With the influx of presidential hopefuls for the Republican nomination, the circus that is American politics has many new attractions. Among them, one stands out as particularly interesting – the ever-comical educated ignoramus Dr. Ben Carson. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Dr. Carson is a retired Johns Hopkins surgeon who led an illustrious and celebrated career. He was the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins at the head, and was a pioneer in performing intricate brain surgeries previously not thought possible. Dr. Carson is a highly educated, highly intelligent man … in his field. Now, this presidential hopeful has been very outspoken on social issues as of late – namely homosexuality – and it becomes more clear with every interview that his ability to make sense of the world around him does not extend beyond the operating room. As a matter of fact, his understanding of homosexuality is downright embarrassing. This is a man who said, in late March of this year, that he knows homosexuality is a choice because “a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight – and when they come out, they’re gay.” Then, in an interview on June 10, just a couple of days ago, he asked a question. “What position can a person take who has absolutely no animosity toward gay people but believes in traditional marriage that would be satisfactory to them [LGBTQ+ people and Allies]?” I’m going to go ahead and answer that today.
In a word, Dr. Carson, ‘NONE.’ There is no acceptable position to be taken in favour of traditional marriage. Why? Because marriage is a right afforded to people in our society, and what good are rights if conditional? Because a position in favour of traditional marriage is, by definition, a position against same-sex marriage, and that is NOT equality. You might as well ask ‘what position can a person take who has absolutely no animosity toward gay people but wishes to deny them the same rights and freedoms as the rest of us?’ It’s the same question, and the answer is NONE.
Like many people in the religious right, Dr. Carson has a persecution complex, feeling that Christians are being oppressed by the so-called ‘gay agenda.’ He would no doubt call my response to his question ‘bigoted and intolerant’ … and although I disagree strongly with the word ‘bigoted,’ ‘intolerant’ is absolutely right. I AM intolerant of values and ideas that harm, kill, and otherwise oppress. If I weren’t, Outspoken Ally would have no purpose. I am proud to be intolerant of the ideals that Dr. Carson holds in this regard, because standing up against religiously fuelled hatred is morally correct. Standing up for people who have had their rights denied them is morally correct. Intolerance of injustice is necessary for change, it’s necessary for equality. Intolerance of injustice led Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to fight for civil rights. Intolerance of injustice led Rosa Parks to refuse to give up her seat, and it fuels this fight against a hatred that leads to the horrific attacks and killings of people who are guilty of nothing. Yes, I am intolerant of Dr. Carson’s views on LGBTQ+ people, as I believe we all should be, and we should be proud to have history remember that.
Dr. Carson and his fellow republican hopefuls will continue to make outrageous statements, and spew forth lies and ridiculous arguments in the coming weeks, months and years. At the same time, the LGBTQ+ community has never been so close to having their rights recognized and made law. As the absurdity continues, we are still winning. We must continue to fight, continue to speak, continue to stand together.