Neurosurgeon Ben Carson: Politically Incorrect Speech Was Me Diagnosing Problems

Dr. Ben Carson said he has no intention to run for president, but he will "leave that up to God," in a Sunday interview on ABC's "This Week." Carson gained national attention for his Feb. 7 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in which he condemned political correctness and called for a flat tax and a more decentralized health care system.

"Before I gave that talk I prayed and asked God to give me wisdom, what do say, what would resonate, what would be important," Carson said when asked about all the attention his speech has received.

"Ben Carson for President," the editors of The Wall Street Journal declared the day after the speech. Plus, the speech has almost two million hits on YouTube at the time of this publication.

The speech is notable for its context as much as its content. President Barack Obama was sitting just two seats to his right as he advocated policies directly in opposition to two of Obama's most well-known initiatives: a more centralized health care system and higher taxes on the wealthy.

"I don't think it was particularly political," Carson said, "... but to be able to express an opinion about something that is problematic. You know, I'm a physician. I like to diagnose things. I diagnosed some pretty significant issues that I think a lot of people resonate with."

Carson said that the Old Testament tithe, in which the tribe of religious leaders in ancient Israel was paid by the other tribes, each giving them 10 percent of their wealth, could be a model for the U.S. taxation system. It does not have to be 10 percent, Carson said, but everyone should pay the same proportion of their income. In his "This Week" interview, Carson said he prefers to call it a "proportional tax" rather than a "flat tax."

Carson recently announced his retirement as a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.

In a 2008 interview on PBS' "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly," Carson said he was an at-risk kid growing up in inner city Detroit and raised by a single mom. He was considered the classroom "dummy" in 5th grade.

His mom, after praying for wisdom, started requiring her two sons to write two book reports for her every week. Her sons did not know that she was unable to read as she pretended to read the reports. After a month, Carson said, he began to enjoy reading.

Carson is a devout Seventh-Day Adventist. He credited the Book of Proverbs with taking away his anger after he tried to kill someone at the age of 14. He reads the Book of Proverbs daily and would read from it as part of his spiritual preparation for surgery.