The Left Goes After Carson for Religious Views, Could Alienate African Americans

Ben Carson July 2015. Photo by Marc Nozell.

Liberals spent the better part of the past week attacking Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson for having strong Christian beliefs, some of which are admittedly odd. For instance, The Guardian, the Associated Press, and many other media groups have slammed Carson for saying he believes the pyramids in Egypt may have been built as storehouses for grain rather than as tombs for kings, a view I don’t agree with. You can read one of those stories here. Carson, a Seventh Day Adventist, undoubtedly has some unusual religious beliefs compared to many other Americans, but why does anyone care?

The Left’s decision to go after Carson using his person religious beliefs is an odd choice for a variety of reasons. First, it’s completely hypocritical. After all, black liberation theology and other strange things taught in President Barack Obama’s former United Church of Christ congregation on Chicago’s South Side were widely dismissed by Democrats and many Republicans alike. Second, great and effective presidents and politicians throughout American history have had varying religious views on a wide range of theological topics, and I can’t recall a single time historians have looked to those views as “negatives” or hindrances. Third, and most importantly, African Americans, one of the most loyal Democratic voting groups, have very strong, pro-Christian views that seem out of step with the insults being hurled at Ben Carson.

In a 2008 Pew poll, 79 percent of African Americans said religion is very important in their lives, compared to only 56 percent for the rest of the country. Eighty-eight percent said they are absolutely sure God exists. Very interestingly, 61 percent of African Americans say they think churches should get involved in political and social issues, while more than 50 percent of the general public say they want churches to stay out of politics.

So-called “educated” liberals have long-derided evangelical Christians of every denomination as “crazies” while ignoring the evangelicals in their own party. African Americans have put up with it because they feel they need Democrats on a variety of other issues, but now that the Left is attacking Carson, an African American, for his religious views, it’s entirely possible liberals could be starting to alienate African Americans, who have heard promises to fix the world from the Left for more than 50 years now. Even if they don’t alienate African Americans, they are certainly engaging in some risky political behavior without any real advantage. Carson isn’t even the GOP nominee, so why attack him? Perhaps because they are nervous about facing off against a brilliant, evangelical, non-establishment African American in the general election? Hmmm … just a thought.

Ben Carson July 2015. Photo by Marc Nozell.