Likely presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson (below) is frustrated. In an appearance in New York and an interview following, the conservative doctor affirmed his traditional-as-ever views on homosexuality, but he just doesn’t understood why LGBT people can’t accept them.
BuzzFeed compiled some sound bites from his appearance at New York’s National Action Network, the nonprofit led by Rev. Al Sharpton:
His message to the largely black crowd was the one he often delivers: self-reliance and independence with a mix of social conservatism. “I don’t hate gay people; I just happen to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” told the audience to some applause.
(Let it be known that any politician who says “I don’t hate (some kind of person)” in a speech is not one to be trusted.)
The audience also welcomed his insistence that “there is nothing that even slightly compares to slavery” in American history, though few, if any, went along as Carson pivoted to defending his previous statements that the Affordable Care Act is the worst thing “since slavery” with the emphasis on the word “since.”
And in the interview that followed, BuzzFeed asked straightforward questions about Carson’s stance on LGBT issues that he couldn’t talk around. Somehow, he redirected the conversation to ask why LGBT people can’t be more “tolerant” of those who hold, express and attempt to legislate anti-equality beliefs.
Should transgender people be legally protected from discrimination? “I think federal law should protect all American citizens from discrimination,” he replied.
How would Carson react if one of his sons were gay? “I would still love him, just like I love all gay people,” he said. Would attend his wedding, though, should he choose to marry another man? He was less sure (“I don’t know”). But, Carson had a question in response — is there a place for same-sex marriage opponents?
“What I would ask — I think, maybe BuzzFeed can get an answer to this question: What position can a person who believes in traditional marriage, between one man and one woman, have, who has absolutely no animosity or opposition to gay people — what position can they take that would be satisfactory to the gay community?” he asked. “Because if they can give me an answer to that, I’m quite willing to seriously consider it. But so far I haven’t been able to find anybody who can give me an answer — it’s sort of like, ‘Nope! It has to be my way or the highway.’”
“So, hopefully there’s a level of tolerance in that community where they can actually come up with an answer,” he continued.
Luckily, BuzzFeed’s wonderful reader community has jumped into the comments section to answer Carson’s question. Here are some positions or actions anti-LGBT conservatives can take that would begin to be satisfactory:
- Abstaining from saying that homosexuality leads to pedophilia and bestiality
- Abstaining from saying that prison “turns people gay”
- Respecting the separation of church and state
- Accepting that it’s okay not to agree with a law, particularly when that law does not personally affect you
- Abstaining from advocating for other people’s rights to be taken away based on your religious beliefs
And those are just a few suggestions. Basically, Dr. Carson, it would be a nice start to keep your hateful personal beliefs out of the laws that control our families, health, and welfare. But if you continue spreading lies comparing us to pedophiles and telling us that we don’t deserve basic protections, you clearly aren’t “tolerating” us, so we have no reason to “tolerate” you.