An atheist professor said Tuesday that it’s acceptable to criticize Christians but not Muslims, because he does not “fear” retaliation from Christians.
“I know what keeps me from critiquing Islam on my blog is just fear,” Phil Zuckerman said at a discussion on religious liberty at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. “I’ve got three kids.
“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,” said Zuckerman, who is a self-described atheist and professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif.
Zuckerman was a panelist at the discussion as part of Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project at its Berkley Center.
Kirsten Powers, a Democratic pundit, recent convert to Catholicism and author of the book “How the Left Is Killing Free Speech,” said at the event that she does not understand why Muslims can oppose same-sex marriage and not be targeted by the Left for it, but calling out Christians for their beliefs is acceptable.
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?
“I absolutely agree with you,” Zuckerman said.
“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.
“As an atheist – where on planet Earth is the death penalty meted out to atheists?” Zuckerman said. “It’s only in, I think, 24 Muslim countries.
“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.”
Zuckerman mentioned comedian Bill Maher, actor Ben Affleck and atheist and author Sam Harris and the reaction to their remarks about Islam.
“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.