“But Muslims Do It Too!” Why Anti-Discrimination Laws Aren’t An Attack On Christianity
With religious freedom laws being passed in many states, anti-discrimination laws are also being brought up. Freedom of religious expression is an important thing to protect, and one of America’s highest ideals, but there is, of course, no real freedom unless there is freedom for every person, and groups that are subject to discrimination say they’re not seeing it. However, anti-discrimination laws are often seen as an attack on Christianity.
When there are calls for anti-discrimination laws, though, or backlash against religious freedom laws, the outcry is often, “But you’re attacking Christians!” In one of the more high-profile issues of late, the question of whether bakers of wedding cakes should be allowed to bake only for unions they support, a common retort is, “Why don’t you try asking a Muslim to bake your gay cake, and see how that goes?”
In fact, a popular viral video tests exactly that question. What happens when a man goes into a bakery owned by a Muslim, and demands a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage? Steven Crowder tested this, in several Muslim bakeries.
There are some small problems with this, such as the erroneous statement that he couldn’t turn away Kanye for being ‘an idiot,’ but the major problem is this.
No one is saying we should pass anti-discrimination laws so Christians will have to bake gay cakes! No one is saying we need anti-discrimination laws because Christians love to discriminate! No one is saying, hey, let’s pass a law to stick it to the Christians!
First, there’s no doubt we all know plenty of Christians who are opposed to discrimination. Most likely, most of the Christians you know have no desire to discriminate against any group. Thus, anti-discrimination laws aren’t some broad attack on Christians.
Second, yes, there is discriminatory behavior from individuals in virtually every group: Muslims, Christians, atheists, and probably every other religious or non-religious group you can name. Thus, anti-discrimination laws don’t only affect behavior by Christians.
Third, and perhaps most important, if a behavior is wrong, pointing out that another group also does it really doesn’t place you on any high ground. If the behavior isn’t wrong, then surely the ‘But Muslims do it too’ defense isn’t needed.
Steven Crowder, as well as many people in every comment section and message board across the internet, and of course that one uncle you’re looking forward to chatting with over Easter dinner, all want to paint anti-discrimination laws as an attack on the rights of Christians and businesses. This is why they’re wrong: America’s Constitution is built on human rights, not corporate rights, so the right of a corporation to mistreat a human isn’t an issue here.
As for the laws being an attack on Christians, the only way that could be true is if discrimination is a Christian behavior, and a uniquely (or mostly) Christian behavior.
It isn’t. It’s an individual decision, made by individuals across belief systems, to treat one group of people with less respect and decency than another. As an individual, that is indeed something you can legally do. You can choose not to sit next to another person on the bus based on their skin color. You can refuse to send your child to a birthday party because the kid has two moms. You can choose to only date people of a certain age, gender, racial background, culture, or any other demographic.
“But no one is talking about Muslims not baking gay cakes!”
Well, that may be true, simply because in America, where this debate is currently burning, there are a lot more Christian bakers than Muslim bakers. Other than Steven Crowder, it appears that no one has yet gone into a bakery owned by a Muslim and been surprised by a refusal of service. This is less likely to mean that gay couples don’t care when Muslims don’t bake their cakes, than it is to mean that there are just fewer Muslim bakers in America, where, according to Pew Research, over 78% of the population identifies as Christian, and less than 1% as Muslim.
No one is attacking the right of Christians, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, or Pastafarians to discriminate. However, anti-discrimination laws prevent corporations, not individuals, from practices that would set one group — whether by race, sexuality, gender, or belief system — as second-class citizens.
Again, and in brief: anti-discrimination laws aren’t attacks on Christians by people who don’t realize other groups also discriminate. They’re a call for equal treatment of all people, by all businesses.
TELL US: Do you support anti-discrimination laws? Why or why not?