Local NAACP president denounces Dr. Ben Carson's visit to Columbus

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 21, 2013 

The president of the Columbus branch of the NAACP has denounced tonight's visit of controversial physician Ben Carson, who is scheduled to address a fund raiser for the Pastoral Institute.

Carson, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who recently retired from Johns Hopkins University, has compared the Affordable Care Act to slavery.

"There is legitimate debate on Obamacare," NAACP local President Nate Sanderson said at a Monday morning news conference outside the organization's Historic District office. "But there is no debate in comparing Obamacare to slavery."

The Pastoral Institute is a Columbus nonprofit organization that provides counseling, mental health treatment and serves as a resource to many Columbus and regional businesses.

Carson, a nationally known black conservative who is the descendant of slaves, has been in the media spotlight since February when he criticized President Barack Obama's health care plan at the National Prayer Breakfast. Last weekend, Carson set off another controversy at the conservative Values Voter Summit, when he said Obamacare is the worst thing that has happened to the country since slavery.

Sanderson and NAACP national board member Edward DuBose, a Columbus resident and former president of the organization's Georgia chapter, took exception to Carson's political stance.

"I encourage people not to attend tonight," DuBose said. "I am very curious to know who is in that room. This is supposed to be about servant leadership."

Asked if he was going, DuBose was quick to respond. "I would not dare go."

Sanderson called for Carson to apologize for this statements.

"Nowhere in our political discourse is there the room to compare the Holocaust or slavery to anything," Sanderson said. "That is off limits."

Earlier this year, Carson also made controversial comments about homosexuality. He withdrew as graduation speaker at Johns Hopkins University because of a backlash from students.

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