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The Ben Carson Option

The thing speaks for itself. Whole interview here. [5] The true moral idiocy starts around the 4:00 mark. Nothing else this man has to say about Christianity in public life has any credibility. He’s sold his soul to Donald Trump.

This campaign has been such a painful unveiling, hasn’t it?

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81 Comments To "The Ben Carson Option"

#1 Comment By Howard On October 14, 2016 @ 7:23 pm

“It was George W. Bush who harmed Christianity’s reputation, and more narrowly the reputation of many Christian spokesmen, far more than Trump ever has or ever will. It burns me that so many people, including Rod and some of his personal friends, overlook or willfully refuse to recognize this.” I don’t recall Rod defending W, but perhaps he did some years ago. The fact is that W has been culturally and politically irrelevant for 8 years now — he presently is less important in national politics than Colin Kaepernick. What you’re doing is as pointless as loudly insisting that John McCain is a dangerous man who has wanted us to get into every conceivable war and so should never be president. Yeah, he was dangerous — but now he’s irrelevant.

#2 Comment By Chris C. On October 14, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

Oh please Rod! Nothing he ever says about the Christian faith again will EVER have any credibility! Says who? He said something that wasn’t very smart and that means that his credibility on matters of faith is in tatters for all time? Just stop it. That comment of yours is as silly as Carson’s. And he’s “sold his soul” to Trump? Unfair and a great overstatement. He stuck his foot in his mouth. That’s all anyone can reasonably accuse him of. I can’t stand Trump and opposed him vociferously in the primaries and I’m at best looking at him as the better of two very sorry options. But comments like yours are over the top and demeaning to an otherwise good man who as so many of us are, is deeply frustrated by what this election portends for the future of our nation.

#3 Comment By Buckeye reader On October 14, 2016 @ 8:24 pm

I agree with Mark. This is what’s going on. Those interviewers were rude to Carson. They were unable to hear his point. He is voicing what many voters think. This is not just Ben Carson speaking. (I have to say it’s Ugly to see a group of white people piling on a black man like that, shouting over him and not giving him a minimum of courtesy. Awful. I’m disappointed in you for countenancing it.)

When a train’s heading full speed for a fork in the track, you don’t argue about the character of the engineer.
This is why Trump is polling even in Ohio right now. I know voters on both sides. Trump voters are not suspending their Christian standards to pull the lever. They’re doing it with the perception that one of the engineers applying to steer has agreed to take the fork that’s going down a hill rather than over a cliff.
Hillary voters have been walking around with one eye closed for a long time.

Beware of smearing your Christian brothers and sisters with a broad brush. They deserve the same charity you give Eric Metaxas, because you share a friendship.
Eric Metaxas is not naive and he’s not stupid. (And he has Manners equal to anyone on radio or tv.) He makes as much of a case as yourself or Rich Lowry. Ted Cruz was right; people need to vote their conscious and quit judging those who vote differently. God is not going send a person to hell for voting for either one of these reprobates. Or abstaining.

Some people want a peaceful Thanksgiving table!

[NFR: Um, you saw the whole interview, right? Carson wouldn’t answer the questions put to him. He kept trying to change the subject. Demanding an answer of a politician to a simple question is not racist. — RD]

#4 Comment By Joshua Mincher On October 14, 2016 @ 8:43 pm

Mr. Dreher,

I can understand how someone could come to the conclusion that they cannot in good conscience vote for Trump.

But I think you are getting caught up in the daily news cycle and forgetting the historical perspective.

Perhaps you might write less often, and take time to contemplate. I know distancing myself from the news has helped me alot.

Think about Pepin being crowned by the pope, think about concordats with Napoleon, consider the long and complex relationship between the Byzantine emperors and the Eastern Church?

God bless,

Joshua Mincher

#5 Comment By Daniel (not Larison ) On October 14, 2016 @ 8:46 pm

For those of you claiming that sexual morality is secondary to other, more important issues, a hypothetical:

If faced with a choice, would you vote for a convicted rapist, if the alternative was Hillary Clinton?

What about a former Klansman?

How about a convicted embezzler?

What about a convicted child molester?

A murderer?

A wife beater?

A satanist?

Obviously, I am not saying Trump is any one of these. I’m just trying to figure out how much morality and ethics you’d dispose of to stop someone like Hillary Clinton.

Is someone purports to support positions that you support (at least for the most part), would there be anything in their personal life, character, or criminal background that would disqualify them in your eyes?

Not just trolling here (well, maybe a little), but I’d really like to know: how important, if at all, is personal character in a politial race?

#6 Comment By Dessine-moi un mouton On October 14, 2016 @ 9:12 pm

Either my previous comment was discarded as frivolous or I was unmasked as a robot. My point was that setting aside one’s faith as a means to an end makes every temptation stronger and the path more difficult to walk, as years of personal experience have taught me.

Rod, I was glad to read your kind words about Eric Metaxas based on your friendship. I found his essay unconvincing, and I did not think charitably about him after reading it. Forty years in the wilderness would do more good for American Christianity than four years (or a term cut short by impeachment) with a President Trump. For the least among us, born or unborn, it may be a wash.

[NFR: I didn’t discard your comment. The stupid freaking spam filter is catching a lot of them that ought not to have been caught. I thought that problem was over. I freed a bunch up just now. Sorry. — RD]

#7 Comment By Viriato On October 14, 2016 @ 9:34 pm

“To be consistent with the mind of Christ, the notion of ‘the greater good’ must be rooted in the absolute goodness of God. For Christ says plainly ‘None is if not God alone.’ This is particularly the case in a nation founded upon respect for the Creator, God, on whose authority right, and the laws that reflect and implement it, ultimately depend. But in the 2016 election, that assumption is precisely what is at issue, across the entire spectrum of our politics. Though they do so in various ways, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prove, in both word and deed, that they have abandoned it. Given our actual circumstances, therefore, and the actual choices before us, [the “choose the lesser of two evils in the name of the greater good”] argument could only be true in a world where good connotes the presence of some finite condition or way of being, some ‘thing’ that is more or less good, depending on the circumstances. That’s probably why it contains reasoning from various human perspectives, but none from the perspective of Christ.” — Dr. Alan Keyes

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#8 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 14, 2016 @ 10:39 pm

correction: So excuse me if I don’t get hyperplectic about this one comment by less than 0.001% of the faith’s population.

But more importantly, I think what Dr. Carson is saying is rather simple and ha been stated repeatedly and should go one being repeated. Mr. Trump is not running to be my pastor, my spiritual or moral leader —

Scripture dos not talk about Caesar in this manner – ever. And by that I mean politicians. I doubt that Dr. Carson means one stops exercising one’s faith. In fact, if one wants to apply scripture . . .

I am to ignore gossip and that is what is being used and mixed with to create truth with respect to Mr. Trump. Entirely tainted leavened bread.

#9 Comment By Richard Parker On October 14, 2016 @ 11:08 pm

Ben needs a job. He’s got a family to support.

#10 Comment By George On October 15, 2016 @ 12:26 am

You are jumping on Ben Carson just like the interviewers. First, as Carson brought up in the beginning, the accusers have real credibility issues. For instance, we had today celebrity attorney and Democratic operative Gloria Allred showcase an ex-Apprentice contestant making accusations of sexual assault, but apparently this person had been emailing Trump as of April of this year for Trump’s help and Trump denies he ever had any encounter with her.

Carson’s argument is pretty straightward. The country is right now like a train going off the cliff. Focusing on these allegations is not worth going off the cliff. To put some concrete issues behind this. How about 3-5 Supreme Court justices and rulings on issues like abortion and religious liberty? How about a war with Russia which I’m already seeing ominous headlines about? How open borders and a country that effectively no longer exists?

#11 Comment By Jon Swerens On October 15, 2016 @ 12:55 am

Where in the video is that quote? Mollie Hemingway is saying he never said it. Can someone cite the time in the video or the place in a transcript?

#12 Comment By William Dalton On October 15, 2016 @ 1:11 am

Look the reason to reject Donald Trump for the Presidency is not that he is a moral reprobate. We have had plenty of moral reprobates before who guided the ship of state ably to the benefit of the American people. When the Clinton crowd told us twenty years ago we should forget Bill’s infidelities and atrocious demands on vulnerable women they said that because it was “just about sex” it didn’t compromise Clinton’s ability to carry out the duties of his office. And they were right. Except for the ordeal of the impeachment, Bill’s lechery and abuse of women who came into contact with him didn’t take him off his game of statecraft and government leadership one whit. We simply worried about what kind of moral example he set for the nation. And we learned not to worry about that. Why worry now?

No, the reason to reject Trump is that he is incompetent to hold the office, incompetent by lack of relevant experience, incompetent by reason of his lack of self-control, incompetent by reason of his gross conceit and contempt for others. These are the things which will prevent him from adequately discharging the duties of the office of President of the United States. NOT the fact that he is a misogynist and a personal danger to women in his presence. Or, at least, that he used to be. Frankly, like Bill Clinton, he is nearing the point now that he is only a dirty old man, hardly a danger to anyone. Four years in the White House will turn his yellow hair as white as snow and his orange complexion ashen gray. And we’ll just have to see how the rest of the country survives. It may grow great again in spite of him, merely in virtue of the respite of four years out of the clutches of the Bushes, the Clintons and the Obamas.

#13 Comment By Brian Stone On October 15, 2016 @ 2:56 am

Conor Friedersdorf, paraphrased:

“Trump supporters have had to inflate Hillary Clinton to mythical proportions of evil to continue rationalizing their support for Donald Trump”

He was so right.

#14 Comment By Mac61 On October 15, 2016 @ 3:00 am

“And at the hour when the world hates you, and persecutes you, and says all manner of vile things against you….put your Christian values on pause and do whatever you need to do for money or to save your status in the media. After all, this faith is not meant to be applied in political campaigns–those are always more important than the Kingdom of God. Do remember, brethren, to unpause your faith at some point. It’s all good.” — Jesus of Nazareth, John 14: 22-25.

#15 Comment By Aaron Gross On October 15, 2016 @ 3:50 am

It’s interesting that Carson’s words are very close to Stanley Hauerwas’s description of Reinhold Niebuhr’s theological politics. Just substitute “Christ” for “Christian values” and the words are almost identical.

I haven’t read enough Reinhold Niebuhr to know whether Hauerwas was going beyond polemics and being unfair. If this seems an irrelevant historical point, remember that Niebuhr is still very popular with some in the political and cultural elites, including Barack Obama and David Brooks.

#16 Comment By Jake V On October 15, 2016 @ 8:32 am

Rod, I think you are being unfair.

In contest, Ben Carson is not saying that you put Christian values on the shelf to get something done. He’s saying that in this election cycle the **discussion** of Christian values as the way to run a society is not going to gain any traction.

In the fourth century both Diocletian and Constantine were nasty people. Constantine strangled his son because he was a political opponent. But Christians supported Constantine because he offered tolerance to Christians – and later legalization of then illegal faith. Eventually Constantine because a Christian. We are not yet back in the fourth century but we are rapidly headed there.

#17 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 15, 2016 @ 11:33 am

“Trump supporters have had to inflate Hillary Clinton to mythical proportions of evil to continue rationalizing their support for Donald Trump”

Hmmmm, that is interesting. The views I have of Sec Clinton are the views I had before Mr. Trump arrived on scene.

And I feel deeply that she had to suffer so much personal scrutiny during her years as first Lady. I get why she might be very bitter. I hurt with her.

But that does not explain her or excuse her policy choices during her tenure working in Government.

#18 Comment By Bob Carlton On October 15, 2016 @ 2:00 pm

Rich Lowry capture much of the disgust many evangelicals are having when we listen to Mr Falwell, Dr Carson, Mr Huckabee and Gov Pence:

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The prominent Evangelicals sticking by Trump believe that he would be better on the issues – especially Supreme Court nominees and religious liberty – than Hillary Clinton would be. This is a reasonable calculation, although very few Trump supporters can remain clear-eyed about him. Most find themselves defending the indefensible because forthrightly acknowledging all of Trump’s faults makes backing him so awkward. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign sinks, more than anything else, from the character flaws of the candidate. It would be a perfect morality tale for the religious Right — if so many of its leaders weren’t implicated in it.

#19 Comment By David Helveticka On October 15, 2016 @ 2:06 pm

Oh Poo! Carson understands what YOU don’t—that a HILLARY victory will lead to the destruction of the US as a viable nation-state with a common value system based on Judeo Christian values. She has so much as said it.

If you don’t vote for TRUMP, you can’t call yourself a patriot!

#20 Comment By Fran Macadam On October 15, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

Well, I think the Clinton character is worse. Lives overseas have been sacrificed without a care in the world, sometimes for personal political gain, by the calculating Clintons. So far, that hasn’t been a Trump occurrence and he says he wants less war. That really is something where conscience is concerned.

#21 Comment By DRK On October 15, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

Here’s a link to the transcript.

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First Carson suggests that Katy Kay’s mic be turned off, then asks if someone has a plug, presumably because she dares continue to question him. So there’s that Republican respect for women that we all know and love, right there.

Towards the end of the transcript, Scarborough says they have tapes of Carson saying {we} shouldn’t focus on Judeo-Christian values right now, and Carson says, and I quote:

“I would love for us to engage in a consversation about Judeo-Christian values, and I would love for us to bring morality back, and we need to do that at times other than a political campaign.”

So for those of you saying that Rod is misquoting him, he is not. Rod is paraphrasing him, but yeah, Carson totally said to put our religion on hold till after the election.

Given that Carson’s presidential campaign in its latter stages appeared to be a scam on the part of telemarketers to convince people to continue to give his campaign money in order to fund more telemarketing, this is not a surprise to me.

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#22 Comment By David J. White On October 15, 2016 @ 5:18 pm

Think about Pepin being crowned by the pope, think about concordats with Napoleon, consider the long and complex relationship between the Byzantine emperors and the Eastern Church?

and

In the fourth century both Diocletian and Constantine were nasty people. Constantine strangled his son because he was a political opponent. But Christians supported Constantine because he offered tolerance to Christians – and later legalization of then illegal faith. Eventually Constantine because a Christian. We are not yet back in the fourth century but we are rapidly headed there.

I’m Catholic, of which I’ve made no secret on this blog, and aside from occasional frustrations, mainly with the actions or inactions of bishops, mostly happy to be so. But the older I get the more sympathy I have for those who argue that maybe, just maybe, the bishops made a bad bargain with regard to Constantine, and that many of the Church’s serious problems with its witness for Christ stem from that bargain.

#23 Comment By Viriato On October 15, 2016 @ 9:13 pm

@Brian Stone: “Conor Friedersdorf, paraphrased:

‘Trump supporters have had to inflate Hillary Clinton to mythical proportions of evil to continue rationalizing their support for Donald Trump’

He was so right.”

You are so right.

Not too long ago, when I was still supporting Trump, I compared Hillary to Hitler in this forum. After a couple of hours away from the computer, I looked at that comment again. At that point, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh at such a ludicrous comment or to cry at the fact that I had written it. That’s when I began to rethink my support for Trump.

Within a few days, whatever residual sympathy I had for Trump had vanished for good. (Of course, the fact that more and more women are coming out to accuse him of assaulting them also did not help his standing with me).

(And no, don’t anybody defend my asinine comparison of Clinton and Hitler by saying that Clinton once compared Putin to Hitler. If you listen to her remarks, it’s clear that that is not exactly what she said.)

#24 Comment By Daniel (not Larison ) On October 15, 2016 @ 9:15 pm

David Helviticka wrote:

Oh Poo! Carson understands what YOU don’t—that a HILLARY victory will lead to the destruction of the US as a viable nation-state with a common value system based on Judeo Christian values. She has so much as said it.

If you don’t vote for TRUMP, you can’t call yourself a patriot!

This would be somewhat believable if it wasn’t repeated every four years. Clinton I would send in the black helicopters and take away all our guns, and send us all to FEMA camps. Obama would do the same, and implement Sharia law while at it.

Meanwhile, Bush II screwed things up quite spectacularly.

Maybe Clinton II will be the end of civilization. But the hysteria and crying wolf has been totally wrong to date.

Yet, I am sure that in four years, it will once again be “The Most Important Election Ever” (TM), even after Hillary fails to shutter all the churches and force every woman to have an abortion and every man to get a sex change.

#25 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 15, 2016 @ 10:32 pm

” . . . the bishops made a bad bargain with regard to Constantine, and that many of the Church’s serious problems with its witness for Christ stem from that bargain.’

Just an observation. It might mean nothing or it might everything.

The pres. of the US is not the papacy. It is not a position that will govern the holy edicts of any denomination and Mr Trump is the

Pope and the US is not the Catholic Church

#26 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 15, 2016 @ 11:02 pm

Above should read — Mr Trump is not the Pope

“For those of you claiming that sexual morality is secondary to other, more important issues, a hypothetical:

If faced with a choice, would you vote for a convicted rapist, if the alternative was Hillary Clinton?

What about a former Klansman?

How about a convicted embezzler?

What about a convicted child molester?

A murderer?

A wife beater?

A satanist?

Obviously, I am not saying Trump is any one of these. I’m just trying to figure out how much morality and ethics you’d dispose of to stop someone like Hillary Clinton.

Is someone purports to support positions that you support (at least for the most part), would there be anything in their personal life, character, or criminal background that would disqualify them in your eyes?

Not just trolling here (well, maybe a little), but I’d really like to know: how important, if at all, is personal character in a politial race?”

Well,

if you are not looking to make an equivalent comparison it seems useless to posit the question and the comparisons.

I don’t see anyone making the claim you are making above. it’s tough to respond to a situation as truth that doesn’t exist. I cannot speak for everyone, but your list has been answered by history, because each of these are dependent on circumstance.

I can say with certainty, I would not vote for anyone on the list who promotes, encourages or engages in the behaviors noted.

This is the same game they are playing on Dr. Carson. The issue is politics, not faith. But the press is demanding he talk about faith. It’s like going to an economic forum and being asked to talk about cooking. So when he says, well, it’s not time to discuss cooking, he is considered some kind moral hypocrite.

The context again is very clear — I am hear to discuss my political views and not how my faith influences or judges the same. So a secular media is determining once again what christians ought to believe even though they have no clue what that christian believes. Ad based on the comments, Dr. Carson says well, I was here to talk about this, if we are going to about that — I am out.

_____________________

#27 Comment By Esti On October 16, 2016 @ 8:13 am

I always liked (and still do) Rod’s articles because he is sincere about his faith and morality, but reading about this outrage makes me wonder: is survival of christianity or any church as an institution or even personal beliefs worth doing something not fully admirable by ones moral?

This choice is not about candidates character, but about their policy. If Trump wins, you can cringe, but practice your faith relatively peacfully. If Clinton wins, there will be interruptions and it will become worse with time. And Benedict Option wouldn’t help, for social justice and will find you anywhere.

#28 Comment By Jim Jatras On October 16, 2016 @ 3:39 pm

@Rod

Tom Piatak has written a well-reasoned but respectful rebuttal. Perhaps you can address it. Link and first paragraph below:

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‘ British statesman Enoch Powell began his most famous speech with this observation: “The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils.” I thought of Powell’s cogent dictum often over the last week or so, as Rod Dreher (and others) have been loudly insisting that Trump’s moral failings prevent Christians from voting for him, and even implying that supporting Trump somehow represents a betrayal of Christianity. Even more recently, Dreher has tweeted, “By the time this thing is over, Trump will have indelibly stained everyone who stood with him. Christians, please think hard about this.” Since tens of millions of American Christians of all denominations will in fact end up voting for Trump, that’s an awful lot of indelible stain to go around. ‘

#29 Comment By bt On October 16, 2016 @ 6:24 pm

Trump has turned everything upside down.

For the last 30-40 years we have been lectured by ‘the Right’ that a leader’s morals and beliefs are paramount in judging their fitness. People like Mike Pence have assured us that he is “a Christian, a Conservative, and a Republican, in That Order”.

And now with Trumps help, that rule is being suspended. That was easy!

Trump is leaving a trail of destruction behind him, as he has done throughout his life. The closer you get to him, the more fire damage you will suffer. Like Ben Carson.

#30 Comment By Nyte On October 17, 2016 @ 2:40 am

“For the last 30-40 years we have been lectured by ‘the Right’ that a leader’s morals and beliefs are paramount in judging their fitness. People like Mike Pence have assured us that he is “a Christian, a Conservative, and a Republican, in That Order”.”

First of all, I have never heard this as a view of people of faith. I think you are abusing the “all things being equal” standard. That is candidates of similar issues, or standing on issues

What christians do is always having to tease that out among their candidates in such that since the 1960’s or ’70’s the candidate reflected their moral views and those views could be at loosely tagged to that candidates policy views.

But since Iraq, the economic debacle, where the candidates stood on policy has been vastly different than most other candidates, And in that gap was Mr. Trump. His policies reflected their views. That did not mean morality did not matter. It just meant for the job at hand the other candidates did not foot the bill.

Since he was being appointed to either pastor or Pope, until he advances, endorses sin as virtue . . . he represents a candidate who isn’t against their morality as are the democratic candidates.

And despite my areas of disagreement. He remains the most viable candidate for positive change.

#31 Comment By Fran Macadam On October 17, 2016 @ 10:47 am

Let’s face it, Carson was asked “when did you stop beating your wife?”

They wanted either an answer condemning Trump, or condemning him for supporting him.

I would simply have said, there are other serious issues at stake, for the lives of millions of people, and I’d like to be able to address them, for there is a serious divide on how they ought to be solved for Americans and those around the world – or not solved, as the status quo establishment prefers.

“Putting aside one’s faith” was surely not a good answer, but then to be sure, Carson is not the nominee himself because he didn’t have any answers, either.