity to advocate for childhood immunizations.

Regarding Dr. Carson’s statements on Islam, I think it is clear from the totality of Dr. Carson’s remarks that he was not suggesting that the U.S. Constitution would tolerate religious discrimination or that this was his position either. Rather, he was pointing out a contradiction between the beliefs of some Muslims and the Constitution, and that for such Muslims, it would not be possible to honestly swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States without violating their conscience. As he later clarified, “I don’t care what religion or faith someone belongs to, if they’re willing to subjugate that to the American way and to our Constitution, then I have no problem with that.” (On Hannity, according to CNN.com).

Dr. Carson is well-read; maybe he was simply getting his cues from Spectrum! In an essay by Malcolm Russell (Spectrum, Vol. 30(1), 2002, 17-23), the author “attempts to consider the dissonance faithful Muslims find between the religious and philosophical teachings of traditional Islam and modern practices of international relations.” Russell continues, “Pious (and not necessarily fundamentalist) Muslims suffer this dissonance because Western ideas about the nature of government dominate the world. At the most basic level, the West conceives a secular government, based on the nation-state, seeking its goals from the desires of its citizens, creating its own laws, and operating its foreign policy in its own self-interest. In such realms, the important criteria are human choices and well-being. In contrast, Islam calls believers to live in a community of the faithful, subject to God’s precepts.” An American president, following the U.S. Constitution, would need to adhere to the secular concept of government. I think that was Carson’s point, yet somehow this has been twisted to suggest the opposite, that Carson believes the government should be sectarian!

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Very nicely stated Robert Johnston!!
Ben is being chastised by the media due to his “political incorrectness” IMHO. The media in general are addicted to “sound bites” that often don’t fully or correctly represent a persons real views on a given subject. The media “massages a persons image and message” to fit their “agenda” quite often and lets face it Ben Carson goes against the mainstream in many areas as compared to society today.
Ben Carson is a good man who says what he thinks AND means what he says which is a rare and unique quality in politics (or the world in general) today.
While I think it is a “long shot” for Ben to be elected, I will be interested to see what God has in store for Ben!!

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Ask clearance to @JaredWright. He is giving it to everyone who asks for.

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I agree. The main stream media is trying to destroy him by twisting everything he says…but this is a plus for him. The people are listening to him. He is now #2 among the Republican presidential candidates and is ahead of Hilary Clinton. BTW you guys…don’t worry…I heard him say that he is not representing the SDA church. He will be the next President!

Dr. Ben Carson’s family historic Master’s Pardon signatures are Liberty Legislation of Laws the very essence of quests the U.S. Constitution rudimentary Abe Lincoln’s penned abolishment mainstream Americans dark ages racial condesension, eccentricity, idiosyncratic, of the harming religious or secular ideologies mouth to leg shackles to suit political mainstream agendas attired for personal gains in expense of the right to life to live what is rightfully humans. Dr. Carson needs not stand in line to be put to test upon test and tests on Religious Freedom lessons what’s or not appropriate on the U.S. Constitution agendas. He is the walking scars signatures by which his great-great-great-great grandfathers died and fought for, on sharp thorns bloody cotton fields to capture the elusive pleasure of human freedom and decency but deprived. Americans don’t require to brief whips Dr. Carson on U.S. Constitution on Religious Freedom scroll. Dr. Carson is the proactive acorn to bulwark oak tree of strength and fortitude to serve and express what is American politics transparency contents and perspectives to religious and secular appropriatness. It’s about time the Whitehouse depicts what it truly represents in the message of hue. Purity in God We Trust.