An atheist professor known for his blog posts promoting secularism recently weighed in on why he believes the media willingly slams Christianity but treats Islam with respect.
Speaking to CNSNews.com, Phil Zuckerman, Professor of Secular Studies at Pitzer College, acknowledged that the liberal media seems to find it permissible to "critique, mock, [and] deride Christianity," but give Islam 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 you really... uh... then Islam is much more problematic," the professor noted.
From a human rights perspective, Zuckerman said Christian nations are among the most successful, while Muslim countries are undeniably oppressive.
"As an atheist, where on planet Earth is the death penalty meted out to atheists? It's only in, I think, 24 Muslim countries. Where have human rights flourished the most? In Christian nations."
While Islam is undeniably "problematic" for those who advocate human rights, Zuckerman said he would show contempt to Christianity before criticizing Islam, as Christians are far more tolerant than Muslims.
"I see Christianity as a great friend to secular culture," he said. "I see Islam as much more of a threat. Much more debilitating."
He clarified: "I'm not talking about Muslim individuals I might sit next to on an airplane or my neighbors. I'm talking about the doctrines and the power to enforce those doctrines in the form of Sharia law."
Zuckerman admitted that fear prevents him from critiquing Islam in his writing on blogs and in books. "I can say anything about Christianity and Mormonism and I'm not living in fear."
He also expressed appreciation that he is able to criticize many religions without worrying for his life or that of his three children.
"I would never write the same kind of stuff that I do about certain religions-Judaism, Christianity, LDS-that I would about Islam because of just straight up fear," Zuckerman said
Two other famous atheists, HBO host Bill Maher and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, have also slammed liberals who they say are giving Islam a "free pass" despite the human rights abuses being committed in Muslim countries.
Maher and Dawkins particularly criticized liberals they said would shoot down free speech in order to protect Muslim sensitivities. Dawkins pointed out the case of Warwick University's students' union declining atheist and critic of extremist Islam Maryam Namazie the opportunity to speak at the school in October, out of fear of offending the religion.
"If you can't speak your mind at a university campus, where can you? I mean that's what universities are about. It's about free speech," Dawkins said.
"So they think that if you you criticize Islam you're being racist and you're absolutely right that the regressive [liberals] give a free pass to Islam," the atheist author continued. "They're kind of right about everything else, I mean, they're right about misogyny and all of the other good things. But in the case of Islam, it just gets a free pass and I think it is because of the terror of being thought racist."
Maher added that those who criticize Islam are also called "Islamophobes," which he said was a "silly word that means nothing."
In April, Dawkins said in Twitter messages that Islam continues to uphold punishments such as stonings, and preaches about world domination, while Christianity and Judaism have moved away from such "Middle Ages" teachings.
"Laws designed for 7th-Century tribal desert society are not always well suited to modern conditions. Jews & Christians mostly realise this," Dawkins wrote in a post.
"Yes, Christianity & Judaism are every bit as stupid as Islam. But they don't preach world domination, theocratically imposed law, stoning, etc.," he added in a follow-up post. "And yes, Christianity and Judaism USED TO preach equally terrible things. But we live NOW, not in the Middle Ages. That's kind of relevant."