Conservative favorite Benjamin Carson has canceled his scheduled appearance as a graduation speaker at Johns Hopkins University medical school after an uproar over his recent comments on gay marriage.
Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, had apologized for his comments last month on Fox News’ Sean Hannity program, during which he compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia.
But The New York Times reported
Thursday that Paul Rothman, dean of the Johns Hopkins medical faculty, had criticized Carson for the comments amid outcries by students. The criticism, the Times reported, led Carson to send an email Wednesday to Rothman withdrawing his name as speaker at the upcoming ceremonies on the Baltimore campus.
"My presence is likely to distract from the true celebratory nature of the day," Carson reportedly told Rothman.
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According to the Times, Carson also suggested in the email that he was a victim of political correctness.
“Someday in the future, it is my hope and prayer that the emphasis on political correctness will decrease and we will start emphasizing rational discussion of differences so we can actually resolve problems and chart a course that is inclusive of everyone,” he wrote.
The doctor had become a favorite among conservatives and Republicans after he made a speech at February’s annual prayer breakfast criticizing President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan and his call for higher taxes on the wealthy — all while the president sat two seats away on the dais.
After his appearance on Hannity, students in the Hopkins graduating class reportedly petitioned the school to have him removed as a speaker. Carson, who has been associated with Hopkins for 36 years, responded to the protest with an apology for any embarrassment he may have caused the school.
“What really saddens me is that my poorly chosen words caused pain for some members of our community and for that I offer a most sincere and heartfelt apology,” he said at the time. “Hurting others is diametrically opposed to who I am and what I believe.”
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