by Monte Sahlin
By Adventist Today News Team, March 17, 2014
In poll results announced over the weekend (March 15-16), Dr. Ben Carson, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the suburbs of Baltimore and recently retired pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, was the favorite of 11 percent of conservative activists. The poll was taken among those who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) the previous weekend.
Senator Rand Paul received the strongest support in the poll at 15 percent and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came in second at 13 percent. "Carson fans were excited when their man came third," reported The Economist, "beating heavyweights such as Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Paul Ryan." He shared the 11 percent third place showing with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Senator Rick Santorum.
On Sabbath, March 8, Carson addressed the CPAC crowd. He said "he had planned to enjoy retirement," according to The Washington Times, "but the Good Lord had a different plan for him … suggesting that he could have a future in elective politics." A political action committee has been launched to raise funds for a Carson campaign in 2016, reported the Daily Mail and it has already raised $2.8 million in its first six months.
Carson's 20-minute speech included both partisan attacks and an appeal for conservatives to do more to help the poor. He described the Affordable Care Act, the signature health reform law passed by the current administration of United States President Barack Obama, as a "massive" government power-grab, according to The Economist and advocated that lawmakers that voted recently to raise the national debt ceiling not be re-elected. He also said that he once belonged to the lower-income half of the nation. "I know there are a lot of people in that [class] who are decent, hard-working Americans who want to realize the American dream," he was quoted by Politico.com urging that conservatives do more to extend opportunities to the poor.
The only Adventist to have any chance of actually becoming president of the United States in at least a century, Carson has a relatively small but loyal following. A number of the participants at the meeting held up banners saying, "Run Ben, Run" and "Carson 2016." He caught the attention of the most conservative Americans when he was invited to speak to the National Prayer Breakfast last year and used the occasion to criticize President Obama who sat on the platform with him.