Dr. Ben Carson became an instant conservative star after he insulted the president of the United States at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Carson’s speech there was otherwise un-noteworthy except to the likes of Sean Hannity, who christened the African-American neurosurgeon a presidential contender on the strength of his churlish performance.
Hannity subsequently interviewed Carson and asked the doctor’s views on same-sex marriage.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” replied the doctor. Fair enough; that’s an opinion held by many. But Carson continued.
Gays and lesbians, he said, along with criminal pedophiles and degenerates who practice bestiality, cannot be permitted to change the “definition of marriage.”
Same-sex adult couples who love one another and wish to wed so they can enjoy the legal rights of marriage are the same sort as those who molest children or have sex with sheep, in Carson’s view.
Coming from someone with his intellect and academic credentials, Carson’s words were not only shocking, they revealed his abject bigotry.
The comments set off a fire storm at Johns Hopkins University, where Carson teaches at the institution’s prestigious medical school. In response, he appeared on MSNBC to offer an apology - sort of.
“…as a Christian…I have a duty to love all people and that includes people who have other sexual orientations…if anybody was offended, I apologize…My point was that once we start changing definitions, where do we stop?”
Well, Dr. Carson should have stopped right there, but on a radio show just a few days later, he tore into his critics.
“(They) take my words…and try to make it seem that I’m a bigot,” Carson declared. “They're the most racist people there are…‘you have to think this way, how could you dare come off the plantation?’"
If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then the last refuge for a bigot like Dr. Carson is the metaphorical “plantation,” in which he casts himself as a slave, whipped by the awful lash of progressivism.
And, you know what they grow on that progressive plantation, Dr. Carson? The kind of freedom that got you through the front door of Johns Hopkins, that’s what.
Late last week, Carson had another change of heart. In an e-mail to "the Hopkins Community" he said, “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…”
Dr. Carson’s mea culpa appears to be motivated less by genuine remorse and more by the e-mail that preceded his own, one sent to faculty and students by Dr. Paul B. Rothman, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Carson’s boss:
“…we recognize that tension now exists in our community because hurtful, offensive language was used by (Dr. Carson)...
“Johns Hopkins Medicine embraces diversity and believes that the same civil rights should be available to all regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
“…It is clear that the fundamental principle of freedom of expression has been placed in conflict with our core values of diversity, inclusion and respect.”
Dr. Carson is free to speak his mind. He’s not muzzled by political correctness, as he alleged at the prayer breakfast, no matter how offensive or intolerant his words. But when such words revile many listeners the way his did, there are consequences.
In Carson’s case, it appears he has been uninvited to speak at the Johns Hopkins commencement ceremony as he was scheduled to do in honor of his retirement from the university.
It’s a sad coda to a stellar medical career. And his political future, if he ever actually had one, is D.O.A.