WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Dr. Ben Carson has come under fire for charging the pro-life movement with "hateful rhetoric" in the wake of last Friday's Planned Parenthood shootings in Colorado.
In an interview Sunday morning on CBS's "Face the Nation," the GOP presidential hopeful stated that "there is no question" that such divisive language "no matter which side it comes from — right or left — is something that is detrimental to our society."
"Our strength in this country has traditionally been in our unity," Carson continued. "And we are allowing all kinds of circumstances to divide us and make us hateful toward each other. And the rhetoric is extremely immature, divisive and is not helpful when you have outside forces — global Islamic radical jihadists who want to destroy us."
Carson encouraged "intelligent, civil discussion" as an alternative, adding that "hateful rhetoric exacerbates the situation."
During an interview the same day with ABC's "This Week," Carson reiterated his belief that "rhetoric from either side" needs to be abandoned in order to "begin to make progress."
"Unfortunately, there is a lot of extremism coming from all areas," he said. "It's one of the biggest problems that I think is threatening to tear our country apart. We get into our separate corners and we hate each other and we want to destroy those with whom we disagree. That comes from both sides, so there's no saint here in this equation."
Dr. Carson's comments have been met with condemnation from several national pro-life leaders.
"Doctor Carson just ended his presidential candidacy," said Tory Newman, president of Operation Rescue and a board member of the Center for Medical Progress, the organization responsible for this summer's Planned Parenthood exposés.
In an interview with Breitbart, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students For Life, the largest youth pro-life organization in the country, questioned if Carson had taken "his talking points from Planned Parenthood." She accused the doctor of "casting suspicion on pro-lifers who had nothing to do with [the Colorado] tragedy" and "only furthering the deceitful narrative that the abortion industry has already laid out in the media."
Judie Brown, president and cofounder of American Life League, asked what exactly the pro-life movement had said to provoke the violence, stating that "Carson is dead wrong, period."
This isn't the first time Carson has received criticism from the pro-life movement. Despite being quoted affirming that human life begins at conception, the GOP presidential hopeful recently stated that the 2005 crusade to save Terri Schiavo's life was "much ado about nothing."
Dr. Carson claims his comments were taken out of context, but during a brief phone call with Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, he opted not to apologize for his remarks.
During an appearance Monday night on Fox News' "The Kelly File," Carson asserted that he has "spent [his] whole life as a pro-life advocate trying to save lives."
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