It’s clear that CNN “New Day” co-anchor Chris Cuomo had prepared for his interview with Ben Carson, the noted former neurosurgeon and likely 2016 presidential candidate. He asked about the Islamic State, he researched a long-ago opinion of Carson’s regarding health care and he pushed him on negotiations with Iran. Yet he couldn’t possibly have foreseen the out-of-nowhere remark that Carson made regarding sexual orientation.
In a back-and-forth about same-sex marriage, Cuomo noted that federal courts were applying equal-protection rationales to extend marriage to gay couples around the country. Carson made clear his opposition to the trend, saying that the matter should be settled state by state “because the judicial system at the state level has to answer to the people.” But what if the people of the states approve a measure that enforces the tyranny of the majority over an oppressed minority, as happened with slavery, asked Cuomo. Here we pick up the transcript:
CARSON: No. You can’t just say because it happened that way this time, this is the same situation. It’s not the same situation.
CUOMO: Why not?
CARSON: Because people have no control over their race, for instance.
CUOMO: You think they have control over their sexuality?
CUOMO: You think being gay is a choice?
CUOMO: Why do you say that?
CARSON: Because a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there?
Certainly a lot of things happened while they were in there. Yet the dynamic is scarcely what Carson purports here. When Carson pressed Cuomo to deny the straight-gay prison conversion, Cuomo responded, “I am not denying that that’s true, but I am denying that that’s a basis of understanding homosexuality.” Actually, there are no data to substantiate it, according to one expert.
Common sense and the American Psychological Association agree that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” And, of course, Carson was trying to talk about choices in an institution designed to deprive people of choices.
Just yesterday, Carson announced his exploratory committee for a presidential run, meaning that he’s looking to do more outreach. CNN’s competitors would do well to sit down with Carson for further exploration of his unorthodox/simply crazy views, considering they’re so easy to pry out.