Russian President Vladimir Putin recently mocked the West for having “moved away from their roots, including Christian values.” Fox News contributor Ben Carson, a possible presidential aspirant, thinks Putin’s right.
Some may bristle at such an accusation [from Putin], but when you consider that many Americans are hesitant even to mention God or Jesus in public, there may be some validity to his claim. We also casually have tossed out many of the principles espoused in the Bible and have concluded that there’s no authority greater than man himself. […]While we Americans are giving a cold shoulder to our religious heritage, the Russians are warming to religion. The Russians seem to be gaining prestige and influence throughout the world as we are losing ours. I wonder whether there is a correlation.
Putin’s fan club among U.S. conservatives apparently has a new member.
For what it’s worth, it’s not at all clear what in the world Carson is talking about. Indeed, there’s some irony reading Carson’s complaints so soon after President Obama’s speech last week on his personal “embrace” of Jesus Christ as his “Lord and Savior.”
What’s more, it’s curious when some of Putin’s U.S. admirers say Russia’s international reputation is flourishing and the authoritarian president deserves the credit, while other Putin admirers in the U.S. argue Russia’s international reputation is faltering because the authoritarian president is judged unfairly. It can’t be both.
But stepping back, it’s also hard not to notice that Ben Carson’s celebrity status in far-right circles may be misplaced.
Long-time readers may recall that Carson rose to prominence a year ago after an appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast. Though the traditions of the event mandate that speakers avoid partisan attacks or sharply political speeches, Carson used his time at the podium to condemn the Affordable Care Act, with President Obama a few feet away.
To put it mildly, the Republican base was thrilled, and a video of Carson’s speech went viral in right-wing circles, generating over 3 million views on YouTube.
Almost immediately, Carson started appearing on Sean Hannity’s program; Sunday show invitations soon followed from ABC and CNN; and the religious right and the Wall Street Journal editorial page quickly began encouraging the far-right physician to run for president in 2016, despite never having held public office at any level. A Fox News contract soon followed.
When Carson spoke at CPAC last year. he received a standing ovation and enthusiastic applause from the crowd when he speculated what might happen if “you magically put me in the White House.”
But in the months that followed, he kept talking. At one point, Carson equated homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality. Then he started comparing the Affordable Care Act to slavery.
Two weeks ago, Carson drew a parallel between American liberals and Nazis. Soon after, while complaining about the IRS, he insisted, “We live in a Gestapo age. People don’t realize it.”
And now Carson hears Putin mocking the West – and he thinks Putin is right.