Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has joined The Washington Times as a weekly opinion columnist, about a week after retiring from his post at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In his first column, published Wednesday, Carson outlined much of the viewpoint that gained him attention in the political realm after speeches earlier this year — criticizing political correctness and defending his position against same-sex marriage.
"For a long time, I thought that retirement would mean learning to play golf well, learning to play the organ and learning a variety of new languages," Carson wrote. "I cannot now embark upon a life of leisure and watch my beloved nation and fellow citizens suffer from many self-inflicted wounds."
The move comes after months of speculation over Carson's political future. He was vaulted to the forefront of conservative politics after giving a speech in February criticizing many of President Barack Obama's health reform policies — with the president seated feet away. He later stoked controversy over comments on same-sex marriage.
While Carson has said he has no plans to run for political office, he said he would consider it if he felt God's calling. Carson retired earlier this month from his post as Hopkins' director of pediatric neurosurgery, a role he held for nearly three decades. While at Hopkins, he became the youngest person to lead a major division and was the first surgeon anywhere to separate twins conjoined at the head.
Times CEO Larry Beasley called Carson "one of the freshest and most powerful voices in the conservative movement" in an article announcing the new column Wednesday.
In his first column, Carson criticized what he called the "PC police" who pounced on comments he made about gay marriage during an appearance on Fox News. In an interview with Sean Hannity on the television network, he said gays and lesbians should not be able to change the definition of marriage, and neither should those who practice bestiality or pedophilia.
"The PC police tried to persuade people that I was comparing same-sex behavior with unacceptable forms of sexual variation. I was not making that comparison, but the speech minders insisted that it was my intention, as though they knew more about my intentions than I did," Carson wrote in the column. "Their desire was to change the focus of the argument and to shut me up."
Those who criticized Carson for the comments included his former boss, Johns Hopkins Medicine Dean Dr. Paul B. Rothman, who called the statements "hurtful" and "in conflict with our core values of diversity, inclusion and respect."
Carson stepped down as commencement speaker for Hopkins School of Medicine and School of Education after the controversy over his comments.
Hopkins officials could not be immediately reached for comment.