Tea party darling and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson on Monday connected backlash against Indiana’s anti-gay “religious freedom” law to acts of religious persecution across the globe.
“It is absolutely vital that we do all we can to allow Americans to practice their religious ways, while simultaneously ensuring that no one’s beliefs infringe upon those of others,” Carson told Breitbart News. “We should also serve as champions of freedom of religion throughout the world.”
A steady stream of companies, as well as other state and local governments, have re-evaluated their business with the state of Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed the legislation into law Thursday. Those critics say the law protects business owners who would object to serving a gay couple on religious grounds.
Carson invoked acts of religious intolerance around the world in his comments to Breitbart without pointing to any specific examples.
“As Americans, we have an obligation to denounce these acts of persecution. For when we stand up to such intolerance, we are defending the root of our freedom, both at home and abroad,” he told the conservative news site.
Carson, who has already formed a presidential exploratory committee for 2016, has a history of making statements that are perceived to be anti-gay.
He briefly appeared on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s anti-LGBT extremist list. The former neurosurgeon also recently told a CNN anchor that he believes being gay is a choice because some people who enter prison identifying as straight leave prison identifying as gay.