Entering last week's second GOP presidential debate, West Palm Beach's own Ben Carson was making serious headway. According to a CNN poll, Carson had surged ahead of fellow Florida and once-favored candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, shooting into second place behind current frontrunner Donald Trump. Following the first debate, Carson shot to second place with 23 percentage points in CNN's polling, just four points behind Trump and 17 points ahead of Bush. A more recent poll shows Trump losing ground on Carson with evangelicals.
But in recent days, Carson has made headlines with some dubious comments — something we down here in South Florida have become accustomed to.
Most recently, Carson said in a Meet the Press interview that he would not agree with the country voting a Muslim into the office of the president.
Then, on Monday, Carson took to Facebook to say that he could never support a presidential candidate who was Muslim — unless that candidate stopped being Muslim.
"I could never support a candidate for President of the United States that was Muslim and had not renounced the central tenant of Islam: Sharia Law," Carson wrote. "I know that there are many peaceful Muslims who do not adhere to these beliefs. But until these tenants are fully renounced... I cannot advocate any Muslim candidate for President."
On Tuesday, Buzzfeed uncovered a speech given by Carson in 2012 in which he called the Big Bang Theory part of the fairy tales created by scientists and said Darwin's theory of evolution was "encouraged" by the devil.
“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary, and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct,” Carson told an audience of Seventh Day Adventists.
The speech, titled "Celebration of Creation," also includes Carson calling scientists "highfalutin" and the Big Bang "ridiculous."
“Well, I mean, it’s even more ridiculous than that ’cause our solar system, not to mention the universe outside of that, is extraordinarily well organized, to the point where we can predict 70 years away when a comet is coming,” he says during the speech. “Now that type of organization to just come out of an explosion? I mean, you want to talk about fairy tales, that is amazing.”
Carson, who has always been outspoken about his views on creationism, is no stranger to bombastic viewpoints and opinions.
Here are examples of some other controversial comments Carson has made in the past:
- In 2013 at the Values Voter Summit, Carson told the crowd that Obamacare was "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery."
- Also in 2013, Carson compared same-sex marriage to bestiality. On Fox News' Sean Hannity's show, Carson told the pundit and talk-show host, "My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society, and no group — be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality — it doesn’t matter what they are — they don’t get to change the definition."
- Back in March of this year, Carson said that his proof that homosexuality is a choice was prison rape.
"Absolutely," he says when asked if being gay is a choice. "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."
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- In 2014, Carson compared living in America to Nazi Germany. "I mean, [our society is] very much like Nazi Germany. 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."
- Earlier this year, a GQ profile on Carson included the GOP candidate calling Obama a "psychopath."
"Like most psychopaths," Carson says referring to Obama looking sharp for a State of the Union Address, "that’s why they’re successful. That’s the way they look. They all look great."
You can read Carson's Facebook comments on his disapproval of a Muslim president in full below.