Ben Carson took a shot at Bernie Sanders in an address to students at the nation’s largest Christian college on Wednesday, warning against “unscrupulous politicians” offering free college that will add to the national debt and hasten “the destruction of the nation.”

Just 12 hours after the fourth Republican presidential debate concluded Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Carson told students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., that a successful democracy depends on “a well-informed and educated populace.”

{mosads}“If people are not well informed, they just [listen to] unscrupulous politicians and news media and off the people go in the completely wrong direction, listening to all kinds of propaganda and inculcating that into their way of thinking,” the GOP White House hopeful said.

“It becomes easy to swallow things. If you don’t understand our financial situation and someone comes along and says, ‘free college for everybody,’ they’ll say, ‘oh how wonderful,’ and have no idea they’re talking about hastening the destruction of the nation.”

“There is nothing that’s really free,” Carson said Wednesday, joking that the nation’s founders would “stroke out” to learn about the current state of the debt and deficit.

Carson warned that the nation’s fiscal situation has become “very precarious,” and said “if it collapses, what happened in 1929 on Wall Street will be a walk in the park compared to what will happen [today].”

Sanders made his own appearance at Liberty University in September, making the case that there’s a moral obligation to address income inequality and racial injustice

The Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont senator has proposed making college education free for students in the U.S by having the federal government and states pay for it.

Carson on Wednesday largely steered clear of politics, focusing more on a broad message of American exceptionalism and recounting his rise out of poverty to becoming one of the world’s foremost neurosurgeons — the details of which have been questioned by some media outlets.

Some in the media have accused Carson of embellishing specifics surrounding his past accomplishments. He has pushed back furiously, denying all of the allegations and slamming the media as biased and corrupt.

Carson said Wednesday that he has relied on the Bible to weather the storm of controversy.

“Proverbs 3, 5 and 6. It says trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path,” Carson said.

“I have clung to that through all kinds of adversity in my life, and I cling to it now when so many in the media want to bring me down because I represent something they can’t stand. But the fact of the matter is, in Romans 8 it says if God is for you, who can be against you? You don’t have to worry.”

Liberty University is a frequent stop for Republican presidential hopefuls. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a favorite among evangelical conservatives, launched his presidential bid at the college earlier this year, and Jeb Bush addressed students there shortly before his launch.

But it’s especially comfortable territory for Carson, a Seventh-Day Adventist and unabashed man of faith.

Carson on Wednesday ripped the “secular progressives” he said are seeking to shut down debate on the issues important to Christians, like abortion and gay marriage.

“The real question is whether we’ll stand up for these values and principles, or allow ourselves to be intimidated by the secular progressives,” he said. “They don’t care whether you agree with them so long as you sit down and keep your mouth shut. The secret to prosperity in this nation is we must be willing to stand up for what we believe in.”

“Isn’t that he problem with society today?,” Carson asked. “People want to force their beliefs on everyone else. I believe the Constitution gives everyone the same rights, but nobody extra rights. That’s where the problem comes in.”  

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