Dr. Ben Carson’s Brain Freeze on Fox News

Dr. Carson garnered national attention for his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast and the Conservative Political Action Conference. But is the world-renowned neurosurgeon ready for a second act as a politician?

Dr. Ben Carson, internationally renown neurosurgeon and author of Gifted Hands, garnered political attention for his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 7th, 2013 in Washington D.C. (Photo Credit: Getty Images).

If you told me that renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson would make comments that sounded more like they came from the mind of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, I would’ve told you to get your head examined.

Sure enough, Carson did the unbelievable and now people are wondering where his head is.

Recently on Fox News, Carson, the former chief neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, had an apparent brain freeze when asked about the gay marriage issue that is before the U.S. Supreme Court. He said, “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.”

It’s clear that most of us, who are Christians as Carson is, believe that marriage is a godly covenant between a man and a woman. But for such a brilliant man to defend that position by comparing same-sex relationships to pedophilia (NAMBLA stands for the North American Man/Boy Love Association) and bestiality was shocking, troubling and disappointing. I expect attention-craving media types like Rep. Bachmann, Gov. Sarah Palin, or Herman Cain to spew such nutty logic because they’re political entertainers, not serious thinkers. But if any national figure could clearly articulate a rational biblical position regarding gay marriage, I expected that Carson could. I expected Carson would adeptly state what the bible affirms, while accounting for the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state. He would address the right of consenting adult citizens to pursue life, liberty and happiness as they deem fit, agree that the government is responsible to protect all of its citizens regardless of their faith, yet remain firm concerning Christian morality. I expected Carson, whose gifted hands have literally been ordained by God to heal, to eloquently and gracefully deliver a position that begins first and foremost with the love of Jesus Christ – especially during the season we honor His death and resurrection. Instead, Carson on the following day added to the pile of logical fallacies during an interview on MSNBC rambling something about apples, oranges, bananas and peaches as he tried to explain his head-scratching comment.

Carson’s life and prestigious career (his bestselling book turned movie “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story” chronicles his amazing rise from poverty to prestige) has been inspiring. He recently announced his retirement from Johns Hopkins, which has fueled speculation that he may seek a career in politics of the media. Carson has been labeled the latest “flava of the month” among Conservative Republicans after he criticized the Affordable Care Act to President Obama’s face during the National Prayer Breakfast. Though Carson said he’s an independent voter, the conservative Fox News devoted an hour-long show to him. But knowing brain surgery doesn’t necessarily prepare you to be on the news media’s operation.

Much of Carson’s goodwill is in jeopardy now. Carson has since tried to extract his foot from his mouth by apologizing for his comment, but he may have lost too much oxygen. Johns Hopkins medical students have petitioned to have Carson removed as their 2013 commencement speaker. University officials remain supportive of Carson. Still, it’s a shame what the situation has come to because Carson certainly knows better.

Academicians and or those who are thoroughly trained in the sciences know well how to construct reasoned arguments with sound evidence. Shooting red herrings or other logical fallacies from the hip, or in this case the butt, is unacceptable. Carson is yet another example of an otherwise intelligent person who when a TV camera is on, suddenly loses his righteous mind. Sadly, a potentially promising second career for a brilliant man of God may already be off its rocker.


Editor’s Note: On April 5th, Dr. Ben Carson sent out the following statement concerning his remarks about gay marriage.

“Dear Colleagues, Friends and Associates:

As you know, I have been in the national news quite a bit recently and my 36 year association with Johns Hopkins has unfortunately dragged our institution into the spotlight as well. I am sorry for any embarrassment this has caused. But what really saddens me is that my poorly chosen words caused pain for some members of our community and for that I offer a most sincere and heartfelt apology. Hurting others is diametrically opposed to who I am and what I believe. There are many lessons to be learned when venturing into the political world and this is one I will not forget. Although I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman, there are much less offensive ways to make that point. I hope all will look at a lifetime of service over some poorly chosen words.”

Sincerely yours,
Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD

About the author, Wil LaVeist

Wil LaVeist is an award-winning journalist, professional speaker, and author of Fired Up: 4 Steps to Overcoming a Crisis, Including Unemployment. Contact him at www.WILLAVEIST.com, and listen to The Wil LaVeist Show Wednesdays at Noon to 1 p.m. on 88.1 WHOV in Hampton, Virginia.
  1. Mr. LaVeist: In my observation, the mockery and number of personal insults you load into this piece appear to indicate that you hold your fellow professed brother in Christ to higher standard than you hold yourself.

  2. Really Mr. LaVeist?!!! You’ve never said anything that you wish you could take back? You’ve never had a “what was I thinking when I said that” moment? He has since apologized for what he said, but I guess that doesn’t matter. Every politician in this country (Democrat or Republican) has had one of these moments. They recovered and Dr. Carson will too.

  3. Thanks for your feedback, but I’m noticing neither of you (Mr. Clark, Mr. Sutton) are taking issue with what I wrote, but that I wrote it. Dr. Carson is a serious thinker and far from an intellectual lightweight. He’s more than capable of articulating a sound Christian position (which is sorely needed in the public discourse now) on this issue. He knows better and hopefully he will do better. It would be a shame and waste if he ended up being just another talking head on cable TV.

    • Mr. LaVeist: Thank you for your reply. Respectfully, it appears you pivoted away from my feedback. My critique does concern “what” you wrote. In my view, Luke 6:41-42 applies.

      • Mr. Clark: Honestly, you might want to fully understand that scripture’s context and at least the meaning of the word hypocrite (you might have to seek the original Greek). To call me such a thing would require you to know something about what I do in private that contradicts what I;ve said here about Carson’s comment. Carson’s formal sincere apology and unfortunate withdrawl from the commencement speech should be a clear sign. But, as you know, we’re all free to choose to see what we want to see.

  4. Well my question to this issue is simple. Who is RIGHTEOUS in this debate? It seems that the tide in our country is leaning toward the acceptance of same-sex behavior in every institution. Even our beloved President said that is should be embraced in every institution in his 60 minutes interview with Scott Pelley. And at another occasion the President said his faith is a determining factor. In the light of the redemption of Jesus Christ, who came to save (Luke 19:10), I believe the “brain freeze” is in the western world with this tide of immorality seizing the minds of many!

  5. Hello All,

    I think Dr. Carson has read his Bible – Lev. 18 for instance. It is God Almighty – the Intellectual heavy weight of all intellectual heavy weights – who forbids these sins in the same context:

    Leviticus 18:22-23: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.


  6. The problem isn’t that Dr. Carson is against gay marriage. He has that right as does anyone else. The problem is that Dr. Carson expressed his opposition to gay marriage in such a vulgar and unintelligent way. I think that is the point Mr. LaVeist is making.

  7. Instead of withdrawing from the commencement speech, Dr. Carson should’ve stood his ground and clarified his position. He correctly apologized for his ill-advised comment, but then withdraws saying it’s not about him (ok, that’s right) but then offers a parting shot by citing “political correctness” ? Obviously there is more to it behind the scenes, but Carson’s decision to withdraw is another disappointing head-scratcher:
    Ben Carson and the price of free speech: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-carson-20130412,0,554233.story#ixzz2QHp2maWY