Ben Carson Accepts Ted Cruz's Apology for Spreading Rumors but Calls on Cruz to End Dirty Tricks

Earlier today I wrote about accusations from Ben Carson that Ted Cruz’s national co-chair Steve King misled caucus goers about the status of Ben Carson’s campaign. King tweeted prior to the start of the caucus that Carson appeared to be dropping out. In fact, Carson did not drop out and believes that the message from King and others in the Cruz camp compromised his Iowa results.
Today, Cruz issued an apology but did not mention any consequences to staffers who misled voters. I have seen nothing from Marco Rubio’s camp.
In response to an email, this just came from the Ben Carson campaign:

Ben Carson for President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
February 2, 2016
Statement on Behalf of Dr. Ben Carson re: Senator Cruz’s Apology for                                                Campaign Caucus Tactics

Alexandria, Virginia — February 2, 2016 – “Dr. Carson has accepted Senator Cruz’s apology issued earlier this afternoon,” said A. Larry Ross, Communications Director for Ben Carson for President 2016. “These ‘dirty tricks’ political tactics are part of the reason Dr. Carson got into this race and reflect the ‘Washington values’ of win at all cost — regardless of the damage to the country — which he is trying to change. This incident further demonstrates that we need an individual who is not a politician to lead and to heal our nation, not someone driven by ambition.

“Dr. Carson will continue to work tirelessly toward reforming the system, restoring faith in the integrity of the electoral process and giving government back to ‘We the People.’ He invites Senator Cruz and all of the candidates who profess to reject politics as usual to join him in conducting a race worthy of American ideals and respectful of the American people. He is looking forward to continuing his campaign in New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond.”
 A. Larry Ross
###

Cruz and Rubio Campaigns Accused of Telling Iowa Voters Before the Caucus that Ben Carson Dropped Out (UPDATED)

UPDATE 2/3/16: The source of the story that Marco Rubio’s campaign told caucus goers that Ben Carson dropped out of the caucus now says his tweet was a mistake and based on other tweets he saw the night of the caucus. See information at the end of this post.
………………………..
This morning Ben Carson is calling on Ted Cruz to fire any staffers who told Iowa voters that Carson dropped out of the campaign.
Carson announced Monday that he was going to Florida after the caucuses but later clarified that he needed to go home for fresh clothes and was not dropping out.
According to tweets posted on Monday night, the rumor quickly circulated that Carson was suspending his campaign. Some of those tweets pointed to unnamed persons within the Cruz and Rubio campaigns as pushing the story that Carson was ending his campaign.
This tweet points to Cruz’s campaign:


Mr. Locker later told me via twitter that Steve King, Cruz’s national co-chair, was tweeting about Carson dropping out before the caucus event started.
Here is that tweet:


Another tweet points to Rubio’s campaign:


(Conrad Close has now deleted this tweet and said it was a mistake. Please see the updates below).
RubioCampCarsonOut
It is unclear whether or not the campaigns knew Carson was going to get clothes or if they simply followed the media reports that Carson might be dropping out.
UPDATE: Cruz apologized to Carson for not relaying a correction to the campaign workers Monday night.
UPDATE: 2/3/16: Now Conrad Close says his tweet was a mistake.


I am unclear what Mr. Close saw on twitter which would have led him to believe Rubio’s campaign was running with the “Carson drops out” story.

Politico's Story About Ben Carson's West Point Claims Ignite Allegations of Media Bias

UPDATE: Earlier I titled this post, “Ben Carson Admits Fabrication in Bio.” I have changed the title because Carson now says he didn’t admit a fabrication. Politico has now changed their title to reflect the specific nature of the claims regarding a “full scholarship” to West Point.
I have significantly updated my post to address criticisms in the comments section.
————–
According to Politico, on more than one occasion, Ben Carson claimed he was offered a full scholarship to West Point. Politico has evidence that he was not offered a full scholarship in an official manner and never even sought admission there.
Carson and others are accusing Politico of biased reporting against Carson. According to Politico, Carson told Bill O’Reilly that perhaps he could have been clearer in his descriptions.
I agree. Here is the section from the 2008 book, Gifted Hands.
CarsonWestPoint
 
It appears Carson brought together two events (the Memorial Day parade and a later dinner where Medal of Honor winners were present) in his book (see the Politico article for their fact checking on that aspect of the story). Carson says he met with Westmoreland and then “later” was offered a “full scholarship to West Point.” The use of the word “later” makes it seem that West Point actually offered him something. As the story is being told now, Carson was encouraged to apply because his chances of getting in were good. This, however, is not the same as the offer of a full scholarship. To have such an offer, a young person much be recommended and apply. Perhaps Carson didn’t understand the difference between being a good candidate for application and being officially offered a slot at West Point (as his book says).
On analysis, this isn’t as serious as Brian Williams or David Barton. However, I am surprised that Carson didn’t know the difference between being a worthy applicant for West Point and getting an official invitation to attend. It is possible that there was an intent to embellish the story but it is also possible that Carson didn’t understand the difference between informal encouragement and a formal scholarship offer. People who support him will probably lean toward the latter possibility and people who don’t might go for the embellishment narrative.
UPDATE – The Wall Street Journal raises even more questions about Carson’s descriptions of his own history.
 

Anti-Defamation League Condemns Ben Carson's Statements About a Muslim Running for President

This morning the Jewish Anti-Defamation League issued a condemnation of Donald Trumps inaction and Ben Carson’s actions. Sunday on Meet the Press, Carson said he could not accept a Muslim president. This morning, his spokesman Armstrong Williams categorized Muslims as believing in killing Jews and gays. The ADL posted:

ADL Troubled by Comments of GOP Hopefuls, Including Ben Carson, Suggesting a Muslim Should Not Be President

New York, NY, September 21, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is deeply troubled by recent remarks by presidential candidates suggesting that being a Muslim is incompatible with serving as president of the United States. The League called on all presidential candidates to avoid stereotyping American Muslims during the campaign.

Speaking on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson stated that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”  This troubling remark came on the heels of Donald Trump failing to stand up to an anti-Muslim bigot at a campaign rally.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Donald Trump’s failure to stand up to an anti-Muslim bigot at a campaign rally who questioned whether President Obama was a Muslim, as well as the various troubling comments by the candidates about a Muslim’s fitness to serve as president, are deeply troubling. Dr. Ben Carson’s statement that a Muslim American should not serve as president is deeply offensive, un-American and contrary to the Constitution. There is no religious litmus test for candidates seeking political office, and that includes the highest office in the land.

The U.S. Constitution makes clear that any American citizen can run for president provided that he or she is a natural born citizen, age 35 or older, and resided for at least 14 years within the U.S. Indeed, Article VI of the Constitution states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Dr. Carson’s statement directly contradicts the Constitution and the values embodied in it. In America, personal characteristics — whether race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion – should have no bearing on person’s ability to serve. Rather, fitness to serve should be based on the individual’s merit: intellect, ethics, experience and achievements.

As the campaign season advances, we urge all presidential candidates to avoid innuendo and stereotyping of all sorts, including against people based on their faith, particularly American Muslims and, instead, to confront all forms of prejudice and bigotry. Remarks suggesting that all Muslims follow extremist interpretations of Islam have no basis in fact and fuel bigotry.  Whether directed against Jews, Muslims or others, such baseless comments breed hate and have no place in a presidential campaign or in public discourse.

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, ADL takes no position on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for office.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Ben Carson's Business Manager on a Muslim in the White House: "Not an issue of religion, it is an issue of one's belief system."

According to Politico, Ben Carson’s business manager Armstrong Williams told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota this morning that Carson’s rejection of the possibility of a Muslim president was “not an issue of religion, it is an issue of one’s belief system, of how they will govern.” 
Someone needs to tell Carson that religions and beliefs systems have a lot in common. Whatever one calls one’s belief system, the Constitution forbids a religious test. Carson is making this unnecessarily difficult.
Carson said there are tenets of Islam which sanction the killing of gays and Jews. Does he not realize what Leviticus says? Is he unaware that some Christian movements have advocated hatred toward Jews?
Carson and his handlers are stereotyping Muslims and displaying group-serving bias regarding Christianity.  One knows the diversity of a social group to which one belongs much better than to an out group. Carson has lumped all Muslims into his stereotyped view of Islam while ignoring similar elements within his own religion.
 

Ben Carson's Muslim President Comments and the 1788 Debate in North Carolina Over Ratification of the Constitution

So Ben Carson said he wouldn’t support a Muslim for President and Islam is inconsistent with the Constitution. Watch:

Then he said he might vote for a Muslim for Congress.
This was such an easy question that I am surprised Carson botched it up.  Even if you personally would not vote for a Muslim, the Constitution prohibits a religious test so it doesn’t matter what Ben Carson’s opinion is. All I can figure is he wanted to bounce with anti-Muslim sentiment.
The issue of a Muslim (Mahometan) president came up during the North Carolina Debates over ratification of the Constitution in 1788 (to read it all keep clicking the next image). The defenders of the Constitution indicated that religious liberty would not prevent a Muslim from running. Being elected however, is another matter, and according to one delegate would require a major change in public sentiment.
Speaker James Iredell, appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington in 1790, answered worries that a pagan or Mahometan might gain office:

But it is objected that the people of America may, perhaps, choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mahometans may be admitted into offices. But how is it possible to exclude any set of men, without taking away that principle of religious freedom which we ourselves so warmly contend for? This is the foundation on which persecution has been raised in every part of the world. The people in power were always right, and every body else wrong. If you admit the least difference, the door to persecution is opened. Nor would it answer the purpose, for the worst part of the excluded sects would comply with the test, and the best men only be kept out of our counsels. But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own. It would be happy for mankind if religion was permitted to take its own course, and maintain itself by the excellence of its own doctrines. The divine Author of our religion never wished for its support by worldly authority. Has he not said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it? It made much greater progress for itself, than when supported by the greatest authority upon earth.

He added later:

It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans, pagans, &c., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President, or other high office, but in one of two cases. First, if the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves. Another case is, if any persons of such descriptions should, notwithstanding their religion, acquire the confidence and esteem of the people of America by their good conduct and practice of virtue, they may be chosen. I leave it to gentlemen’s candor to judge what probability there is of the people’s choosing men of different sentiments from themselves.

Iredell saw that the Constitution does not require Christianity to be the national religion. A president of a non-majority religion might be elected if voters become less Christian or because an individual of a minority religion displays trustworthy character.
In any case, Iredell made it clear that Christianity ought not depend on the support of Constitution or any other worldly authority.
Carson’s later came out and said he didn’t oppose a Muslim running for office if the candidate rejected Sharia law.
The next question to ask Carson is if the Constitution is flawed since it forbids a religious test.

Ben Carson Apologizes for Saying Being Gay is a Choice (Full Statement)

On his Facebook page, probable GOP presidential contender Ben Carson apologized for his comments that being gay is a choice.

In a recent interview on CNN, I realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues.

I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.

I’m a doctor trained in multiple fields of medicine, who was blessed to work at perhaps the finest institution of medical knowledge in the world. Some of our brightest minds have looked at this debate, and up until this point there have been no definitive studies that people are born into a specific sexuality. We do know, however, that we are always born male and female. And I know that we are all made in God’s image, which means we are all deserving of respect and dignity.

I support human rights and Constitutional protections for gay people, and I have done so for many years. I support civil unions for gay couples, and I have done so for many years. I support the right of individual states to sanction gay marriage, and I support the right of individual states to deny gay marriage in their respective jurisdictions.
I also think that marriage is a religious institution. Religious marriage is an oath before God and congregation. Religious marriage must only be governed by the church. Judges and government must not be allowed to restrict religious beliefs.
I am not a politician and I answered a question without really thinking about it thoroughly. No excuses. I deeply regret my statement and I promise you, on this journey, I may err again, but unlike politicians when I make an error I will take full responsibility and never hide or parse words. As a human being my obligation is to learn from my mistakes and to treat all people with respect and dignity.

He pretended to know that being gay was “absolutely” a choice earlier today. Now he doesn’t pretend to know how it happens. What a difference less than a day makes.
Just a bit ago, Alan Chambers contested Carson’s remarks on this blog.
Bryan Fischer’s wish didn’t last a day:


I’d say he retreated more than an inch.
Carson had a hard time choosing (see what I did there) what message to go with. First, he confidently said being gay was a choice. Then he told Sean Hannity in the afternoon that the “liberal media” wasn’t treating him fairly. Carson even said he wasn’t going to talk about gay issues anymore. At that point, with Hannity, there was no apology. Then later, as I noted in this post, he was talking about gay issues again with his apology.

Former President of Exodus International Says Being Gay is Not a Choice

Exodus International was once the largest ex-gay evangelical organization in the nation. However, after rejecting reparative therapy, Exodus closed operations in 2013. I asked former president of Exodus Alan Chambers about his reaction to Ben Carson’s comments that being gay is a choice. His reply:

Any behavior is a choice. Sexual orientation, however, is not a choice. In 20+ years of working w/ gay and lesbian people I’ve never met one person who chose to be gay. At 43 years old, though faithfully and happily married to my wife for over 17 years and completely attracted to her, my own same-sex attractions have not diminished. Claiming orientation is a choice is archaic and causes great shame for the beautiful men, women, youth, and families who live this reality. 

Over the years, I have met many same-sex attracted people, but none of them said they chose their feelings, even those who said they had changed those feelings to some degree.

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.

An Apologetics Conference That Should Apologize

To my way of thinking, this (click link) is an incoherent lineup for an apologetics conference. I don’t know all of the speakers but  Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet seem out of place with David Barton, Todd Starnes, Tim Wildmon, and Ray Moore. Put on by Alex McFarland, the Truth for a New Generation conference to be held September 5-6 should issue a disclaimer that attendance will be hazardous to your intellectual health.
The Colson Center has a place in the program. One can find content from Stonestreet and the Center which correctly oppose Barton’s revisionist history. However, at this conference, Barton is labeled an “historical expert.” Words truly have no meaning in this alternative reality.
People who attend these meetings may get some good and accurate information in some of the sessions. However, on balance, those who attend will be less able to defend Christianity. This is one of the great tragedies of revisionist history. People come away thinking they have information to defend their faith but they are actually set up to fail. Those outside of this parallel universe know better and use the false information as a reason to dismiss the redemptive message of Christianity.