If 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson was trying to distinguish himself from the crowded field of conservatives eager to win the nomination, he may have just done it in the worst possible way.
In a first, the human rights watchdogs at Southern Poverty Law Center named a likely Republican contender to its “Extremist Watch List” for his attitudes and actions towards gay people and endorsing “biblical economic practices for 21st century America.” There are several other candidates who may be equally homophobic, but it would be hard to match just how unapologetic Carson is about it.
Carson, whose hatred of Obama is matched only by his hatred towards homosexuality, has made a name for himself by saying outlandish, vitriolic accusations designed specifically to rile up the ultra-conservative base. He has latched onto the premise that he, and other conservatives, are under constant assault by political correctness which is trying to prevent him from being able to express his ideas. If that’s true, Carson must be quite courageous because the “PC police” haven’t prevented him from saying the most offensive things imaginable.
When speaking about liberals, Carson likes to compare them to Nazis.
“I mean, [our society is] very much like Nazi Germany,” Carson told Breitbart News, after declaring that we were living in a “Gestapo age.” “And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany,’ but I don’t care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.” [source]
He’s insisted on (then subsequently defended) the assertion that Obamacare is the worst thing to happen to America since slavery.
But his particular brand of bigotry sails most fully when he’s condemning homosexuality, a sexual orientation that he sees as no different than pedophilia. He once remarked to Fox News’ Sean Hannity:
“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 [North American Man/Boy Association, a group advocating pedophilia], be they people who believe in bestiality—it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition.”
Despite those comments (and many more), Carson’s star within the Republican Party is rising. In recent months, as Carson toys with a presidential bid, he has been rubbing elbows with some of the most hateful groups in the country, shoring up the people who will likely be his most fervent supporters.
As SPLC notes:
In June 2014 he keynoted an event sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, a hardline group opposed to same-sex marriage. He was a featured speaker at the Tea Party and far right-dominated Western Conservative Summit in Denver the next month, where he won the delegates’ straw poll of potential 2016 presidential candidates, running ahead of well-known right-wing politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. And the Pacific Justice Institute, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group, announced in July 2014 that he would keynote its “Celebration of Justice: Restoring America” conference in October.
In joining the “Extremist Watch List,” Carson gets placed next to some dubious company. He shares the list with such icons of hatred as former KKK leader David Duke, Westboro Baptists Church’s recently deceased leader Fred Phelps, and Scott Lively, the American pastor currently facing charges of crimes against humanity for helping enact Uganda’s genocidal anti-gay laws.