JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES
By ALAN RAPPEPORT
OCTOBER 27, 2015
Each time Ben Carson prepared to cut into a human brain, the neurosurgeon, who was the first to separate twins conjoined at the head, said a prayer. He would scrub his hands, close his eyes and ask for God’s help. “Lord, you be the neurosurgeon,” he has described himself thinking. “I’ll be the hands.”
Since packing up his scalpel and becoming a Republican presidential candidate, Mr. Carson has not shied from talking about his Christian faith and sprinkling policy pronouncements with prayer as he travels the country talking to voters in his blunt but soft-spoken style. So far it has worked — he has overtaken Donald J. Trump in a new national poll of Republicans and is beating him in Iowa, the crucial caucus state.
But Mr. Carson’s religion has been cast in a harsher light in recent days, as Mr. Trump, whose support among evangelicals is falling, suggested that the doctor is not a mainstream Christian because he is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.
“I’m Presbyterian,” Mr. Trump proclaimed at a rally in Florida last Saturday. “Boy, that’s down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don’t know about.”