Dr. Ben Carson is no longer on the list of individuals classified as extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC, a liberal group, apparently received a lot of pushback for adding Carson to the list primarily because the doctor expressed support for traditional marriage in an interview with FNC’s Sean Hannity. Parenthetically, President Obama’s official position on same-sex marriage was the same as Carson’s until sometime in 2012.
Although Carson was so designated last fall, it was only recently, however, that the extremist labeling for the brain surgeon came to the internet’s attention via a posting on the Legal Insurrection blog.
In the Hannity interview that got apparently Carson on the list, he said that “Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established 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.”
The retired director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Benjamin Carson rose to national prominence in the political realm after slamming Obamacare and political correctness at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast with Obama sitting two seats away. Carson, who appears to be gearing up for a presidential run having recently changed his voter registration from independent to Republican, revealed in late 2013 that he was subject to a first-time IRS audit after going public with Obamacare criticism.
Yesterday, the organization issued a qualified apology accompanied about three pages of Carson quotes, with which it disagreed and claimed are extreme. The statement read, in part, as follows.
“In October 2014, we posted an ‘Extremist File’ of Dr. Ben Carson. This week, as we’ve come under intense criticism for doing so, we’ve reviewed our profile and have concluded that it did not meet our standards, so we have taken it down and apologize to Dr. Carson for having posted it… We laud Dr. Carson for his many contributions to medicine and his philanthropic work, and we, like so many others, are inspired by his personal story. Nevertheless, particularly because Dr. Carson is such a prominent person, we believe that his views should be closely examined.”
In an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor last night (see clip below for the entire interview) Carson called the now-withdrawn SPLC extremist designation “ridiculous.”
In the interview, Carson reaffirmed his support for traditional marriage and insisted that he harbors no animosity toward gays. He explained that as far as he’s concerned, any two consenting adults can enter into any relationship they want, but added that a stable family unit with a mother and father is the best environment in which to raise children.
“Whether you agree with Carson or not, he didn’t deserve to be on a list with Klan and Neo-Nazi leaders (there are a few other people who don’t deserve to be on the list, but that’s a different matter.),” Prof. William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection observed.
Added Cortney O’Brien of TownHall, “Carson’s beliefs in the traditional family structure may seem like the minority view in today’s culture, but they are his beliefs nonetheless. He has the right to share them without being demonized.”
As many news outlets have pointed out, a gunman attempted an attack on the conservative Family Research Council offices in Washington, apparently after it was flagged by the SPLC as a hate group. “He was a political activist and considered the FRC a lobbying group. He committed the shooting for political reasons. He had identified the FRC as an anti-gay organization on the Southern Poverty Law Center Website,” CNS News reported, citing court records.
In the case of Dr. Ben Carson or perhaps someone else who shares his beliefs, do you think that being anti-gay marriage automatically equates to being an anti-gay extremist as the Southern Poverty Law Center seems or seemed to be suggesting?
[image credit: Gage Skidmore]