WASHINGTON — Leading a Washington bureaucracy and serving as a cabinet secretary isn't how Ben Carson thought he'd spend his retirement, but the famed pediatric neurosurgeon tells CBN News he's starting to see why God placed him in this unlikely position.
"As a pediatric neurosurgeon I spent a lot of time trying to give kids a second chance – operating for hours and hours, sometimes all night," he tells CBN News.
"But then being faced with having to send them back into a horrible environment with mold and lead and vermin – all kind of stuff – it was a horrible feeling for me – now I have a chance to actually do something about that environment," he continued.
One year into the job, he says God is revealed why He placed him there by taking Carson to the Bible.
"There's a verse in the Bible, Proverbs 29:18, that says, 'without a vision the people perish,' and I look around and see a lot of people who just are not thriving," Secretary Carson said.
Connecting Needs With Resources
That verse sparked the birth of EnVision Centers: community hubs connecting people's needs with resources that can help.
They bring together public, private and faith-based groups already providing the services needed.
The centers are designed to lead people to self-sufficiency through education and wellness while offering support along the way.
Ending the Cycle of Dependency
Carson is working to end the cycle of generations who have known nothing but living on government assistance.
"We have to provide a mechanism whereby they can climb the ladder of opportunity," he said.
As secretary, Carson has felt the belt tightening conservatives demand of the Trump administration.
The White House proposes cutting HUD's budget by nearly nine billion dollars next year.
"Would I rather have more money? Yes," he said with a laugh. "I could do more, no question about it."
However, his concerns about the national debt and his desire to make the agency operate more efficiently – like a business – encourage him to rise to the challenge.
"Our new definition of success is not how many people we get in these programs, but how many people we get out of them in a self-sufficient, powerful way so that they become a driving force right here in our own country," he said.
The conservative found himself in an embarrassing situation when he was forced to cancel an order for an expensive dining room suite for his office, once it was revealed it would cost taxpayers $31,000.
In a statement Carson said "no one was more surprised" than him.
He's also caught grief for daring to study the Bible and exercise his Christian faith as a member of President Trump's cabinet.
He attends the weekly cabinet Bible study led by Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries.
No Apologies for His Faith
An atheist group sued HUD to get information about the study and how Carson exercises his faith in public life.
Unapologetic, Carson responded on social media, writing, "It is my faith that helps me serve the nation even better."
"We have to have a foundation for who we are," he told CBN News. "If you're going to have free exercise of it – it doesn't mean you only get to talk about it in church because sitting in the pews of a church and keeping things contained there is not going to help feed the hungry, clothe the naked or take care of the imprisoned or do any of the things that we actually need to do so your faith has to be a living component of everything that you do," he said.
He also wrote that Americans have to resist attacks on our spirituality at all costs
"We can't allow ourselves to be just marginalized," he said.
"You know, those who impose the political correctness agenda, you know, they are winning. They're having their way, they're changing our society away from what it used to be and that frightens me," he continued.
He says America needs to do a better job of developing its people and he understands the responsibility he's been given.
"You know, housing is an important foundation for the development of an individual and having that security is so important."