Rapture Ready Ben Carson feels like he is riding high right now, having beat out Donald Trump in a Wisconsin poll 20% to 18%. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for either, but it’s clear the guy Carson has to beat is Trump, and that’s kind of funny because for Trump, religion is “little crackers” and a little wine and a childhood Bible he’s never read but likes to wave around.
Carson, on the other hand, has presented himself as the darling of the Religious Right, which, at worst, is ambivalent about Trump, revealing, if nothing else, that their bigotries are at least as important to them as their God.
Perhaps all too well aware of that, Carson wants to reassure everyone that God wants him to run. Appearing on Daystar Television’s Marcus and Joni, Ben Carson announced that his critics “don’t understand the power of God.”
After explaining that he had planned on enjoying his retirement, Carson said,
Sometimes the Lord has a plan that’s different for us, and you know, after the Prayer Breakfast, a lot of people started clamoring for me to run for president which I thought was kind of a ridiculous thing, and I said that will all die down so just ignore it. But it never did. And it just kept building and pretty soon I was getting a box every week with 5,000 petitions in it. Pretty soon, I had a whole room full of these boxes and people saying you have to do this, you have to do it for us, and the draft movement built and I finally said, ‘Lord, I don’t particularly want to do this. It’s not on my bucket list, but if you want me to do it, you open the doors and I’ll walk through them and if you close the doors, I’ll sit down.’ And the doors began flying open, much to the consternation of all the professional class and all the pundits, who said, ‘It’s impossible. You can’t possibly put together a national organization. As a political neophyte, you don’t know any of the people. There’s no money, you can’t do it, it’s impossible, forget about it,’ and yet, you see it’s happening. And they don’t understand the power of God.
Well, maybe not, but we understand the power of stupid, and not to put too fine a point upon it, but Ben Carson has said some incredibly, absolutely appallingly stupid things, like prison makes people gay, or that some values are more equal than others, or his admission that he has no idea what the “debt limit” is.
Some pundits are proclaiming him the Trump antidote, but that isn’t strictly true, unless the antidote to the plague is to kill the victim. In truth, as Joan Walsh at The Nation writes, Carson sounds more, not less, like Trump these days.
There is nothing remarkable here. It is almost impossible these days for a Republican to run without first saying God ordained it. The list of failed divinely-ordained Republican candidacies is longer than the Old Testament, from Sarah Palin to Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry.
It is easy for true believers to talk themselves into and out of nearly anything and have a supporting biblical passage to boot. I see it all the time on a personal level and you no doubt do as well. But Ben Carson, very nationally, is pitting the power of God against Donald Trump’s “hugeness” – and God is losing, if the polls are any judge.
Ben Carson says we critics don’t understand the “power of God” but I think you’re more likely to get into trouble in this universe if you fail to understnd, like Carson, the power of science.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.