Ben Carson, as a corporate board member, supported aggressive gay rights policies at both Costco and Kellogg. This news, just surfacing this week, is bound to give social conservatives pause as they decide whom to back in the GOP primary process.
Dr. Carson began serving on the Kellogg board in 1997 and on the Costco board in 1999. He remained on those boards until the spring of 2015, when he began his campaign for the White House.
According to Reuters (emphasis mine throughout):
Carson supported various initiatives at both companies, such as barring discrimination based on gender identity, providing health insurance for employees' domestic partners, and offering more diversity training. Because of such changes the companies now are ranked as some of the best in the United States by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates.
Thanks in part to the support of Dr. Carson, the Human Rights Campaign, the largest and most aggressive promoter of special rights for homosexuals in the country, gave Kellogg a perfect score of 100, and graded Costco out at 90. YouGov BrandIndex, which measures consumer perception, named Costco the “best perceived brand among LGBT Americans.”
The problem here is quite simple: laws that ban employment discrimination against homosexuals require employment discrimination against Christians.
In any corporate environment where homosexuality has been enshrined and has been given special employment protections, any Christian who breathes a word of traditional morality is told to keep his opinions to himself and if he won’t, he runs the risk of being summarily fired. You can ask Brendan Eich of Mozilla what happens even to CEOs who dare to express any support for natural marriage in such an environment.
The “diversity training” which Dr. Carson voted for is nothing more than systematic indoctrination against a biblical worldview on human sexuality. You can’t pass a diversity course unless you allow yourself to be browbeaten into demonizing Christians for believing in God’s view of sexual behavior.
Ben Carson doesn’t seem to understand all that. And that’s a problem.
The reality on the ground is that America must choose between homosexuality and religious liberty because we can’t have both. Dr. Carson seems to naively believe that we don’t have to choose between the two, but he’s wrong. Sides must be chosen, and anyone who commits himself to preserving religious liberty is going to have to firmly resist the advances of the gay agenda.
The clash between religious liberty and the homosexual cause is a zero-sum game. In every encounter, somebody wins and somebody loses. Every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty. Anywhere and everywhere that the homosexual agenda advances, Christianity is forced into retreat.
America needs a president who will vigorously defend the free exercise of Christianity in the face of fierce and vitriolic animus from Big Gay. Dr. Carson may just be too nice and too accommodating to stand up against such an onslaught.
It would be one thing if Dr. Carson fought the adoption of these policies, or spoke out against them, or even silently voted against them. But the evidence so far indicates that he did none of these things:
Fellow directors said they do not recall Carson opposing any of the initiatives presented to the board.
"Ben Carson never came into the boardroom with any kind of social policy commentary," said Jeffrey Brotman, who chairs Costco's board. Kellogg director Donald Knauss said he also remembers Carson went along with the policy changes.
This is something Dr. Carson must explain. His personal support of man-woman marriage is no secret. But the question here is not what his personal convictions happen to be but what he is prepared to do to support them in the public arena.
From a standpoint of public policy, it’s utterly meaningless and useless for a politician to take the position that he is “personally opposed” to gay marriage but “wouldn’t want to impose” his values on anybody else. There are lots of people who are “personally opposed” to abortion, and yet vote every year to send Planned Parenthood $500 million to continue butchering babies and selling their body parts to the highest bidder.
The fundamental problem here is that not once but twice Dr. Carson used his influence to promote special protections for non-normative sexual behavior in the public marketplace.
As David King of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government said, you cannot “divorce boardroom politics from presidential politics.” Carson’s support of gay rights policies has even earned him the qualified support of Gregory Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, which is a vigorous supporter of the entire gay agenda.
The White House is a big step up from serving on a corporate board and the stakes are as high as they can possibly be. Bottom line: Dr. Carson needs to explain immediately why he would do anything different in the Oval Office than he did in the boardroom of Costco. His presidential aspirations are hanging in the balance.