The Christian Post invited all the presidential candidates of both major parties to answer the same set of 12 questions. Here are Ben Carson's answers.
1. Why do you want to be president and what does your personal faith have to do with your decision?
I am running for president to Heal, Inspire and Revive our nation. I recognize that poor management in Washington, moral decay in our society and fiscal irresponsibility across our nation has led to a weakening of our values and national strength, as well as a disenchantment with the political class.
As a man of faith and a political outsider, I prayed for guidance before joining this race. I said to the Lord that if he wanted me to seek higher office, and if he would open the doors for me, I would walk through them. And he's been opening the doors for me ever since.
We never know where God's plans will lead us, so throughout this campaign I've tried to run as an example for Christian leadership. I will draw on my experience as a pediatric neurosurgeon, to calmly and confidently diagnose any problem and respond to any crisis. And I will always lead with a deep understanding of Jesus Christ's teachings and his call for people to treat each other with respect and compassion.
2. What is marriage, and what should be the government's interest and role in marriage?
Like many Christians, I believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman in the witness of God. The government's interest and role in marriage should be to protect and sanctify this institution because it is the cornerstone of our society. Raising families with two parents is key to a child's development, and marriage is a strong institution that solidifies this crucial social structure. Marriage combines the efforts of two people to provide for and raise children, and gives children two parental figures to love and care for them.
I wholeheartedly disagree with the Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage. To ensure the continued strength of marriage as a vital institution, I will support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as that between one man and one woman.
3. When a U.S. government law or action unintentionally infringes upon the religious freedom of one or some of its citizens, should the government accommodate those beliefs by providing exemptions to that law or action, and, if so, what would be your recommended standard for providing the exemption?
One of the most important protections provided for in the Bill of Rights is our freedom of religion, and I strongly believe in the preservation of this right. When a law unintentionally infringes upon the religious freedom of certain citizens, the government should make reasonable accommodations. No one should lose their business because of their earnest beliefs, and the government should protect communities of faith in America, not strong arm them into violating their religious tenets.
4. What actions should the president take, and should urge the international community to take, to aid and protect those who are persecuted for their faith around the world?
Religious persecution is a blight on the Earth. Everyone should have the right to peacefully practice their religion without fear or intimidation. Unfortunately, there are many places around the world where this is not true. Christian communities are often the most overlooked in this regard. Throughout the Middle East and Africa, and even in parts of Asia, Christians are arrested, kidnapped and otherwise persecuted for their faith.
One thing we can start doing immediately to help Christian communities is to defeat and destroy the Islamic State. These terrorists' assaults on Christians are an abomination.
As president, I will declare war on ISIS, and we will defeat them once and for all, protecting Christians and moderate Muslims of the Middle East while also securing our nation from this great threat.
But perhaps one of the best things we can do to serve the persecuted abroad is to develop ministry and outreach programs here in the United States. Americans of faith can do a lot through international religious organizations to aid their brethren around the world. The United States should empower global faith communities to fight oppression abroad, while leveraging diplomatic pressures to push for greater religious freedom around the world. This is a collaborative effort at which we cannot afford to fail.
5. Under what conditions should current unauthorized immigrants in the United States be allowed to make restitution for their crime and apply for legal status or citizenship? How would you secure the border and the workplace?
First, any illegal immigrant with a criminal record cannot be allowed to stay in this country. For those currently living here illegally who have an otherwise pristine record, I support giving them an opportunity to register as guest workers so they're not living in the shadows. They should have to pay a back tax penalty and pay their taxes going forward, but they would not be granted citizenship. To be a citizen they would have to go through the very same application process as anyone else, and wait in the same line.
But we can't take any steps with the people already in our country without first closing down our border and stopping the illegal flow of people, drugs and other contraband across the border. We will secure every inch of our border according to what best suits the terrain and location. Whether that's fencing, sensors, drones, border patrol or all of the above.
6. Should the federal government devote resources to encouraging all states to adopt the same set of education standards, such as Common Core?
In recent years, there has been a troubling trend of the U.S. Department of Education increasingly trying to dictate how children are educated in our primary and secondary schools. This must stop and Common Core must be overturned. We also must create an environment that rewards excellence in teachers and provides students and parents with choices in their education.
From increased federal control to the skyrocketing costs of obtaining a college degree, students have never had more obstacles in their path to achievement. Our education system must be run by involved parents and engaged teachers and principals. Any attempt by faceless federal bureaucrats to take over our local schools must be defeated.
I will enact education policies that will return power back to the local districts and the American people. Ultimately, educators, parents and school boards are the ones that interact with and deeply understand the needs of their own students and are best suited to design curricula.