Carson Calls Congress a ‘Peanut Gallery,’ Urges a Bill Protecting ‘Religious Rights’

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson urged Congress to pass legislation guaranteeing “religious rights” for all Americans in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage.

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, said the court “essentially” changed the definition of marriage, which has worked well for “thousands of years.”

“The legislative branch, however, I would have thought would have been already prepared with legislation in case the Supreme Court came down with that decision, to make sure we preserve the rights, the religious rights of everybody. Not everybody agrees with their new definition of marriage, and it’s a conviction and a religious conviction,” Carson said at the National Press Club.

“They need to make sure that they protect people’s religious rights. They bring Johnny-Come-Lately, but I call upon Congress to do that now, because there are people who are losing their jobs, their livelihood and it’s not fair. That’s not what America was supposed to be.”

Carson, who wrote a new book with his wife, Candy, titled, A More Perfect Union: What We the People can Do to Reclaim our Constitutional Liberties, said the legislative branch “acts more like a peanut gallery” instead of acting on issues such as religious freedom.

“They sort of sit there and watch what the others do, sometimes complain about it, but really don’t offer any resistance, because they're afraid somebody might blame them. News flash, they're going to get blamed anyway. So what they really ought to be thinking about is, how do they get involved and be more proactive?” he said.

Carson attempted to clarify his stance on gay rights.

“I have nothing against gay people whatsoever. I know a lot of people don’t believe that because we live in a society now where, if you don’t accept their entire agenda, then you're a homophobe. But you know, I personally believe that any two people, regardless of sexual orientation or anything else, have the right to associate together,” he said.

“If they want to have a legal contract drawn up which allows them to share property, have hospital visitation rights, do whatever they want, absolutely. I don’t have any problem with that. That’s the kind of country that this was designed to be, live and let live. Not impose your values on everybody else and that’s the problem.”

As the debt ceiling debate heats up, Carson suggested that Congress start to shrink the size of government to reduce the deficit.

“I mean, there are 4.1 million federal employees. I would offer that that’s too many and there are 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies, all of whom have budgets. This is absurd and we've had people saying, ‘If you cut the budget by one penny, it will be a disaster.’ Nancy Pelosi. I mean, this is absolutely absurd,” he said. “But we must think about the children. And that really is the main reason that I've gotten into the fray here, as a pediatric neurosurgeon, my whole professional career centered on the children and on the future for the children and what we had to do to improve quality of life for them. How can we in good conscience continue this charade of responsibility knowing what we are doing to their future?”

During the event, Carson was asked if he would serve as GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s running mate if he became the Republican nominee. Carson did not directly answer but offered some praise for Trump’s campaign.