Ben Carson is not a household name. He's popular in far-right circles and unlikely to break out of them. He is also rather hateful and made one of the more absurd comments in the new "cake wars," which are meant to show how fundamentalists are victimized.
What I have a problem with is when people try to force people to act against their beliefs because they say "they're discriminating against me." So they can go right down the street and buy a cake, but no, let's bring a suit against this person because I want them to make my cake even though they don't believe in it. Which is really not all that smart because they might put poison in that cake.
Apparently, he finds fundamentalist bakers poisoning people to be funny. Of course, if someone else were to suggest this, it would be further proof of how fundamentalists are victimized.
Having grown up among these people, having attended their schools and Bible college, I am familiar with their psychology. They need to be victims. One reason they act so offensively with so many people is to solicit rejection, thus "proving" biblical prophecy that they are being persecuted "for His sake." Hardly the case, but it's the best they've got, so they run with it.
The "cake wars" started because a few fundamentalist bakers refused to sell cakes to gay customers. Then, if charged with violating anti-discrimination laws, they weep, wail and flail about in the media limelight, basking in their persecution -- it may be a long way from true martyrdom, but they take what they can get.
Of course, they want anti-discrimination to be a one-way street -- a special privilege reserved for Christians but denied to everyone else. In their view, anti-discrimination laws ought to exist, provided Christians are exempt from having to obey them, even while regularly claiming the protection of those same laws. In reality it is illegal to discriminate against a Christian in all 50 states. Yet it is legal to refuse service to gay people in most states.
Anti-gay groups behind these cake wars know the law; some of them are even lawyers. What they also know is that the public, especially their donors, aren't clued in to the facts.
Christian bakers have refused to sell cakes to gay couples because they are gay. But the one case of a Christian baker and a bigoted fundamentalist Christian was not over his religion but over his demand that the baker include a hate message on the cake.
In this case the baker was willing to sell a cake and supply the customer with what he needed to write his own message. He insisted, however, that she be forced to write the hate message herself.
In other words, this wasn't about whether he would be sold cake but about asserting the right to force another person to engage in speech she opposed. He wanted to compel someone to express views against their own will.
In the Colorado case where a Christian baker discriminated against gay clients, the message on the cake was not the issue; the customers were. That Christian wanted to refuse service to customers because they were gay. As is being done with the current case, the fundamentalists confused the issues. The Colorado court explained:
Respondents argue that if they are compelled to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, then a black baker could not refuse to make a cake bearing a white-supremacist message for a member of the Aryan Nation; and an Islamic baker could not refuse to make a cake denigrating the Koran for the Westboro Baptist Church.
However, neither of these fanciful hypothetical situations proves Respondents' point. In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers' free speech right to refuse. That, however, is not the case here, where Respondents refused to bake any cake for Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like.
Nowhere are these litigants attempting to actually remove anti-discrimination laws. They use these laws all the time. There are many times more anti-discrimination suits based on religion than on sexual orientation.
The fundamentalist believes he is entitled to rights that must be denied to all others. He thinks he should be protected from discrimination while being free to invoke his faith anytime he wishes to discriminate.
Fundamentalists are becoming quite explicit in this. With the help of third-rate Republican office holders, they are proposing legislation that exempts Christians and the religious from such laws but not others. If you are a secular bigot, you must obey the law, but if you are a bigot for Jesus, you don't have to.
Their accusation that others are seeking "special rights" fits what they seek for themselves perfectly.
I personally find anti-discrimination laws to be a dog's breakfast. They are contradictory and confusing. I'm willing to grant anyone an exemption, with one proviso. If a business wishes to discriminate against specific groups, it must state so openly and clearly in their advertising and on their entrance.
If they want to be bigots in the name of God, then go ahead, but don't hide the hate under a bushel. Do it openly and proudly. This way, they won't accidentally attract victims to be humiliated by the refusal of service.
My guess is that almost none of the haters would actually go this far. It would negatively impact sales. Most Americans don't like that sort of bigotry, and that's why anti-discrimination laws tend to be so popular, in spite of their crazy quilt nature.
If a business wants to refuse service to gays and blacks, that should be advertised on the front door and in their advertisements. Of course, that shows their hand to the rest of the population, many of whom would find it disgusting and take their business elsewhere.
Conservatives should be happy, after all, that is letting the free market decide whether bigoted businesses or non-bigoted businesses succeed.
But don't expect conservatives to leap on this proposal. The "free market" is nothing more than a slogan, not something they actually support. Meanwhile, they try to carve out special privileges for religious people, denied to all other Americans, which proves their contempt for equality of rights before the law.