Last week Dr. Ben Carson further damaged his credibility and his chances of becoming the 2016 Republican presidential candidate by equating proponents of gay marriage with those that engage in pedophilia and bestiality. Here is his statement:
“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.”
“Now perhaps the examples were not the best choice of words, and I certainly apologize if I offended anyone. But the point that I was making was that no group of individuals, whoever they are, whatever their belief systems, gets to change traditional definitions.”
The funniest word in his reply is ‘perhaps’ — (perhaps?!). If he wanted to choose a uncontroversial ‘group of individuals’ to compare to gay marriage advocates, he could have chosen any number of groups with whom conservatives often disagree – unions, the French, ‘elites’ – but Dr. Carson chose zoophiles and pedophiles because their ‘belief systems’ are reprehensible to us and embracing them would mean making concessions to the vile and the grotesque.
Perhaps, in Dr. Carson’s mind, gay marriage is a corruption of the laws of nature and God akin, to the ‘Beast Folk’ on the ‘Island of Dr. Moreau’. Perhaps, in his mind to embrace gay marriage is to invite all manner of new ‘definitions’ in our society, like Rick Santorum’s warning that ‘man-dog’ marriages will follow those of gays. Or perhaps he is a reasonable man of both faith and science, who wants to be President by any means necessary, even if it means pandering to homophobes.
Regardless, Dr. Carson’s political star continues to descend. Though he has a distinguished career and affiliation with Johns Hopkins University, he had to step down as this Spring’s commencement speaker due to the above comments. Dr. Carson is beginning to seem a bit like Prendick, the main character of Dr. Moreau, who escapes the island but finds himself unable to reconnect with the world he once knew. If Dr. Carson spends years on the stump expressing skepticism on everything from global warming to evolution he will likely alienate the scientific community, but if he cannot polish his delivery and reach new voters he will likely humiliate himself and the party which will end his political career as well. Or perhaps this is all just a bad dream – a kind of midlife crisis move like getting a mistress or buying a Harley – in an otherwise stellar career. We cannot be sure. Only time will tell.