Med students want Dr. Ben Carson replaced as commencement speaker

ben carson
Photo Credit: Washington Post

Students from the John Hopkins School of Medicine have asked that Dr. Ben Carson be removed from the speaker line-up at this year’s graduation ceremony after his controversial remarks on gay marriage earlier this week.

Media Matters printed the letter students sent to administrators of the John Hopkins School of Medicine asking that Carson be replaced. Students cited Carson’s “deeply offensive” comments on same-sex marriage (see the actual quote in the body of the letter), his position on evolution and his remarks on Obamacare at the National Prayer Breakfast saying, “we feel that these expressed values are incongruous with the values of Johns Hopkins and deeply offensive to a large proportion our student body.”

According to Media Matters, Carson appeared on MSNBC Friday and apologized if “anybody was offended” by his remarks on marriage equality. Media Matters said the neurosurgeon “indicated that he might be open to withdrawing as the Hopkins commencement speaker.”

The letter, with names withheld by Media Matters:

We are writing to express concern about the selection of Dr. Ben Carson as the commencement speaker for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Class of 2013.

At the time of his nomination, Dr. Carson was known to most of us as a world-class neurosurgeon and passionate advocate for education. Many of us had read his books and looked up to him as a role model in our careers.

Since then, however, several public events have cast serious doubt on the appropriateness of having Dr. Carson speak at our graduation.

On March 26, on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, Dr. Carson compared gay relationships with pedophilia and bestiality: “Well, my thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality. It doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”

On February 7, Dr. Carson used the National Prayer Breakfast speech–which, like our commencement ceremony, is an historically nonpartisan event–to deride Obamacare, advocate lower taxes for the wealthy, and suggest that Christianity requires supporting Republican policies.

Dr. Carson has also used his platform as a famous neurosurgeon to promote the rejection of evolution: “Ultimately, if you accept the evolutionary theory,” he said, in a statement that would apply to the majority of students and faculty at Johns Hopkins, “you dismiss ethics, you don’t have to abide by a set of moral codes, you determine your own conscience based on your own desires.” This belief of Dr. Carson’s was unknown to many of us at the time of his nomination.

We retain the highest respect for Dr. Carson’s achievements and value his right to publicly voice political views. Nevertheless, we feel that these expressed values are incongruous with the values of Johns Hopkins and deeply offensive to a large proportion our student body.

As a result, we believe he is an inappropriate choice of speaker at a ceremony intended to celebrate the achievements of our class. We hope the administration of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will select an alternative speaker that better represents the values of our student body and of our great University.
If you support the selection of another speaker, please sign this petition:

[Names withheld]



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