The ancient, bland doyen of the religious Right, Phyllis Schlafly -- a conspiracist, fanatical Catholic, anti-feminist, anti-gay mother of a gay son -- has been wheeled out yet again to pontificate about "Cakegate," that sad attempt by daft conservatives to turn cakes into the last battle of the culture war. The war to "Christianize" America sputters to an end with the Bittereinders circling the wagons in a last ditch effort to stop gays from eating wedding cake.
Ms. Schlafly said:
They [gays] want to wipe out the Christian religion. And most of these other religions do not recognize same-sex marriage. I assume there are some Muslim bakers and photographers and other people who have been harassed, but they're not being attacked and they're not being criticized.
Why haven't Muslim-owned bakeries had problems? Well, first, how many bakeries are there in the country? There are 6,000 retail bakeries in the United States. How many of them have been involved in the "Cakegate" controversies? I find two: Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado and Sweet Cakes in Oregon.
The way the far Right has "wailed" and "rented their garments", you'd think thousands of bakers have been carted off to FEMA concentration camps in black helicopters for disobeying the unknown commandment: "Thou shalt not make cakes for gays, saith the Lord." Schlafly finds a gay conspiracy to destroy Christianity because two bakers, who say they are Christians, violated anti-discrimination laws in their state.
That's two out of 6,000 commercial bakers -- hardly a representative sample. Why wasn't one of them been Muslim?
Muslims makes up less than one percent of the population of the United States. If Muslims owned bakeries in direct proportion to their population the number of Muslim-owned bakeries for the entire country would total 54.
Beyond just the low number of Muslims in the country, there is another problem. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, which did a study of how various religious groups perceive gay marriage, 42 percent of American Muslims support same-sex marriage.
If this matched the bakery situation then there are around 31 Muslim-owned bakeries, which are also anti-gay. The chance of randomly walking into one of them would be one in 194, the odds of walking into one and ordering a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage is vastly smaller. If the entire test run -- that is the number of cases filed under discrimination laws -- is just two, then the chances of one of those two being owned by Muslims is almost non-existent.
In other words, the likelihood an anti-gay bakery would be owned by a Muslim is itself remotely low. That they are also anti-gay is even lower. Many anti-equality business-owners are still happy to make a profit, so the final number of Muslim, anti-gay, anti-profit bakers, has to be rather miniscule.
You don't need a gay conspiracy -- and old Phyllis is a conspiracist from decades ago -- to explain why the two bakery cases involved Christian-owned businesses.
Given that 70 percent of the population consider themselves Christian, if you were to pick two bakers at random, chances are pretty good both would be Christians.
Who are the opponents of gay marriage? The largest group of anti-gay haters are white evangelicals, 66 percent of whom oppose marriage equality. Baptists are the worst, with 72 percent in opposition.
Evangelicals, the most hidebound anti-gay bigots in the country, make up about 25 percent of the population. If they owned bakeries in proportion to their numbers that would be 1500 bakeries run by fundamentalists. Over two-thirds of them would be anti-gay. The chance of randomly walking into one of them is one in six. In other words, the lack of Muslims in the country -- making up less than one percent of the population -- explains why they haven't been involved.
More importantly, American Muslims are more supportive of same-sex marriage than American evangelicals.
How will Donald Trump’s first 100 days impact YOU? Subscribe, choose the community that you most identify with or want to learn more about and we’ll send you the news that matters most once a week throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office. Learn more