Atheist explains honestly why he feels free to criticize Christians

Atheist explains honestly why he feels free to criticize Christians

It’s not that you didn’t know this.  But there are times when it seems like no one has the guts to simply say it.

Phil Zuckerman, a professor of “secular studies” at Pfizer College in Claremont, CA — and avowed atheist — did speak with refreshing candor on this topic in a panel discussion on religious liberty at Georgetown this past week.

Penny Star of CNS News reports that Kirsten Powers, journalist (and Fox News contributor), was another of the panelists.  During the discussion, she asked why Christians are criticized — often brutally — for their beliefs about same-sex marriage, whereas Muslims aren’t.

Powers cited the hidden video recordings made earlier this year by Steven Crowder, who asked Muslim bakers in Michigan if they would bake a cake for a same-sex wedding and they refused.

“If these had been Christian bakeries, it would have been on the front page of the New York Times, so I’m wondering why we’re able to have this amicable, disagreement with Muslims for having this view,” Powers said. “Why are we not able to do that with Christians?”

Zuckerman readily acknowledged the discrepancy.

“I absolutely agree that it is okay for those on the left to critique, mock, deride Christianity, but Islam gets a free pass, which is so strange, because if you care about women’s rights, if you care about human rights, if you care about gay rights, then really Islam is much more problematic – sorry to paint Islam with a huge brush – and much more devastating,” he said.

He also readily acknowledged the reason. (Emphasis added.)

“I would say two things,” Zuckerman said. “I know what keeps me from critiquing Islam on my blog is just fear.

“I’ve got three kids,” he said. “So I know I can say anything about Christianity or Mormonism, and I’m not living in fear, which is a testament to Christianity and Mormonism, and that’s wonderful. Thank you.

“I would never write the same kind of stuff that I do about certain religions – Judaism, Christianity, LDS, whatever – as I would about Islam – just straight up fear,” Zuckerman said.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable things in this case is that Zuckerman didn’t try to change the subject and pull the “Crusades” card.  President Obama’s jarring reference to the Crusades at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2015 was a notorious instance of this rhetorical gambit, which seeks to obscure and “balance” the reality that militant Muslims actively threaten critics of Islam — whereas Christians, Jews, and adherents of other religions don’t threaten their critics.  Consider Obama’s comments:

Obama said that even though religion is a source for good around the world, there will always be people willing to “hijack religion for their own murderous ends.”

“Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Contrast them with Zuckerman’s comments from the Georgetown panel:

“Where have human rights flourished the most? In Christian nations,” he said.

“I see Christianity as a great friend of secular culture,” Zuckerman said. “I see Islam as much more of a threat, much more debilitating. I’m not talking about Muslim individuals that I happen to sit next to on an airplane or are my neighbors. I’m talking about doctrines and those that have the power to enforce those doctrines in the form of Sharia law.”

In one sense, I could do business with this gentleman (to paraphrase what Margaret Thatcher famously said of Mikhail Gorbachev).

But we do get into the problem that if Christians and Jews are ground down far enough, and silenced and repressed in a once-free West, there will be no one left to make a safe nest for atheists and “secular culture.”  Zuckerman clarifies the seed of his own demise — and that of secular culture — in his comments.  He’s not willing to speak out and defend his freedom to criticize and dissent, because he fears Muslim retribution.

The truth is that to stand up to the juggernaut of Islam’s — or cultural Marxism’s — universalist logic, you have to have something you are compelled to say, more than you fear retribution — or death.  Christians inherently have that.  Atheists may or may not.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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