Dr. Ben Carson’s Seventh-day Adventist faith continues to be the source of scrutiny and media interest. Carson, however, has asked people to focus on his belief in God rather than his denomination. He has also told news outlets that his Seventh-day Adventist denomination made a mistake in not authorizing divisions to make provision for ordaining women in San Antonio.
Echoing a sentiment widely shared within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, the tentative frontrunner in the Republican race for the White House told Associated Press, “I don't see any reason why women can't be ordained,” and added that the vote in San Antonio against allowing divisions to make provision to ordain women was a “huge mistake.”
Carson also told AP that he does not share many Adventists’ suspicion of the Catholic Church. “I love Catholics. My best friend is Catholic. I have several honorary degrees from Catholic universities,” he said.
In response to ongoing media inquiries about the Adventist denomination, the Church in North America rolled out a new website, whoareadventists.org, to fill the information gap about Adventists. The website was in process before Donald Trump’s dismissive comments about Carson’s Adventist faith touched off an explosion of coverage of Adventism in the news.
“The website is simple way to quickly share who we are with the world,” said North American Division Communication Director Daniel Weber. “It’s gotten a positive response. Within the first twelve hours, we had almost 3,000 people visit the site.” He noted that the website will continue to be updated with content to flesh out the picture of the Adventist Church.
For his part, Ben Carson would rather people talked about his belief in God than in his denomination. He has said publicly that he considers his relationship with God to be "the most important aspect" of his life, but added that "it's not really denomination specific."
Carson told the Des Moines Register, “I’m not a religious person. But I do have a very deep and abiding faith in God. To me that is the thing that is most important.”
A headline on Christianity Today’s website quoted Carson as saying people ought to focus “on my ties with God, not my denomination.”
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
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