10-2-2015 12-49-13 PMDr. Ben Carson has been one of my heroes for decades. I first became aware of him prior to 1987, before he performed the first legendary and landmark surgery on twins who were joined at the head. I was impressed by his faith, his unshakable belief in the American dream, and the fact that the man had learned to be content knowing that his hands are small, when the sports world says you have to be able to palm a basketball. Ben is content knowing that his “gifted hands” and the grace of God make it possible for him to get in there and do what he does, and he has made history more than once. He has said and lived the following: “Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams.” 10-2-2015 12-49-34 PM His story is Hall of Fame kind of stuff, having been raised in Detroit by a single mom who insisted on drawing forth his greatness. She did not take any excuses, nor any prisoners, and the story of the Carsons was wonderfully portrayed in a 2009 film starring Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Kimberly Elise entitled Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. When I heard that Ben Carson had decided to run for President, I was thrilled. After all, any guy who can assemble a team of over 25 surgeons and support staff, work for 24 hours straight to separate not one, but several sets of babies joined at the head, and have them thrive, ought to be able to handle the House and Senate of the United States, and maybe even the Supreme Court! I still remain thrilled that he is in the race, even though I would like it if he were stronger when it comes to the 2nd Amendment, but that is a topic for another day. He is refreshingly not a part of the Washington DC political scene, and so far I don’t think he can be bought. He has solutions that are fiscally sound, and he wants to restore America to Americans, all of them, irrespective of their color. So, why do some folks believe that he “deserves a special place in hell?” Because he exercised his 1st Amendment right to express himself, and stand up for his religious beliefs, which is what believers of all kinds do. Listen, if you are a Baptist, you are going to think you are right. If you are a Buddhist, you are going to think you are right. If you belong to the Church of Christ, you are going to think you are right. If you are Jewish, you are going to think you are right, and if you are an atheist, you are going to think you are right. That is what makes Americans be Americans, and most of the time, there is at least one good reason for why people think what they think. It is also completely American to voice disagreements over all kinds of things. The late Dan Williams told a story about his childhood at the Storytelling Festival Amateur Night. He described what it was like to watch men dressed in their Sunday-go-to-meetin’ best verbally duking it out for hours on Saturday afternoons on the Courthouse steps in sizzling summer heat. The topic? Whether or not a person can go to heaven without being baptized. This is America, and this is what we do. So, what has earned Ben “a special place in hell?” He dared suggest that Shariah law doesn’t square with the Constitution, nor does jihad, and that anyone who firmly subscribes to those two intimately related sets of beliefs may have a tough time doing their presidential duty of protecting and defending our Founders’ dream. Sounds like common sense to me, and may God bless Ben for having the courage to say so. 10-2-2015 12-49-45 PM

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