"I Start Each Day with Bible Reading," Ben Carson Says

Seventh-day Adventist retired neurosurgeon and presidential hopeful Ben Carson told Christianity Today that even on the campaign trail, he begins every day with prayer and Bible reading. His comments come at a time when his support among Evangelical voters has slipped markedly. Speaking of his presidential bid, Carson said, "It hasn’t changed our routine. No matter where we are, we still start each day with prayer and Bible reading, and we end it the same way. I find myself praying a lot more these days." Carson spoke to Christianity Today by phone from a campaign stop in South Carolina.

Carson has been slipping in polls of likely Republican voters after his insistance that the Egyptian pyramids were built by Joseph of the Bible to hold grain during a time of famine. Carson's highest polling numbers, which saw him briefly assume frontrunner status in the crowded GOP primary field, came at a time when his Seventh-day Adventist faith became the subject of national discussion. He has now dropped to third in most polls behind mogul Donald Trump and in statistical ties with Junior Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Senator Cruz has been trending higher among Evangelicals as Carson has faded.

Religious discourse has proven Carson's proverbial double-edged sword. On the one hand, his popularity rose among Evangelical Republicans when he claimed God led him to run for office, and has discussed his Christian faith. On the other hand, questions about whether Carson's sabbatarian commitments put him at odds with Evangelicals and his seemingly ill-informed comments about the pyramids have hurt Carson, as have increased scrutiny of his autobiography, "Gifted Hands," and his ties to embattled supplement manufacturer Mannatech.

Republican strategist Ron Bonjean suggested in a New York Times article that Carson has also struggled to persuade voters of his foreign policy bona fides. “Carson is failing the commander in chief test that Republican primary voters have, especially around national security issues like the recent terrorist attack in Paris,” Bonjean told the Times.

In an attempt to build foreign policy credibility, Carson met with Syrian refugees in Jordanian refugee camps the weekend after Thanksgiving. Following his trip to Jordan, Carson has insisted that the United States should not accept Syrian refugees, and that the San Bernardino shootings could be attributed to insufficient security protocols for screening immigrants to the United States.

As Carson's support among Evangelicals has flagged, Ted Cruz has gained the most ground among religious conservatives. Hoping to reverse the trend, Carson touted the endorsement of fifteen South Carolina pastors, and has sought to re-emphasize the role he feels God plays in his White House run.

Speaking to Christianity Today, Carson said, "I find myself praying a lot more these days. If you have strong Christian values in a secular progressive society, you’re going to be the subject of much attack. But the Lord gives you what you need to get through that."

Carson stated that he attends church as often as possible, noting that on the campaign trail, it is harder. He said that he has been able to speak in many churches on Sundays while touring the country (no mention of churches on Saturdays). "If the Lord puts me in the White House, I will definitely continue attending on a weekly basis," Carson said. He also said that if elected, he will not have a "politically correct" Christmas. "It'll be a real Christmas," he said.

In the same Christianity Today interview, Carson discussed the Planned Parenthood shooting, the refugee crisis, and medical technology. See more of his responses here.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7226

I have long respected the surgeon Ben Carson, but I have lost all respect for the politician Ben Carson. In the interview with Christianity Today he also said this:

if elected, he will not have a “politically correct” Christmas. “It’ll be a real Christmas,” he said.

Using politically correct language is just a way of being civil and courteous to others that may not be like oneself or see the world as we see it. Every Christian should use language in such a way that we show our love and respect to others. I have heard him harp on politically correct language before and say that he doesn’t bother with it. Well, I’m sorry, but one’s choice of words has consequences, and making wrong choices can cause pain to others, something a Christian should avoid doing, if at all possible.

I also see Carson the politician as being extremely naive when it comes to foreign policy, and nearly as naive on other domestic issues. In my opinion, he should go back to being a surgeon again if he wants to serve God where he would be most useful. He wouldn’t be the first retired surgeon to return to practice.

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Byran Well said!!!

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The South Pacific is accepting thousands of Syrian refugees even though our region is far from the conflict. This is a secular humanitarian action and not a Christian response. Ben Carson, a Christian response to this human crisis would be to accept Syrian refugees. Where is your Christian charity? I do not see you following the Golden Rule. The injured person who has been attacked by robbers (the Syrian refugees) is to be left on the road while you walk by on the other side…to start your day with bible reading??? The Gentiles (a secular South Pacific nation) are following God’s law according to their collective conscience, where is your conscience in all this? Rene Gale

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No it’s not. It’s cowering before activists who seem to go out of their way to be offended and find offense where none was intended. I’m a Christian but if someone wishes me a “Happy Hanukkah,” my day is not ruined, and I don’t need to report it the Thought Police. The same would apply if someone wished me a “Happy Kwanzaa” or Ramadan. Neither am I traumatized when a Hawaiian tells a Haole joke. Political Correctness smacks more of 1984 than it does of courtesy or civility. It’s refreshing go see a well-known and respected Black man refusing to buy into the whole PC philosophy.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Bible is not PC, which is why parts of it are considered “hate speech” in Canada.

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So…since when is Ben Carson the Poster Boy for anti-PC?? He is playing the political game as much as any other candidate. It wasn’t by accident that he made a short 2 day junket to the Middle East- or do you think that it was simply a short vacation trip??

Though I would agree that I, too, am not traumatized by being wished a “Happy Whatever”. However, I would completely disagree that telling “ethnic” jokes is appropriate.

There are countries that have varying degrees of acceptance of “hate speech”…so what? The Bible is not considered to be “hate speech” in the US. Canada has some of the strictest rules regarding “hate speech” in the world- but they aren’t the standard for the rest of us.

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Ben Carson is mostly an embarrassment to himself. He made the horrible mistake of not knowing what he doesn’t know and should have known and finally got caught in his unknowingness!

Ben Carson has done himself in by his own words. These are five direct quotes with no editing. His downfall was when he tried to prove he had a violent past. The only trouble with that image was that there was no one to substantiate specific acts of violence. His closest friends speak of him as having a “gentle past” being a “nice, peaceful person”, this proved to be his downfall. The pyramids were not for grain storage, Ben!

These five direct quotes are tragic. There are many more. Someday in a trivia game along with Dan Quayle, Ben Carson’s name will be remembered as well. Sad, he was and is a nice person.

  1. “You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.” – 2013 at the Values Voter Summit
  2. “Well, 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.” – 2013 on Fox News’ Hannity
  3. “There comes a time when people with values simply have to stand up. Think about Nazi Germany. Most of those people did not believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they stand up for what they believe in? They did not, and you saw what happened.” – Carson comparing Democrats and those who voted for President Obama to Nazis.
  4. “Because 9/11 is an isolated incident. Things that are isolated issues as opposed to things that fundamentally change the United States of America and shift power from the people to the government. That is a huge shift. You have to take a long-term look at something that fundamentally changes the power structure of America.” – Carson claiming that “Obamacare” is worse than 9/11
  5. “A lot of people who go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay.” – CNN interview on March 4, 2015
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Ben Carson’s misguided venture into politics has found his whole campaign based upon fighting the Polical Thought Police, and it was bound to die sooner or later. It isn’t a real base to work from. As he has waded farther into the political ocean his ignorance and unfitness for the office has steadily revealed itself. His dash to Jordan as turned out to be of no real help to his flagging efforts. Legions of silly, over-the-top statements, to conspiracy mongering, to consistent gaffes have doomed him. His “nice personna” is no longer a holding point for GOP voters. He has the appeal of the “outsider” yet this interview shows the politician that he is becoming: catering to that base of support, speaing in “red meat” terms to garner enthusiasm among those loyal followers.

He has never appealed to me as a politician and I kept praying for his sake that he wouldn’t let the accolades of FoxNews and not a few SDA’s blind him into thinking he should run. Well, he is running, but not viable in the end. As a surgeon he still garners my highest respect, and his life story, though now a bit complicated in its truthful realities, is still an inspiring one.

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It always troubles me to hear someone justify what they are about to do or hope to achieve by invoking God’s “leading.” It makes little difference whether it is to something monumental like running for high office, or something less imposing like dropping out of college to pursue a lifelong dream of traveling. As Lincoln once suggested: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

When we claim God is leading or impressing us to do something, it sounds like we are also claiming that God is on our side (and by implication, not leading the others). Should we, on the other hand, say that we are praying God will lead us in our effort, that if we succeed we want God’s blessing, are we not making the less arrogant claim that we want to be led by God? One can seldom be certain God is leading in endeavors that have truly fateful consequences for ourselves and others if we uncritically mesh what we desire with God’s desire.

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CT: > How will you celebrate Christmas this year?

Carson: > We will be at home in West Palm Beach on Christmas Day—the day before and the day after we have to leave. We will be celebrating with family and friends. If the Lord puts me in the White House, we’re going to have a wonderful Christmas there. It will not be a politically correct Christmas. It’ll be a real Christmas.

My take on this is whether at home in West Palm Beach… or in the White House… it will be a Christmas (instead of a politically correct Happy) holiday gathering… with family and friends.

CT: > One area where we’ve seen some evangelical leaders depart from many of the Republican candidates is resettling refugees from Syria. After having just visited Jordan, how does your faith inform your position on the refugee crisis?

Carson: > We need to be people of compassion. When I look at the Syrian refugees, I see human beings who are distressed, and we should be doing something to help them. I wanted to see what was going on over there and what would be the humanitarian thing to do for them.

I asked a lot of the Syrians, “What would be your ultimate goal?” I got the same answer; obviously, they wanted to be resettled in their country. I asked what other countries like the United States could do. They were saying if countries like the United States would support the efforts of the Jordanians, it would vastly improve the quality of life for them. Some people say it’s our job to bring them here, but we’re talking about millions of people. Bringing 10,000 or 25,000 or 50,000 here doesn’t solve that problem in the slightest. It makes some people feel good and lets them pat themselves on the head.

Carson: > “If you open the doors, I’ll walk through them. And if you don’t open the doors, I’ll sit out.”

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I think Carson was more interested in visiting Barnes and Noble to sell his books than preparing himself to be a serious candidate. While all candidates use their books to promote themselves and their message, Carson used his candidacy as a marketing strategy for selling his books. In so doing he was a great entrepreneur with a charm that dazzled evangelicals, who come across unfavorably in this election cycle. But it wasn’t the books (excepting his rose tinted biography) that got Carson into trouble. The more people listened to Carson’s commentary on national issues–think fog, the less appealing he became. I suspect the former Carson is gone for good, but I do miss him.

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He might have improved his chances had he also spent some time reading political history of both the U.S. and the world. His lack of knowledge in those areas is embarrassing, if not him, to his party.

Just as Trump who believes that the force of his personality will make him a winner, Carson believes that his Christian faith will win the evangelicals. Having devoted followers for a time is not always a direct path to the White House. When actual voting time comes, people usually become a little more serious about all the propaganda and begin realizing that claims can rarely be supported by action of Congress.

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No surprise here. His Sabbaths are spent at book signings and rallies.

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Personally, I am glad that the “star” is beginning to sink. Reduced chances to candidacy are good news for both, the church who these days is more embarassed than proud of the famous doctor, as well as for Ben Carson for who it appears to become increasingly difficult to peddle back from his rather strange positions and accept his own limitations.

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i think ben’s candidacy was - yes, was - a good thing because it has undoubtedly increased awareness of adventism in the minds of at least some…but i think the real story in this election cycle is what donald trump said yesterday, namely that all muslims should be banned from entering the u.s…this hint of discrimination on the sole basis of religion, following on the heels of some of the aftermath of obergefell v. hodges, contributes to the filling out of the contours of egw’s most important prophecy, which is that sabbath keepers will one day be marked for destruction by the state on the sole basis of their religion…one thing is certain: the momentum of world events, particularly lately, is not moving away from what egw predicted so long ago…

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Donald Trump’s idea on banning Moslems from the USA would not be a bad idea if it also meant the USA and western Christian nations would get out of Muslim lands. and stop taking sides in the internal conflicts between the various sects of Islam.And stop exploiting them.

As for Carson as a Bible reading Christian he should be aware that Jesus was a refugee fleeing certain death in the land of his birth.Christians in general should be very kind to refugees given that our lord was one himself.

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No, neither the Bible, nor any parts of it are considered “hate speech” in Canada. If you are referring to the Whatcott decision, please reread it in context.

Context is everything. If you were to walk up to anyone in the US and in a threatening manner and tone quote Exodus 22:24, you will have committed a crime, and the 1st amendment will not help you (neither the free speech nor the free exercise clauses).

Ok
Here is the TOP CRUCIAL question for all of the anti-Republicans here, who want Hillary for 2016.

The acronym for the president = POTUS ( President of the United States)
The acronym for the spouse = FLOTUS (First lady of the United States)

If Hillary wins…what will be the acronym for Bill?

ps: Could the animosity toward Ben be due to the fact that some have a guilt trip for not reading their bible?

Adventista–you are not familiar with the acronym identifiers that the president’s secret service refer to the 2 individuals.

Brother Gideon,
What kind of medication are you on??
Whatever it is you should replace it by some hamas and baby carrots. Much healthier!!!

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You may not be traumatized by racist jokes about your group, but that doesn’t mean you should expect others to react the same way. They don’t have the same experiences. Getting back to the non-PC bible, Paul’s councils regarding how to treat fellow Christians who have different sensibilities seems a propos here.

And furthermore, regardless of what the other person’s reaction is, why isn’t it possible that racist jokes are unbecoming a Christian, regardless of who hears them?

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