Eric Draper/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Eric Draper/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Dr. Ben Carson slammed the culture of political correctness and partisan labels at a WPEC-TV town hall panel held Thursday at the station’s studio in West Palm Beach, Florida, arguing that it has stifled free expression in America—namely religious freedom.

“We’re being manipulated. We’re being played by those people who want to divide, conquer, and control,” Carson said, alluding to the labels attached to those who disagree with their liberal counterparts. (Carson’s comments begin at at the 19:08 mark on the second video, WPEC Town Hall Religion 2. Scroll down the page and the three videos of the event are on the right side).

“If you are pro-life, then you’re anti-woman. If you’re pro-traditional marriage, then you’re homophobic. If you’re a white person and you say something against a progressive black person, you’re a racist,” Carson explained, calling for Americans “to realize that we are not each other’s enemies. The enemies are those people who are trying to divide us up.”

The panel featured religious leaders and a representative of an atheist organization speaking about religious freedom in society, including prayer in schools and the roots of morality.

Carson noted that when it comes to religion in the public sphere, secular progressives “try to impose a code of silence upon those who believe differently than they do.”

He cited the role of the Founding Fathers in building America as “a very spiritual nation” despite the claims of those “who try to re-write history,” and spoke of his own faith throughout his life’s work in pediatric neurosurgery.

Commenting on the split between science and religion on human biological development, Carson said, “It requires an enormous amount of faith to believe that something came from nothing.”

This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.