Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson believes last week’s massacre in Oregon demonstrates a broader “attack” on Christianity in the US.
Following the shooting at the Oregon community college that left 10 people dead, Carson posted to social media a picture of himself with a sign reading, “#IAmAChristian.”
The photo, which quickly went viral, was a reference to the suspected shooter reportedly asking his victims their religion before shooting them.
In an interview ahead of the release of his new book, “A More Perfect Union,” Carson told Business Insider he felt the shooter’s actions were part of a broader assault on Christianity.
“I feel that Christianity is under attack in our society,” Carson told Business Insider in a wide-ranging conversation earlier this week. “And I think that freedom of religion is an extremely important part of what America is. No one should be ashamed of their religion or try to hide it. Our constitution very specifically protects our freedom of expression and freedom of religion. It does not provide freedom from religion — it provides freedom of religion.”
The so-called “war on Christianity” has become a rallying cry of sorts for many Republican presidential candidates, as states have debated “religious-freedom” laws that would, in some cases, allow individuals to opt out of performing certain tasks that they claim violate their religious beliefs.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) have all asserted that religious Americans are being ostracized for their beliefs. Republican front-runner Donald Trump last month asserted that President Barack Obama was “waging a war against Christians.”
And earlier this year, some prominent Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators suggested that a shooting at an historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was partially the result of hostility against Christians.
In Monday’s interview with Business Insider, Carson floated the idea that mass shootings could help be prevented by expanding a federal database of individuals with a history of mental-health problems.
“In the case of both the shooter in Aurora and the one at Virginia Tech, there was evidence that these were dangerous people. And that could be easily in a database. We have the mechanism for doing stuff, but we have to act on it,” Carson said, referencing mass shootings in recent years at the Virginia college and a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado.
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