NEW YORK — Author and speaker Eric Metaxas recently hosted Dr. Ben Carson on his radio program and said that although the retired neurosurgeon may appear "soft spoken," he found the GOP presidential hopeful is "no softy" but in fact "very passionate."
Metaxas, speaking to The Christian Post on occasion of his new book, Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness, also talked briefly about the current campaign field. He shared his thoughts on who among the many Republican contenders duking it out in the ring for dominance were, to him, the strongest candidates. He also expressed deep concerns about the state of religious freedom under the Obama administration.
The transcript has been edited for clarity.
CP: I'm wondering if you would mind sharing your thoughts on having Dr. Ben Carson on your program recently. How did he strike you?
Metaxas: One thing I will say about Dr. Carson is that he's so soft-spoken and so humble, that he gives people the impression that he's a softy, and he's not. And I think that recently, as he said some things that the media has attacked him on, you see this steeliness and this anger in him which I think shows that he's not someone who is not passionate. He's very passionate.
But he's just so humble and kind that we haven't seen very much of it. But I think that this is the man who understands that the future of America is at stake. He doesn't take it lightly, and we shouldn't mistake his soft-spokenness for a lack of passion. He's deeply passionate.
CP: Any thoughts on Donald Trump? Is he more about style than substance?
Metaxas: I think that Donald Trump has been largely very, very positive for the political process because he's helped people to understand that we're in such desperate straits, we can't play patty cake anymore, we can't play nice-nice. We have to say things as they are and if some people don't like it, it's not gonna matter. What's at stake is much bigger than hurting somebody's feelings.
It doesn't mean I approve of everything he says. But there are some things that he's said, and there are many things Dr. Carson has said and some things that Carly Fiorina said, that a number of them have said, and people say, 'Oh you can't say that' or 'You shouldn't say that.' And I think they're saying, 'You know what, we don't care. We're going to say it because things are too dramatic right now, things are too far-gone for us to play nice.
I don't mean that we shouldn't be nice, but I'm saying they're not submitting to this politically correct pressure and I think that's very healthy and most Americans are cheering them on. Both Donald Trump and Carson in particular.
CP: I'm not asking you who you plan to vote for, but are there any candidates that have struck you as potentially promising?
Metaxas: Honestly, anybody on the GOP strikes me as tremendously promising. I would say Carson, Fiorina and Trump would be at the top of my list at this point.
CP: What are the most important issues for you this campaign cycle?
Metaxas: I would say that there's a host of issues. I think that the current administration has done such damage to religious freedom in particular that unless we deal with things immediately and drastically, we will cease to be America. We will not be able to bless people.
If you care about the poor, if you care about the immigrant, you have to understand we are less able to help the poor, less able to help immigrants than we were eight years ago. That's scary to me, because I care about this country and I think this country exists to help people who are struggling.
So I think it's different worldviews, but I think on the GOP side they're able to communicate their ideas more effectively than we have in the past and I think things are so bad, we're able to see that unless we take action, America will cease to be able to do what it's been doing for many years.