FFRF urges Ben Carson scrutiny about his zealotry

1Ben Carson by Skidmore with lighting correctionThe Senate needs to closely scrutinize Dr. Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development secretary nominee, on how his zealotry might affect his leadership.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is requesting that the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs query Carson closely at his confirmation hearing on Jan. 12 about his religious bias possibly interfering with his supervision of HUD. FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor have written a letter to the members of the committee with questions to ask the intensely devout former neurosurgeon and presidential candidate who is looking to take charge of the nation’s public housing sector.

Carson has previously stated: “The First Amendment . . . guarantees the freedom of religion. It says nothing about freedom from religion.” He has also said he would “not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

But HUD’s mission is to help citizens of all or no religious faiths, and it is barred from funding activities involving worship, religious instruction or proselytization. FFRF, a state/church watchdog, often is requested to advocate for HUD recipients who’ve had religion imposed on them.

Carson should be asked: “Will you commit to HUD serving all American equally and without discrimination, regardless of their religion or lack thereof?”

Carson has also termed the Big Bang theory to be a “ridiculous” idea put forth by “highfalutin scientists,” and has even called evolution the work of the devil. Given his rejection of scientific ideas that conflict with his religious beliefs, Carson should be quizzed about whether he will listen to experts “even if their conclusions differ from your religious values.”

Carson claims there is “no conflict” between “God’s law” and the laws of the United States. FFRF advises the committee to therefore inquire: “If there is a conflict between the law and your religion, for instance, if your office were required to extend housing to a gay couple, would you be able to uphold the law?”

Finally, Barker and Gaylor raise concern over religious exemptions from neutral zoning ordinances. Carson should be probed about what he would do to ensure the rules apply equally whether the exemption is for a Christian church or a Muslim mosque.

FFRF represents more than 26,000 nonreligious members nationwide.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via CC 3.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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