Picture of Dr. Ben Carson

SDA POTUS?

Now there’s a thought! Ben Carson, the Seventh-day Adventist pediatric neurosurgeon of Johns Hopkins fame, announced to the world on Monday that he is running for the office of President of the United States (POTUS). At a carefully choreographed campaign kickoff rally in Detroit, Dr. Carson returned to his boyhood home for the media event. His book, Gifted Hands, describes his inner city boyhood providentially turned around by a praying single-parent mother (with a third grade education)—a mother who challenged her son to aspire to his God-given potential. It was the impetus he needed. Carson eventually was graduated from Yale University and the University of Michigan and went on to become globally renowned for his surgical separation of twins conjoined at the head. His political catapult came at the February 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, where—with President Obama sitting beside him on the dais—Carson publicly challenged the President’s health care bill. Heralding his political hutzpah, the movement to elect Ben Carson as POTUS launched with a flourish. And the rest is political history. So what are the political prospects for this Seventh-day Adventist one time local church elder and Sabbath School teacher? Google his name and you’ll find a plethora of prognostications to choose from. While it isn’t the purpose of this blog to handicap Ben Carson’s chances of becoming President of the United States, his announcement this week does provide our community of faith the opportunity to reflect on two realities. First, it will be intriguing to observe the reaction of the press to an active Seventh-day Adventist in personal quest for the nation’s highest office. Huffington Post immediately wrote, “5 Faith Facts about Presidential Candidate Ben Carson,” in which fact #1 states: “He is a twice-baptized Seventh-day Adventist” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/04/ben-carson-faith_n_7206050.html). (Turns out young Ben requested a rebaptism at the age of 12.) Huffington’s other four facts include his practice of praying before surgeries. However, it doesn’t take a degree in political science to anticipate the media and press treatment of Carson’s publicly stated moral stances, including his position on LGBT issues facing the nation. And how will his faith practice be defined and depicted in the press once familiarity breeds its usual “contempt?” Will Ben Carson’s brand of Adventism become a portrait or caricature of the rest of us? We will see soon enough. A second reflection from his candidacy is the matter of Seventh-day Adventists in political public office. The often heralded stories of Joseph, Esther and Daniel (and perhaps even Moses)—whose belief in God remained firm in spite of their political offices—are commendable examples of believers in “high places.” What is often overlooked, however, is that none of these campaigned or ran for high office—all were appointed by a monarch. Does that preclude Adventists running for political office? Should the Seventh-day Adventist Church align its support with a particular candidate, especially an Adventist one? Anticipating Ben Carson’s run for the presidency, the North American Division of S.D.A. this week released a statement of guidelines that includes the following: “While individual church members are free to support or oppose any candidate for office as they see fit, it is crucial that the Church as an institution remain neutral on all candidates for office.  Care should be taken that the pulpit and all church property remain a neutral space when it comes to elections. Church employees must also exercise extreme care not to express views in their denominational capacity about any candidate for office, including Dr. Carson” (NAD/Michigan Conference email 5-4-15). Perhaps the most proactive stance for our community of faith is the practice enjoined by the Apostle: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Then let us pray for the POTUS Barack Obama and for all our political leaders, along with those who campaign to replace him one day, including our own Dr. Ben Carson.

Comments

Dwight, Thank you for your perspective on Ben Carson running for office. I would like to comment on your observation that the Biblical examples of those in high office were appointed not elected. That is obvious because there were not political elections at that time. However, there are several examples of God's followers actively pursuing political office. The best example is David. He performed a coup in order to become King. Yes, the Lord had anointed him through Samuel to become king, but he did not just sit back and wait. He aggressively recruited followers and an army. This is the closest example to aspiring to political office as we have in today's world. There are others as well such as Jehoida appointing Joash to be king. The best example to your point, I believe, is Jesus Himself. Although Jesus was very "political" by challenging the establishment, he did not use his influence for political gain for Himself or his followers. His kingdom was not of this world. However, to infer that this is a theme that applies throughout the Bible is, I believe, not necessarily supported by the evidence.

May God's will be done!

May God's will be done!

An excellent summary of the challenges and opportunities presented by having an Adventist run for public office. I am pleased that the church continues its principled stand of not picking candidates or taking sides in political contests. This has many benefits, including not getting people to become church members in order to gain the church's blessing in a political contest.

First, I am a Volunteer for Dr. Ben Carson's Candidacy for president and a S.D.A. member. Usually I am apolitical in nature and do not involve in the political aspects of our country. However, I volunteered as a member God's family in Christ. Rarely does an opportunity arise where people can make a difference from the political nature found in our country. Dr. Carson has taken a courageous leap with his faith representing the Christian character within the vile area of politics. It affects every person in our world from this perspective. If nothing more is accomplished than making people aware of our church message through his effort, than mission is accomplished. Dr. Carson is leading out, based on the truthful constructs found in our free country since its early beginning. Freedom of religion and having a free choice for everyone's pursuit towards eternal happiness. Recognition of God's prophecy is given to man concerning the world's final conclusion in God's holy book. "Christ is coming soon", has driven Dr. Carson towards a point where he wants to make difference for those willing to listen, and those who are seeking a solution in their own lives. He is running for president as an Seventh-day Adventist Christian first, and only for the reason of making it known the corruption of politics has brought us all on the threshold of the coming of Christ. His love for humanity has made him want to give people a last opportunity for our nation and this world, since it is failing. Just as it is found in biblical prophecy. He wants to make a difference even for one person by running for president, and for the many if he becomes president. He is doing this In one last great effort before the Lord our Savior is coming soon for those who love Christ and keep his commands. Never before has someone who holds the biblical truth in his heart, as we have understand, run for President of this last days nation. Dr Carson knows, win or loose, Christ is coming again for all of who give their hearts and minds to our lord and savior. He is making a way for those who will listen and understand this opportunity for nation's people becoming a part of the family of God.

I respect Dr. Carson, he means well. As most Americans I think he is totally sick of what is happening in our country, and wishes he could help. I think the time for that is past. As a Christian in today's world I don't thing he should get into a place that a long ago changed the rules of the game. No Christian today can be president. It seems as though the bureaucracy of today only wants unscrupulous individuals that don't step on their toes. They killed Abe Lincoln long ago for being such a person, good, kind, fair, and honest. I don't think a Christian can enter into that arena now. I feel that it is one of the ways the devil uses to distract us from getting ready for Jesus to come. We must now keep our eye on that ball, only. As much as we all hope for something better in this world, it is not. The hour is late, and we must get ready for our Lord and savior to return. Ingrid Akers

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