Ben Carson’s Resume

Dr. Ben Carson is applying to be the President of the United States. He has acknowledged that his resume for the job is a bit different than what most people have come to expect. But in a post on Facebook, he highlighted the experience he believes qualifies him for the job.

I do not have political experience, I have a life journey. A journey that not only made it possible for me to relate to so many different people, but also one where time and time again I was told I would fail, only to succeed. My candidacy is different, that I grant you…

What I have is a lifetime of caring, integrity and honesty. I have experienced the American Dream.

Of course, now that members of the media are combing through that “life journey” and find that his claim about a lifetime of integrity and honesty doesn’t always stand up, Dr. Carson is pretty angry.

One reporter who has done the legwork of examining that journey by reading five of Dr. Carson’s books is Carlos Lozada. Here is what he learned:

Ben Carson became convinced of two things during his teenage years. First, that he was uniquely talented, “one of the most spectacular and smartest people in the world.” Second, that God would answer his prayers, however specific they might be…

Little has occurred in Carson’s life and career since then to counter those impressions, and much has happened to confirm them. That may help explain why, during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, the retired neurosurgeon has appeared at times indifferent to or uninformed about matters relevant to the office he seeks…After reading five of his autobiographical, self-help and political books…I find this attitude more understandable. Why stress over policy details or gaffes when you’re the brightest person in the room, and when the Big Guy will show up if you ever need a hand?

It is that second part that I find most concerning. Here are some examples Lozada provides:

Once you have God on speed dial, well, it’s hard not to press that button. At one point, Carson requests God’s help to find his stolen passport; it is retrieved…And in a particularly unnerving intercession, Carson asks God for help in dismissing his incompetent, alcoholic secretary without hurting her feelings…Two weeks later, the secretary doesn’t show up for work. “We never did find out what happened to her,” Carson writes. “She simply disappeared.”

While I hesitate to step on anyone’s toes when it comes to theology, this is a particularly troubling understanding of faith that Kim Knight described as an assumption that God is some kind of cosmic vending machine.

See, I have a very hard time with the theology of folk who claim that God gives away touchdowns, Bentleys and control of Congress as rewards for the pious but allows/causes millions of people to suffer from hunger, disease, disasters and diabolical dehumanization.

I have no problem if that is the way an individual wants to live their life. But I have a serious problem with the idea that a leader of the free world would avoid doing his own work on developing a deep understanding of the challenges that face us and simply call on the magical thinking of assuming that God will take care of it. If this guy needs divine intervention to fire a secretary, that’s an immediate disqualifier for the job.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.