Ben Carson was unaware that the gay community considers it "particularly abhorrent" to be compared to practitioners of bestiality before the firestorm of criticism that came when he linked the two on national television, the Fox News contributor explains in his forthcoming book.
Carson, a famed Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, became a rising conservative media star after criticizing Obamacare during a speech attended by President Obama at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. But his reputation took a hit when he compared marriage equality advocates to supporters of bestiality and pedophilia in a March 2013 Fox News appearance, saying, "Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition. So, it's not something against gays. It's against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications."
Carson was harshly criticized for his comments, including by LGBT students at the Johns Hopkins medical institutions. Carson apologized "if anybody was offended" on MSNBC, then called his critics "racist" on conservative talk radio. After more than half of the graduating class at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine called for his replacement as commencement speaker, he agreed to step down.
In his new book, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America's Future, Carson lashes out at the "secular progressives" he claims twisted his words, as well as the "gay activists" at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who he says acted as "instigators, accusing me of being a homophobe." He concludes by saying that it was only when he spoke to "prominent members of the gay community at Johns Hopkins" before withdrawing as commencement speaker that he learned that they find bestiality comparisons "particularly abhorrent":
Prior to my decision to withdraw as commencement speaker, I spoke to some prominent members of the gay community at Johns Hopkins. In doing so I found out two important things: First, bestiality is particularly abhorrent in the gay community and the mention of it evokes a very emotional response. Had I known that, I would have avoided the topic, since the last thing I wanted to do was to cause unnecessary offense and distract from the matters at hand. [Page 19]
Elsewhere in One Nation, Carson puts anti-gay bigots on the same level as those who harshly criticize such bigotry. He writes that "there has been a long and shameful history of gay bashing in America that thankfully is waning" and that "this bigotry can still be seen in the assumption by many on the Right that gays should not have access to children because they are more likely to commit rape or engage in aberrant sexual indoctrination." He then comments that "the mantle of hatred has been taken up by the other side, which feels that hateful speech and actions toward anyone who doesn't embrace the gay agenda is justified."
In his 2012 book America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, Carson warned that attempts to "redefine marriage" could cause a "disastrous ending" for America similar to the fall of the Roman Empire. "I believe God loves homosexuals as much as he loves everyone," he wrote, "but if we can redefine marriage as between two men or two women or any other way based on social pressures as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish, which is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire."