Ben Carson: Being Gay is Choice Because Some People Do Gay Things After Prison

Dr. Carson, this isn’t brain surgery. Being attracted to the same or opposite sex isn’t chosen like you chose to speak outside of your area of expertise today.
On CNN, Carson told Chris Cuomo that being gay is choice and he knows this because of prison. Carson said:

Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.

Some people do make a shift in prison but probably not “a lot.” One study I consulted found that about 17% of prisoners said they had shifted orientation from before prison to the time of the survey. Those prisoners were still incarcerated. Most of the switchers said they became bisexual. They should be surveyed when they leave prison; most will likely revert to pre-prison identifications.
More disturbing is Carson’s reliance on a clearly exceptional population. He should know better than to draw conclusions about all gays because of the exceptions in prison. He surely did not choose surgery techniques or medicines that way.

AFA Journal Compounds Dubious Claim that David Barton Was Vindicated in Court

David Barton’s vindication campaign is getting some traction among far right publications.
The newest American Family Association Journal ran a brief summary of the December 2014 World Net Daily article. The AFA article concluded with this unsubstantiated sentence: “Barton has also won legal judgment against others who published lies about his veracity and his ministry.” See below.
While Barton did settle out of court with his accusers on the white supremacy charges, he dismissed the person who questioned his veracity (W.S. Smith) from the suit in April of 2012. To date, Barton has not published any judgment relating to his historical claims. John Aman, the author of the World Net Daily article on Barton’s suit, said a Texas judge ruled that statements about Barton’s historical claims were “false and defamatory.”

Barton also won in court against W.S. Smith, a self-described atheist who published an online article in 2010 calling Barton “an admitted liar” whose “books have been picked apart time and again and exposed as fallacious.”

Smith was a no-show throughout the lawsuit, disappearing shortly after Barton sued him in September 2011. Barton’s legal team hired a private detective and published notices in Texas newspapers statewide in an unsuccessful attempt to find the elusive writer.

Smith disappeared after he boasted, in an email to Huffington Post columnist Chris Rodda that he was “happy to meet” Barton in court “because the truth in [sic] on my side.”

“If this is what you want, Mr. Barton, then let’s do it,” Smith said. “Bring it on. Bring it on. Bring it on. The path you’ve chosen will lead only to your embarrassment and ruin.”

Three years later, a Texas court found Smith’s assertions about David Barton both false and defamatory.

So far, Mr. Aman is standing behind his story. I informed him that Parker County, TX public records disclose that W.S. Smith was dismissed from the suit in 2012. Aman responded that Mr. Barton was the source of his information about the disposition of the suit. Aman provided no response to the Parker County, TX records.

At issue are the claims that “Barton also won in court against W.S. Smith” and “a Texas court found Smith’s assertions about David Barton both false and defamatory.” According to the Parker County TX records, Smith was removed from the case. The only names on the settlement are Jennings and Bell-Metereau. I call on World Net Daily, John Aman and David Barton to produce court documents showing a win against W.S. Smith and a finding that Smith’s claims were “both false and defamatory.”

Of course, even if a judge wrote those things, it wouldn’t place David Barton on the Oral Roberts University basketball team, or make his denial of progress toward an HIV vaccine true. It wouldn’t change the fact that he omits parts of quote from America’s founders that don’t align with his views, or that the Consitution doesn’t quote the Bible verbatim.


Should America Establish Christianity as a State Religion?

Everyone who reads here should know where I stand on that question — absolutely not!
I was surprised and sad to see that among Republicans, I am in the minority. According to a Public Policy Polling survey (question 17), 57% of Republicans said they “support establishing Christianity as the national religion.” Thirty percent did not support that policy and 13% were unsure.
Tom Ehrich pointed to the poll results in his commentary opposing the establishment of Christianity. Ehrich asks, if the U.S. is a Christian nation, then whose Christianity do we follow?
He begins:

(RNS) A recent survey found that 57 percent of Republicans agreed that Christianity should be established as the United States’ national religion.
Not only would this violate the clear wording of the Constitution and the intention of the founders to keep religion and government separate, it also raises a difficult quandary.
Whose Christianity?

I have asked a similar question before of those who want to turn America back to God.
Which god?
Ehrich rightly questions the wisdom of having one approach to Christianity endorsed by the government. As Benjamin Rush believed, Christianity doesn’t need government help. Ehrich writes:

We are safe from religion — which was the founders’ goal — when all religious voices can be heard. A competition of ideas is healthy. But if one religious voice became dominant, the resulting intolerance would take us back to the religious wars that tore Europe to pieces.

Among current GOP candidates, Mike Huckabee did best among those who said Christianity should be established as the national religion. Of course, Huckabee is a big supporter of David Barton’s Christian nationalism. Those who think Barton is a side show need to wake up and smell the poll numbers.

Update on the HIV Vaccine that David Barton Said Was Halted

Yesterday, I pointed out that David Barton tried to prove his belief that God would not allow researchers to find a vaccine for HIV by misrepresenting research on the subject. Barton first pointed to a successful vaccine trial (RV144) but then led his audience to believe RV144 was halted by showing them a headline announcing that another study (HVTN505) had been stopped by the NIH. In fact, as I demonstrated, RV144 was deemed safe and modestly effective (see that post for video of Barton’s slight of hand).
Curious about the current science involving RV144, I wrote to the NIH to learn the status of the program. As it turns out, a new development was reported by the NIH in February of this year involving the vaccine Barton said was halted. From the 2/18/15 NIH press release:

NIH-Sponsored HIV Vaccine Trial Launches in South Africa

Early-Stage Trial Aims to Build on RV144 Results

HVTN laboratory staff

(View larger image. HVTN laboratory staff Nomzamo Tabata (left) and Owethu Mahali process specimens at The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: Brooke Auchincloss)

​A clinical trial called HVTN 100 has been launched in South Africa to study an investigational HIV vaccine regimen for safety and the immune responses it generates in study participants. This experimental vaccine regimen is based on the one tested in the U.S. Military HIV Research Program-led ArchiveRV144 clinical trial in Thailand—the first study to demonstrate that a vaccine can protect people from HIV infection. The HVTN 100 vaccine regimen was designed to provide greater protection than the RV144 regimen and has been adapted to the HIV subtype that predominates in southern Africa. The results of the HVTN 100 trial, expected in two years, will help determine whether or not this vaccine regimen will be tested for efficacy in a large future study in South Africa.

“A safe and effective HIV vaccine is essential to reach a timely, sustained end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. “The launch of HVTN 100 marks an important step forward in building upon the promising results of the RV144 trial to produce an HIV vaccine that could have a significant public health impact in southern Africa, where the HIV/AIDS pandemic is most pervasive.”

So Barton was not only wrong to mislead Charis Bible College students by using one study to claim something false about another study, he failed to tell them that progress is being made currently toward the creation of a vaccine. Who will reeducate them? They are now ill-equipped to discuss these issues intelligently with their congregations. It is hard to calculate how many people they will mislead as a result.

David Barton Mixes Up Studies in Effort to Prove His Views on HIV

As Right Wing Watch pointed out earlier today, David Barton recently told Charis Bible College that he believes scientists will never find a vaccine for HIV because Romans 1:27 tells him that a vaccine would take away the penalty for homosexuality.
The video clip at RWW stops before Barton told the audience he almost had to declare himself wrong because news reports declared that a vaccine had been found. Below watch Barton talk a little longer about why he thinks he is correct.

At about 2 minutes into this clip, Barton said he might be wrong because of a 2009 article in Popular Science with the headline: “For the First Time Ever, An HIV Vaccine Shows Success in Trial.” This was taken from the New York Times and is a report about the RV 144 vaccine trials, also known as the “Thai Trials” because the six-year study was conducted in Thailand. According to the NIH News, the trials began in 2003 and demonstrated safety and modest effectiveness. Barton implies that this trial was halted; it was not.
In the video, Barton first showed the Popular Science headline and then said:

The headlines came out and said, for the first time ever an HIV vaccine shows success in trial. Oh my gosh, I guess there is, I guess I must have misinterpreted the Bible, cause the Bible’s true, and then six weeks later, they came out with this that says, NIH halts trial of HIV vaccine after it fails to work. The newspaper said it worked but none of the medical evidence said that it worked. So they still don’t have a cure.

The problem with Barton’s presentation is that the second headline didn’t come out “six weeks later.” Rather it came out four years later in 2013 and was about an entirely different attempt to create a vaccine.
The Yahoo News article Barton referred to (the second headline) is only available via Internet Archives and is dated April 26, 2013. The Yahoo article linked to the NIH announcement that the HVTN 505 clinical trial had been halted. The HVTN 505 trial results had nothing to do with the earlier success of RV 144. The RV 144 trial was reported in 2009, the same year that the HVTN 505 started. The NIH has more on the HVTN 505 trial on the NIH website.
Barton got the time frame wrong and made it appear that the two headlines were related to each other.

ORU Icon Contradicts David Barton's Basketball Stories

oru_logoLast week, I posted a statement from Oral Roberts University contradicting David Barton’s claim that he played basketball for ORU during record-setting seasons in the 1970s.
A reader suggested that I contact E. Glenn Smith, head trainer and icon at ORU, for more information on how the record-setting basketball teams of the early 1970s trained. Smith joined ORU as head trainer and director of sports medicine in 1972 and worked with the baseball and basketball teams during his long and distinguished career there. I supplied Smith with the following description of basketball training Barton provided to the Charis Bible School audience. Barton, a 1976 graduate of ORU, said:

I remember when I was playing basketball, the college stuff that we did. We started every day with a five mile run, then we lifted weights, then we had an hour of racquetball, then we had two hours of full-court basketball, then we came back for another run. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable, but in those years, our college team set the NCAA record for two years in a row for most points scored. We averaged 105, 104, 103 points a game, I forget what it was. But you had to run a lot, it wasn’t a lot of fun, but you get the results.

I then asked Smith if this routine sounded “like the type of practices and training Ken Trickey or the coach after him ran.” Smith wrote back immediately and said simply:

Trick [ORU coach Ken Trickey] ran the loosest practices ever!  They were nothing but Run and Gun Scrimmages for the entire practice!!  Smitty

In a subsequent email, it was obvious Smith did not know who Barton was and he wondered if perhaps Barton attended before Smith joined the school in 1972.
I followed up by asking if Ken Trickey’s replacement, Jerry Hale, ran loose practices or ever required players to play racquetball. Smith replied that Hale was more organized but did not include racquetball as a part of the training routine.
After this exchange, it appears to me that nothing David Barton said about playing basketball at ORU is accurate. First, Barton said he played for the record-setting team. This claim was denied by the athletic department at ORU. Then Barton went into great detail about the training routine which he said led to record-setting results. However, according to the trainer who was there, the practices were not as Barton described.
Barton isn’t the first celebrity to misremember, make up or exaggerate sports prowess.
ESPN basketball analyst Skip Bayless greatly exaggerated his role on his high school basketball team which led to several media stories and a public confrontation from ESPN co-host Jalen Rose. Bayless’ sports career inflation made number 40 on the 50 biggest sports lies put together by the Bleacher Report.
When it was alleged that Republican Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner lied about his role on his high school football team, the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple thought it was important enough to check out. It turned out that Gardner played a little football but perhaps not as much as he implied. However, the story didn’t hurt him; he unseated Mark Udall in last year’s Senate race.
Apparently, truthfulness about past sports involvement matters to conservatives when the politician is a liberal as in the case of V.P. Joe Biden’s short-lived football career. Several conservative news outlets accused Biden of lying about playing football at the University of Delaware. He did play but didn’t play in a victory over the Ohio University Bobcats as Biden claimed.
Paul Ryan misremembered his marathon time which brought lots of media attention. He was running for V.P. at the time.
Back in 2001, George O’Leary resigned after 5 days on the job as football coach at Notre Dame because he made up aspects of his football and academic accomplishments. That was number 2 on the Bleacher Report top 50.
So far Christian media have ignored the story.
The significance of these gaffes is that Barton has similar problems when it comes to history and the Constitution. For instance, Barton claims that the Constitution quotes the Bible verbatim. Everybody knows that is not true. Even if one believes that the Bible had some influence on the writers of the document, the Constitution doesn’t do what Barton claims.