GAINESVILLE -- Presidential hopeful Ben Carson told a packed Hall County megachurch this morning that he would bring God back to the forefront of American life, and he would go to war with the “PC police” to do it.
Georgia has looked a little like New Hampshire this weekend, with the two polling leaders for the Republican presidential nomination almost bumping into each other. Donald Trump staged a rally in Norcross on Saturday afternoon, then Carson signed copies of his new book up the road in Lawrenceville on Saturday evening.
This morning, Carson spoke to thousands at the Free Chapel in Gainesville and signed copies of A More Perfect Union, as part of a book tour not planned or staged by his campaign – but unmistakably part of his quest for the presidency:
“A lot of people have said to me: ‘Why are you willing to get into this fray when you had such a wonderful career and reputation and you were blessed financially and you could just sit back and relax?’
“Well, I’ll tell you why: it’s because America is worth saving. If that means getting into a war with the PC police, I’m ready to fight that war. And I hope you will join me.”
The book itself has sparked controversy, for Carson writing – and defending the notion in interviews -- that gun control was one of the reasons the Holocaust was successful. He also has been criticized for saying he did not want a Muslim president.
Carson himself is a Seventh Day Adventist, a Protestant denomination that has faced its own discrimination.
Carson’s half-hour speech was mostly biographical about his remarkable rise from poverty to being a celebrated neurosurgeon, a story that became a worldwide phenomenon after the book and movie “Gifted Hands.”
He did delve into politics on the law known as Obamacare, which Carson said constitutes “a fundamental change in America, where instead of the people being at the pinnacle, the government was now at the pinnacle.”
But the primary message was tailored to a friendly church crowd, blending faith and patriotism:
“The pledge of allegiance to our flag says we are one nation under God. Many courtrooms in the land on the wall it says ‘In God We Trust.’ Every coin in our pocket, every bill in our wallet says ‘In God We Trust.’
“So if it’s in our founding documents, it’s in our pledges, in our courts and it’s on our money, but we’re not supposed to talk about it, what in the world is that? In medicine it’s called schizophrenia. And I, for one, am simply not willing to kick God to the curb.”