"Dr. Ben Carson, what were you thinking?" is the question on many Christians' minds Friday morning, after the retired neurosurgeon, Seventh-day Adventist church member and former GOP presidential candidate officially threw his endorsement behind fellow candidate and Republican Party front-runner Donald Trump. Considering Carson's publicly stated stances on religion and education alone, his new backing of Trump has supportive "Carsonators" reeling.
Trump has drawn negative comments from several worldwide spiritual leaders, including Pope Francis and this week from the Daila Lama, who although admitted he didn't know all of the background factors, said he thought Trump's personal criticism sometimes "looks cheap." Trump also has threatened to cut the Department of Education if he becomes the next U.S. president. Surely that should give Carson some pause, after he's repeatedly said he is pro-education and rolled out his own Education Plan in January.
One comment on Carson's Facebook page by Vicky Snyder has received nearly 9,000 likes in agreement by Friday morning's publishing time of this article: "I'm absolutely heartbroken that you have chosen this path! It destroys everything I believed about you."
Carson had just recently announced he was exiting the presidential campaign to chair a nonpartisan group called My Faith Votes, with the mission of inspiring Christians to vote. See The Gospel Herald coverage from March 4: Ben Carson Will Lead Christian Voter Group, Ends His Presidential Campaign
Following his endorsement announcement, a new group on Facebook erupted called My Faith Votes to Recall Dr. Ben Carson.
"Let's be real ... Dr. Carson is killing us. Now, I am not here bashing or anything," posted Rochelle Ceballos. "Anyone who heard the news about Trump didn't have the best feeling in the world, right? Multiple people hit me up saying that Carson is a joke. And instantly I'm thinking in my head, 'Carson, you're making this hard, you're making this real hard!' You can support someone 100 percent, but even with our walk in God sometimes we are like, 'Lord, this makes me uncomfortable.'"
Ceballos further said forgiving someone the way Carson has is beautiful. "A lot of people won't see it that way. We live in a society where behavior like that makes 'no sense.'"
She also posted that she thought Carson is "more anti-Hillary than he is about Trump." Carson has remained constant about that throughout his campaign, she reasoned. "He is trying to save us from her. He has good reasoning."
Ceballos said she supports his decision. "But I will say, it makes my job as a Carsonator a little tough! Lol! But, it'll be good for us to make sure that the best happens to our country! We gotta trust God. Remember, His will be done, not ours."
Ann Baumgartner said she completely trusted in Carson. "I'm sure he prayed on this and God is leading him."
Carson's specific announcement regarding Trump was: "Our country is at a crossroads and in the midst of a moral crisis. We must be careful not to continue our current path, which is littered with uncertainty at best and ruination at worst. We can make changes to our system and that change starts now with, 'We the People.' We can have disagreements, but it is critical that we not allow those disagreements to divide us as a party or as a country. It is with that in mind that I endorse Donald Trump for President. I have known Donald for many years. He is a successful businessman who has built a recognizable global brand that no one can question. His experience as a businessman is exactly what we need to move our economic engine in the right direction and empower those who have been left out of the American dream for far too long. With our support, I am sure that we can help restore America's values and faith. I know there will be some who want to underscore our differences and others will wish to return to statements he has made about me in the past, but that is politics. As a man of faith, all is forgiven and we have moved beyond the past, as the future is now. Join me in supporting and rallying around the only candidate the GOP has that can defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 and return America to that shining city on a hill."
Carson released an opinion-editorial piece in The Washington Post on Wednesday entitled, "Ben Carson: Cuddle or dump? How down-ticket Republicans can handle a Trump nomination." His conclusion in this op-ed was "there are lots of variables in this political calculation. But as 1,237 delegates begin to look more and more attainable for Trump, expect the GOP party faithful to pivot to the strategic interests of their down-ticket candidates this November."