Ben Carson doubles down in his ‘poisoned cake’ remark about gays

January 27, 2015 • 2:20 pm

Let’s refresh ourselves: here’s what Ben Carson, ex-neurosurgeon, staunch creationist and Seventh-Day Adventist, and far-right Republican, said about gays at Iowa’s recent “Freedom Summit,” which is looking more and more like a confederacy of dunces.  As The Hill reported, Carson said this:

“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,” he said to chuckles from some of his staff and dead silence from the journalists in the room.

In this interview from Fox News, Carson’s asked about that remark, and rather than simply say he’s sorry, which would have been the smart thing to do, he says that those who were offended are “immature”:

Note how he adds that he’s not a politician, even though he’s running for President. That’s like someone telling you he’s not a plumber while he’s getting paid to fix your sink.

He should have kept his day job.

h/t: Dan

45 thoughts on “Ben Carson doubles down in his ‘poisoned cake’ remark about gays

  1. “….So they can go right down the street and buy a cake,..”

    Of all the nerve…Wait, what? Buy a cake? What the hell is wrong with a person buying a cake? Why can’t everyone have cake?

    1. Presumably it’s a reference to the case in Northern Ireland, where a bakery has come under fire for refusing to make a cake that supported gay marriage. See:

      http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/08/bert-and-ernie-gay-wedding-cake-northern-ireland-ashers-bakery

      Personally, I think the bakery should have the right to refuse service in this instance. The bakery weren’t refusing to serve the customers because they were gay, but because they objected to the message that the customer wanted to put on the cake. I see it as a freedom of speech issue. The bakery should have the right not to facilitate speech that it disagrees with.

      1. It probably refers to this somewhat similar case in the US.

        The woman in that case is using exactly the defense you suggest: she didn’t refuse to bake or sell the cake to the customer, she’s refusing to inscribe a hate message on it. She also says that she would refuse to inscribe any hate message on a cake and so this has nothing to do with the customer’s religious position on SSM.

        It will be interesting how it turns out. Keep in mind that if she wins, anti-SSM service providers will take full advantage of it to not-provide any product or service that involves them “messaging.”

        1. I’m sure almost all liberals would instinctively agree that that woman should have the right to refuse a customer who wants to put an anti-gay message on a cake. But, for consistency, we ought to allow that people can refuse to put a pro-gay message on a cake (or whatever).

          1. But, for consistency, we ought to allow that people can refuse to put a pro-gay message on a cake (or whatever).

            No, consistency demands that the baker also refuse to write any anti-Christian messages. It’s the “anti-” part that’s objectionable. “Pro-” messages are fine.

            1. I dunno, pro-KKK is the same as anti-other races, so I’m not sure how that would be prevented from being easily flipped.

            2. What SalPal says. Pro-lifers are also anti-abortionists. Pro-choicers are against the idea that the unborn have fundamental rights. Every pro- position is also an anti- position.

            3. This particular baker stated that she was opposed to hate messages. So consistency here would simply mean that she would also refuse to write (example) “I hate poverty” on a cake.

              I’m frankly a bit skeptical that that’s true. But I’m also guessing that this was the first time anyone ever asked her to do anything like this, and her argument is very similar to prior arguments about services refusing to provide profane messages. So IMO she’s probably going to be successful in her defense.

              This of course opens up the field to other “not that vocabulary” defenses. What if some other baker decides not to use the word gay, regardless of whether the message is pro or con gay people? That would seem to be legal, under her logic.

              1. “So consistency here would simply mean that she would also refuse to write (example) “I hate poverty” on a cake.”

                Not quite right. “I hate poor people” would be a more correct example. I don’t think ‘I hate poverty’ could be construed as a ‘hate’ message, any more than e.g. ‘I hate cold feet’ – both of those being conditions rather than persons.

              2. This particular defendant stated that she would not write any sort of hate message at all. Her defense is going to explicitly depend on content neutrality – i.e., claiming she won’t inscribe the word ‘hate’ even for ‘good’ messages that most of us would find unobjectionable or even praiseworthy.

                IANAL but IMO, if she says that yes, she would inscribe ‘I hate cold feet’ or ‘I hate poverty’ on a cake but not ‘I hate gays,’ then she is likely going to lose the case. Some other defendant might decide to use your argument, but this one didn’t. She’s using something more like a profanity defense – saying she won’t write profane language on a cake, and in her case, ‘hate’ is profane.

        2. ” . . . anti-SSM service providers will take full advantage of it to not-provide any product or service that involves them “messaging.”

          In non-“messaging” scenarios, I wonder if anti-SSM bakers are asking customers placing wedding cake orders whether the couple in question is SS. I bet a few are “innocently” asking if the customer wants a couple figurine on top. If the customer says no, the religious zealot baker would be hard-pressed to not infer a SSM, eh?

          I wonder if any religious zealot flower shop owners, caterers, musicians, travel agents, formal wear shops, venue owners, wedding invitation printers, newspapers printing wedding announcements, etc. have similarly refused.

          1. Well I think the law is pretty clear that you can refuse customers based on such criteria, you can only refuse certain products that have messages on them.

            But yes, analogous to this baker offering her customer a blank cake and some icing and saying ‘do the message yourself,’ a conservative baker could, under this sort of law, offer a gay couple a blank cake and say ‘put the figurines on yourself.’ Its petty spite and bigotry, but seems to me to be equivalent to what she did here.

  2. I am very relieved he is an ex-neurosurgeon… I hope he is not practicing medicine of any kind. What a wingnut.

    1. I wonder if he ever operated on the child of a gay couple, if he ever inquired about that status before agreeing to operate.

    1. If he does, he would naturally say that they should serve African Americans. It is the bigotry on religious grounds that he is defending.

  3. That’s like someone telling you he’s not a plumber while he’s getting paid to fix your sink.

    I see what you did there. Thankfully he’s not running for president – yet.

  4. With a few substitutions and a time machine, maybe we could eliminate the Ben Carson problem before it even got started:

    What white segregationist wouldn’t have agreed with this:

    What I have a problem with is when n*[black people]*rs try to force [white] people to act against their beliefs because they say ‘they’re discriminating against me.’ So they can [sit] right down the [lunch counter] and buy a [cup of coffee], but no, let’s bring a suit against this person because I want them to [serve me coffee] even though they don’t believe in it. Which is really not all that smart because they might put poison in that [coffee],” he said to chuckles from some of his staff …

  5. There was an incident in Colorado where the baker refused to put “God Hates Gays” on a bible shaped cake that happened more recently in the USA. I wonder if he was commenting on that event, because the refused patron is suing the baker.

    1. He might be referring to the previous Colorado case in which a baker in suburban Denver refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. “He is now fighting a legal order requiring him to serve gay couples even though he argued that would violate his religious beliefs.”

    1. You might wish to clarify who ‘these people’ are. The rules of grammar would suggest you meant ‘African Americans’ but somehow I doubt you meant that…? 😉

  6. Carson thinks his fellow christians are liable to poison cakes for gay weddings. I didn’t think they were quite that nasty, but Carson knows them better than I do. It’s been a long time since I’ve been as deep in the fever swamp as he is. Seems to me that public accommodations should accommodate the public. You don’t get to define who the public is you are serving. I guess that qualifies as tyranny.

    As I bounce around the internet, I read a lot of comments expressing wonderment at the number of wingnut physicians. If you’ve spent any time in healthcare administration or graduate medical education as I have, you wouldn’t be so surprised at irrational physicians. We’ve bestowed M.D.s on a lot of wackos and the practice of medicine itself seems to attract a certain type of slightly insane individual — and some full-blown maniacs. A lot of them, like Ben Carson, are very good at their actual job. Then we give them huge sums of money and inflate their egos like giant weather balloons. They end up thinking they have all the answers to all the questions. Some of them, frankly, start out that way. They are a strange breed.

  7. I’m sorry but when I see an African American with his politics (there are not many) it really has to make you wonder what happened?

    So busy with all that religious junk there was no time for history I’m sure.

  8. He should have kept his day job.

    The folks at his old job are probably delighted he’s off on the campaign trail.

  9. So Dr. Carson says, “I’m not a politician.”

    Not a few politicians (at least a few of them physicians?) say, “I’m not a scientist.” Would Dr. Carson also say that? He has had some modicum of a scientific education, even if perhaps it has not totally stuck with him.

    He surely could not bring himself to claim that he is not scientifically literate, eh? But then, he denies and opposes the efficacy of the theory of evolution.

    I wonder if Seventh Day Adventists, like conservative Southern Baptists, expect their wimminfolk to subordinate themselves to and genuflect before their testicular masters.

  10. This man is indeed a duncis maximus. But that shouldn’t deter us from giving him as much encouragement as we possibly can. The more encouragement and affirmation we give him, the longer he’s stay around to reward us with some of the most outrageously ignorant, illogical, ill-conceived shit that will ever hear following two lifetimes of US politics. I’m confident that he’ll might very well outdo Palin, Gohmert and Perry combined.

    We’ll be recalling and laughing at their ignoramity for at least a decade after the 2016 elections.

    1. Unfortunately, the Rs in my county (perhaps statewide, I don’t know) have rigged the primaries to prevent stealth Republicans (like me) from voting for nutsacks like Carson. By grouping me with a bunch (10-15) of brain-dead pigs and making us all vote in unison, they ensure that the votes essentially go to the media’s darling (because the conversation always gravitates towards voting for the person most likely to defeat the Dem).

      The Dems would be wise to do something similar to guard against the stealth Dems in their midst, but so far they have not caught on. So between the gerrymandering and playing all the angles every step of the way, the country (and the world) is royally hosed.

  11. Contra our recent discussions of demonization and censorship of the Left by the Left, there is virtually nothing a RWNJ can say that will get him or her kicked off of the TV or even chastised by the party, no matter how offensive or crazy.

    Lots of non-offensive not-crazy statements can earn a smack down: “Obama’s not so bad,” “Human life does not begin at conception,” “Climate change is real and caused by human activity,” “Evolution is true,” etc.

    Not that the Democrats don’t police their members’ utterances – but that’s not as much of a problem, in principal, to me, as is the tolerance of wacko, hateful, ignorant comments in light of the punishment of sane ones.

  12. I’m sensitive to the libertarian argument against forbidding discrimination in public accommodations. But these laws, and thus arguments, also apply to race, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status and disability. Would he have made the same crack about poisoning interracial couples? (According to Gallup, most of the US didn’t approve of interracial marriage until 1995.) Should the colored folks who sat in at lunch counters in the ’60s have been served coffee laced with prussic acid?

    Personally, I’m against anti-discrimination laws and in favor of free association. But that’s a fringe position, and one I’d bet Carson doesn’t share. He should admit his remark was in poor taste.

    I’m going to try to ignore this guy. He’s a sideshow, says silly things, and to be frank his voice grates on me.

  13. What is it about F*x News anchors that they have to let you know, whether by their wording or just by arch pauses and winks, what side they’re on? Why isn’t there even the usual veneer of neutrality?

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