Ismail Royer
Former Islamic terrorist, Ismael Royer, spent
more than 13 years in federal prison

Last July a headline in the Washington Post read: Fourteen years ago, he was a convicted jihadist. Now he’s fighting radical Islam steps from the White House. The subject of that article was Ismail Royer and his “fight” against extremism doesn’t seem to apply to gay people.

Were Royer truly opposed to religious extremism he would not provide content to an extremist outlet. It may be nonviolent but Witherspoon Institute, run by an Opus Dei numerary and co-founded by Robert George, is at the extreme fringes of Catholicism. Its blog, Public Discourse, is edited by a religious extremist, Ryan T. Anderson, an anti-gay bigot who, I suspect, is gay. Anderson’s day job is as a staffer for an extremist organization, Heritage Foundation. Royer still has terrible judgment.

Royer’s piece for Witherspoon is titled: “American Muslims, Lot’s Wife, and the Christian Baker.” You know what’s coming. Royer, a native born American, still hasn’t learned that, in this country, we obey laws that we do not like. We do so, in general, not solely because of the consequences of disobedience, but in large part because being lawful is a civic responsibility. There is no record of that baker making any effort to change the law in question by lobbying the legislature. Was he afraid, perhaps, that those efforts could take a toll in revenues? No one seems to have asked that question.

In contrast, the baker waited for the inevitable gay customer to request a wedding cake. He then embarrassed them and made them feel like second class citizens, all the while in violation of the law. So spare us the Christian baker BS.

After quoting the Quran:

In America, homosexual sex is officially tolerated, and in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges,
the Supreme Court held that the concept of marriage may also be applied
to same-sex couples. But the Court took pains to assure us that, unlike
in Sodom, those in America “who adhere to religious doctrines may
continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine
precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

That first misinterprets the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. Gay sex isn’t simply tolerated. The Court ruled that gays had a protected liberty right to engage in private sexual activity. Religion-based disapproval of gays should not interfere with due process and equal protection guarantees. We do not ask Mr. Royer to tolerate anything. We more forcefully instruct him that it is none of his business what we do in our bedrooms with a reminder that we are a secular nation in which laws cannot exist absent a secular purpose.

As for Obergefell, there is no “may” in that ruling. The state shall afford the same recognition of marriage to gay couples as it does to opposite-sex couples. As for the quoted passage from Justice Kennedy’s opinion, it is out of context. Justice Kennedy goes on to write:

The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.

Teaching religious principles and having family structures that conform to their faith are internalized within the faith’s constituency. Nowhere does Justice Kennedy even remotely imply that such religious beliefs should have any effect on nondiscrimination laws.

Then comes the usual regurgitation of Alliance Defending Freedom propaganda. ADF represents the baker and is also designated a hate group:

In 2012, Jack Phillips, a Christian who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Denver bakery, was asked by a same-sex couple to design a cake for their wedding. The request put Jack in a dilemma because he believes that in God’s eyes, marriage only exists between a man and a woman, and that sex between two men is a sin. Jack had no animus toward the men as human beings and would have served them for any other reason, he explained to them, but to help celebrate their wedding ceremony would go against his conscience.

Phillips is free to believe that marriage is anything that he wants which is precisely what Justice Kennedy wrote. That has nothing to do with his obligations to serve everyone in accordance with the law. No one is forcing Mr. Phillips to marry another man or to engage in gay sex. And, in accordance with Lawrence, whether or not the couple engages in sex is none of his business.

It is the height of arrogance to suggest that the baker is, in any way, involved in the celebration of anything. He bakes a damned cake for which he receives money. The bakery is a for-profit enterprise. Whether or not he would sell them other goods is entirely irrelevant. Mr. Phillips’ conscience might be sensitive to interracial or interfaith marriages. The state takes the decision to serve out of Mr. Phillips’ hands. I see that as a benefit to Mr. Phillips. His fragile conscience need not be ruffled for it is not his decision.

The couple quickly received a cake from another bakery, then filed a complaint against Jack with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. …

The fact that they got a cake elsewhere is irrelevant. They were discriminated against. Period.

To be clear, this is not a case of a businessman refusing to serve customers because of who they are, or even because he deemed their actions to be sinful. Jack merely declined to participate in a celebration of their sinful actions. What harm did the same-sex marriage couple suffer? They argue that Jack’s actions offended their dignity. …

Justice Scalia once wrote that a tax on yarmulkes is a tax on Jews. The couple were discriminated against because they are gay. Discrimination is unarguably harmful per se. Trying to excuse it by attempting to minimize that harm is an absurdly unintelligent exercise in sophistry.

The Masterpiece Cakeshop case should be of great concern to American Muslims. After all, mainstream Islam teaches that homosexual acts are sinful, and one can easily imagine scenarios in which Muslim restaurant owners would balk at supporting the celebration of a same-sex wedding, just as they might hesitate for religious reasons to cater a party with pork or alcohol. …

No. No. No. Pork and alcohol are not on the menu of a Muslim establishment. There is no obligation to serve anyone something that is unavailable to everyone. Conformity to Islam means not having gay sex. I do not know if there is an equivalent in Islam to “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Jesus said that Jews had an obligation to pay taxes to the Roman Empire regardless of the fact that the Romans conquered their land. No one is forcing Muslims to consume pork, drink alcohol or engage in sex acts that they disapprove of.

Next June I suspect that Mr. Royer will learn that it is well established in American law (Reynolds v. United States, 1878) that the state can regulate conduct and in doing so is not impermissibly regulating belief. That is precisely why Phillips’ lawyers are focused on what they consider to be compelled speech which is a violation of the First Amendment. That probably won’t fly either but this case is not really about religious freedom.

I find it deeply disturbing, therefore, that several “progressive” Muslim organizations, at least one of which is financed by far-left foundations, have joined atheist and gay rights groups in a friend-of-the-court brief …

So Mr. Royer has a monopoly on Islam. The far-left is, of course, George Soros who has been busy, along with many other progressive organizations, defending the First Amendment rights of Muslims. The kind of support does not seem to be coming from the right. Royer is a bedfellow of people who have expressed the belief that Muslims do not have the same legal rights as Christians.

The argument of these progressive Muslims is flawed. To begin with, the religious belief that same-sex marriage should not be condoned is not analogous to racism, and it is deeply repugnant to suggest that it is. With this argument the progressive Muslim groups trivialize centuries of black slavery, Jim Crow laws, and civil rights struggles.

No. No. No. Making the legal equivalence is not the same thing as equating their experiences. We have never done that. People who express what Royer wrote are usually those who think it is productive to try to create divisiveness between gays and blacks. Discrimination against a disapproved of minority is discrimination regardless of the minority. Muslims, Jews, African-Americans and gays are all equal in that regard with respect to due process and equal protection. Royer should know that. Fortunately for him, his religion is protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Gay people do not have similar federal protection. AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has even asserted that gays have no protections in the federal workplace.

The deeper problem with the progressive Muslims’ argument is that it distorts Islamic anthropology. In positing “the equality rights of LGBTQ individuals,” the progressive Muslims accept and advance the modern invention of categories of human beings defined by their sexual desires. …

Ugh! Accepting the fact that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice is not an invention. It is the product of a huge body of scientific investigation over more than 70 years. Islamic anthropology is irrelevant since we do not make laws based upon religion. Quite the opposite. Mr. Royer needs to obtain some basic education about our constitutional principles.

Even worse, in analogizing religious objection to participating in same-sex weddings and discrimination on the basis of religion, the progressive Muslims equate the imaginary category of human as defined by sexual acts with the very real category of human as defined by religion. Unlike our sexual attractions, our search for ultimate truth goes to the essence of who we are. …

That might not be Royer’s dumbest argument. If not it will sure be close. In brief, it is a scientific fact that religion is a choice. It is a choice that Royer made as a Muslim convert. Sexual orientation is not a choice. The only reason that people argue (in opposition to a mountain of evidence) that sexual orientation is a choice is to advance some form of discrimination against gay people. … Mr. Royer is trying my patience. There is a bit more to his polemic but I am going to stop here lest I increasingly argue in the ad hominem. Ryan T. Anderson doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job as the editor of this outlet.

By the way, according to his Twitter account, Royer is a lover of freedom. That does not seem to extend to gay people being free of discrimination.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.