Yesterday, Ben Carson stated flatly in the morning that homosexuality “absolutely” is a choice. Just hours later, before the day was done, he was in full scale retreat, issuing an abject apology for having possibly offended tender souls.
Chris Cuomo asked Dr. Carson yesterday morning, “Do you think people have control over their sexuality?”
“Do you think being gay is a choice?”
So early yesterday morning, Dr. Carson was clear, definitive and unambiguous. “Being gay” - that is, living a homosexual lifestyle - is a matter of choice. This is indisputable. While we may not know exactly where sexual impulses come from, making a decision to yield to them is always a matter of choice.
Sexual impulses may not be a matter of choice, but sexual behavior always is.
But for saying that homosexuality is “absolutely” a choice, Dr. Carson immediately came under withering assault from what lesbian writer Tammy Bruce calls the “Gay Gestapo” and what Bill Maher calls “the gay mafia.” Under this relentless attack, it wasn’t long before Dr. Carson issued an apology on Facebook (emphasis mine):
“In a recent interview on CNN, I realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues.
“I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended...
“I am not a politician and I answered a question without really thinking about it thoroughly. No excuses. I deeply regret my statement and I promise you, on this journey, I may err again, but unlike politicians when I make an error I will take full responsibility and never hide or parse words. As a human being my obligation is to learn from my mistakes and to treat all people with respect and dignity."
The fundamental problem with Carson’s apology is that he nowhere makes a distinction between impulse and behavior.
Dr. Carson just this week formed an exploratory committee, which means he’s running for the presidency. He admits here that, on an issue which has been a front burner social issue for the last 12 years, he gave an answer “without really thinking about it.” Ouch.
And then he seems to imply that declaring that sexual behavior is a “choice” represents a failure “to treat all people with respect and dignity.” In other words, he has taken the position here that expressing a biblical view of human sexuality is wrong and degrading to people who disagree. This is just what the homosexual lobby wants everybody to believe. Double ouch.
I think, in point of fact, Dr. Carson has thought about the matter quite thoroughly and did in fact speak his true mind to Chris Cuomo. Evidence of this is that he had a ready illustration of his point (situational homosexuality in the prison system) at hand.
(And it turns out that Dr. Carson was exactly right. Christopher Hensley, a criminal justice professor at University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, recently authored a study which revealed 17% of inmates change their sexual orientation while incarcerated.)
What Carson failed to anticipate was the intensity of the vitriol that would be unleashed against him for declaring a socially and biblically conservative view on homosexuality. Unfortunately, in the face of this blistering attack, he did not stand his ground. He retreated, rather rapidly in fact, before the day was out.
Why did he cave? The most likely explanation is that his campaign managers freaked and told him he had to go into immediate damage control if he wants to become president. His political consultants, like most in the establishment GOP, are completely wigged out by social issues - like they were with Sarah Palin - and don’t want their candidates to touch them with the proverbial 10 foot pole.
What had made Dr. Carson such an attractive candidate to the base was that he was unapologetically conservative. He wasn’t a conventional political figure. He was an outsider, a Sarah Palin in wingtips who spoke his mind without being intimidated into silence by those who are offended by the truth.
Alas, last night Dr. Carson spoke and acted rather like an ordinary and conventional politician. He now seems to be a captive of political correctness just like everybody else, at least on the issue of human sexuality.
Yesterday afternoon, Carson told Sean Hannity,“I simply have decided I’m not really going to talk about that issue anymore because every time I’m gaining momentum the liberal press says, ‘Let’s talk about gay rights.’ And I’m just not going to fall for that anymore.”
He appears determined now never to address this issue again, which, of course, is a position no candidate for office can take. This also means his last public word on the subject will be an abject apology for saying that homosexuality is a choice.
This retreat will hurt him with the base and will not help him with anyone else. It’s a net loss. In fact, last night’s apology may have done fatal damage to his campaign before it even got started.
If the left can beat him down this easily on an issue like homosexuality, on what other issues might he crumple if enough pressure is applied? Will voters want to take the risk of finding out after it’s too late?
Bottom line: on homosexuality, and maybe on everything else, Ben Carson needs to decide right now whether he is going to listen to God or his handlers. His political future may rest on the answer to that question.