An unexpected coupling

Setheesh Moturi


What happens when religion and politics mix?

Ben Carson is our best example. The openly Adventist candidate, who many in our church were hoping would win by the grace of God, dropped out of the presidential race on March 4. In his resignation speech, he informed his supporters he would “continue to be heavily involved in trying to save our nation.”

The phrase “save our nation” brings many actions to mind—tackling pay inequality, breaking down discriminatory judicial systems, perhaps even re-structuring America’s budget, if one were so ambitious. Certainly, the last thing on many lists of this nature would be supporting Donald Trump.

Yet, in another move almost as unclear as his candidacy, Carson has officially endorsed Trump. For those lacking context on this unlikely pairing, Trump’s public defaming of Carson as a child molester is what makes this coupling all the more confusing.

Carson and Trump would later reconcile, chalking these comments up to “political stuff.” This exchange itself really ought to have been enough to deter Carson from wanting to have anything to do with the Trump campaign. And yet here we are.

Carson is the only candidate who, based on the actions of Trump’s supporters, wouldn’t be welcome to the mission of the Trump agenda. It’s rare that I bring race into an issue where it doesn’t belong.

However, it seems remiss of Carson to support a candidate who, if not himself racist, is the advocate of a largely racist support base.

Unfortunately, Trump is Carson’s best bet for a ticket to the White House. In an interview with Newsmax, Carson said though he liked other candidates, he “didn’t see a path” for them to make it into the primaries and ultimately Washington. He also implied there were other specific candidates he was hoping to have partnered with.

When Carson first became viral in 2013 via his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, I was interested in his views, but never saw him as more than a valuable cabinet-member. The Adventist perspective is and can be valuable in politics. Foreign policy, education and regulation of the FDA are a few issues that Adventists are familiar to dealing with based on the tenets of the church.

Carson began his campaign saying he only ran because his numerous supporters were begging him. He was adamant a presidency was never on his bucket list. The legitimacy of these claims is not in question, but rather his sudden interest in an area in which he clearly assured he had none.

When asked about his intentions, Carson responded with open-ended vague phrases. Recently he spoke on whether or not Trump offered him a vice presidential position by saying details are still “very liquid” without disclosing any specifics.

Though we’re not a church known for open dialogues according to many of own youth, Carson provided a hope that Adventism, fallible as it is, would be able to voice something relevant in recent world history. With his recent and unexpected interest in White House residency, even at the expense of supporting Trump, our hopes have been dashed.

Setheesh is a sophomore mathematics and religious education major.