Political Talking Points, Ben Carson, Bernie Sanders and the Soft-Headed Fantasies of American Politics

Fra Angelico's 'The Harrowing of Hell': Seventh Day Adventist presidential candidate Ben Carson believes Jesus is coming soon and will personally select the 'saved', while dispatching the sinners once and for all to a fiery doom.

Fra Angelico’s ‘The Harrowing of Hell’: Seventh Day Adventist presidential candidate Ben Carson believes Jesus is coming soon and will personally select the ‘saved’, while dispatching the sinners once and for all to a fiery doom.

by Marque A. Rome

“The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds.” — Ellen G. White in ‘Desire of Ages’

Chalong Bay Blog visitor, contributor and old friend, Jeffrey Haas, commented yesterday on a piece of mine, entitled ‘Donald Trump: The Unanticipated Consequence and Child of 9/11’. Haas castigated America’s right wing for having a ‘Talking Points Factory’ which spews “little right wing bots [that] go rolling down through the news and social media, all parroting the same catch phrases and smiling that little smile that tells you they’ve done their good deed for the day”. (Read the full text here).

He’s certainly got a point: the minds of America’s right-wingers dwell not in their own brains but in a fantasyland of bizarre distortions and simple ignorance that would have shocked even their patron saint, Ronald Reagan.

Now we have this brouhaha over Ben Carson. I haven’t been able to take Carson seriously since the first Republican debate. He said then, in response to a question on foreign policy, that, basically, the US military has people who know the score all around the world and so he’d let them handle foreign policy. He also said something to the effect that water-boarding and similar tortures are okay by him.

Hmm. This is a man whose middle name is ‘Solomon’.

No one else seems to have noticed what he said then (in any event I’ve seen no comments since regarding his really risible confidence in our generals), but now he’s prompting a good deal of sarcasm by suggesting that European Jews might have defended themselves against the totalitarian state had they, as individuals, the same accumulation of pistols, shotguns, Bowie knives, bows and arrows and toy assault rifles typical of US gun nuts. Well…a couple weeks ago he took aim at both Darwin’s Theory and the Big Bang, which, to give him credit, is intellectually a pretty daring thing for a brain surgeon to do.

As for gun ownership protecting the Jews from Nazi totalitarianism: all I can say is, it isn’t protecting Americans from totalitarianism. It is, as I far as I can tell, used by the government as an excuse for spurring it. “We need to know everything about you,” they say, “we need to watch you all the time, to incarcerate you if necessary without charge, to circumscribe your movements, spy on your friends, corrupt your children and control your appliances — all because the second amendment to the Constitution has resulted in too many of the wrong people owning guns.”

That Carson’s catching flack for his position on guns is not surprising. What surprises me is that people are even moved to debate such palpable nonsense. It’s fairly obvious that, with his comment on guns, he’s playing the Holocaust card in hope of squeezing money out of the Jews; in mocking Darwin and the Big Bang, he’s playing up to the Baptists for the same reason — money. His comments on the military and torture were likely intended to mollify the security-military complex, the ‘surveillance state’ as it is frequently called, and spur donations to his campaign therefrom.

I haven’t seen what Carson has to say about banking and finance but I expect, whatever it is, it will be as honey to the ears of potential contributors. So, in his lust for money, the good doctor differs not from your garden-variety career politico. “We’re doing well,” he was quoted saying yesterday by the BBC. “And the more they attack me, the better I do.”

Carson is the latest in what is now a long line, stretching back to Jimmy Carter, of religious nuts running for President. In the last election we were entertained by Mitt Romney, who is a senior leader of the Church Of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). Romney, I suppose, thought the presidency good training before entering on his real, God-given mission — which is, after death, to rule over another planet whose the inhabitants worship him as a god.

How people that crazy reach positions of power and influence in the US is a mystery, but they do.

From left, Ben and wife Candy, son Ben Jr. and wife Merlynne Jayaraman, eldest son Murray and wife Lerone married earlier this year. A third son, Rhoeyce and his wife Lillianah Shabo, who also married this year, are not pictured. The Carsons are all active members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

From left, Ben and wife Candy, son Ben Jr. and wife Merlynne Jayaraman, eldest son Murray and wife Lerone married earlier this year. A third son, Rhoeyce and his wife Lillianah Shabo, who also married this year, are not pictured. The Carsons are all active members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Carson is a devout Seventh Day Adventist, meaning he believes the Second Coming of Jesus is just around the corner, maybe tomorrow; and that He has been busy since 1844 investigating the the lives of Christians, deciding who shall be saved — and who shall be burned alive in a holy conflagration the like of which the world has not seen since the days of Jenghiz Khan and Tamerlane. The Adventists number among several heretical, extremist Christian sects spawned by 19th Century America, when every other fool on the frontier fancied himself a prophet.

The Adventists’ prophet was Ellen G. White, who wrote the ‘Desire of Ages’, a turgid tome of romanticized religion: “‘His name shall be called Immanuel,'” it begins “‘…God with us.’ ‘The light of the knowledge of the glory of God’ is seen ‘in the face of Jesus Christ.’ From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was ‘the image of God,’ the image of His greatness and majesty, ‘the outshining of His glory.’ It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God’s love — to be ‘God with us.’ Therefore it was prophesied of Him, ‘His name shall be called Immanuel.'”

This is not only bad prose it is dubious scholarship. The older books of the Bible exhibit no knowledge of ‘God’s son’. No one seriously called him co-eval or co-equal with the ‘Father’ till the Council of Nicaea, in AD 325, which spawned the Nicene Creed and 300 years of violent religious conflict over the nature of Christ. Some of the bishops in attendance there rightly pointed out that no one — not even God — can have a son who is the same age and of the same identical substance as he.

Ellen White’s strong point clearly was not reasoning. She also wrote, in the same work (which she has been accused of plagiarizing): “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led….”

Right.

Seventh Day Adventists typically don’t drink alcohol, eat meat or dance. They don’t believe in science if it conflicts with their interpretation of the Christian Bible, which is peculiar to them: “In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field.” This is the merest heresy. For those who do not recall, or have never delved into, say, the Book of Genesis, I submit the following therefrom: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Nowhere in Genesis is there mention, or suggestion, of Christ acting as his factotum. So the Adventists are clearly on shaky ground, with regard both to religion and reason — and Carson, by Heaven, is with ’em.

Because its practitioners are compelled to keep uppermost in their minds, and revere as Holy Writ, childish fables, Carson’s is not a faith that conduces to retaining education, which, as a graduate of Yale, he must have received. Consider the following:

“What if on D-Day,” he said, speaking to the National Press Club Friday, “our soldiers, invading the beaches at Normandy, had seen their colleagues being cut down — a hundred bodies laying in the sand, a thousand bodies laying in the sand….” What, I wonder, were they ‘laying’? Eggs? Bricks? After eight years of higher education and a career at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Carson ought to know the difference between ‘lay’ and ‘lie’, but, if ever he did, it’s evidently no longer the case.

On the political left (or the ‘progressive’ side, as its denizens now like to think of themselves), we find the same paucity of honest dealing: Bernie Sanders pushes all the right buttons — he’s the only candidate currently whose statements are worthy of consideration by educated, civilized people; and yet…Sanders, I read, during his tenure as an ‘independent’ senator, as an avowed socialist with no party affiliation, voted with the Democrats 98 percent of the time, in fact, more often than almost any Democratic senator. He must be considered, therefore, as THE Establishment candidate.

What hope have we then that, in the unlikely event this garrulous and feeble-looking septuagenarian is propelled into the Presidency, he will encourage radical change in the status quo?

The same hope we might have that Americans will shed their soft-headedness, and hold those who presume to lead responsible for policies both contrary to reason and inimical to the people’s interests — that is to say, none.

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