Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The False Comparison Between Islam and Christianity

The e-mail I receive from left-of-center readers in response to my SFGate columns is always revealing. Whether of the frothing-at-the-mouth variety (see Hatemail page) or the earnest and thoughtful, these missives are nothing if not enlightening.

The response to my last SFGate column, "Self-Censorship Threatens the West," said much about the current state of the left. The article looked at the growing and worrisome trend of Western self-censorship in reaction to years of intimidation and violence from the Muslim world. Ever since the Salman Rushdie affair, Westerners have been taught that legitimate criticism of Islam will be met with bloodshed.

But for liberals steeped in years of multiculturalism (whereby only Judeo-Christian civilization can be criticized lest one be considered a "racist"), not to mention an anti-Christian obsession that borders on irrational fear, my observations led to the inevitable question, "but what about the Christian Right?"

All I can say is that I'm quite astounded at the moral equivalence being drawn between riots/burning effigies/burning down churches/death threats/killing people with peaceful protests/opeds/boycotts/criticism/democratic activism. The latter is what the dreaded "Christian Right" does, while the former is what we've been seeing from the seething Muslim masses as of late. And there's absolutely no comparison.

Furthermore, there's this little historical difference between the two religions called The Reformation. In short, Islam hasn't gone through one yet. If and when it does, we can talk about comparing it to Christianity. But until that time, the comparison is wholly inaccurate.

Leftists can continue to harp on about the bogey-man of the so-called Christian Right if they must. In the meantime, the rest of us will be busy engaging with reality.

Cross-posted at Kesher Talk.


Blogger diurnalist said...

Using reason is not something that the Left engage in. All that matters is scoring points (in their mind).

And it's much easier to attack those who'll do you no harm. They're basically cowards.

Saturday, October 21, 2006 3:29:00 PM  
Blogger Fregoo said...

It's not only radical Muslims who try to supress criticism or use violence to push their religious agenda. Would we call these Russian skinheads "true Christians?" I doubt it.

From the New York Times:

Attackers Pillage Moscow Art Gallery and Beat Activist Owner

Published: October 22, 2006

MOSCOW, Oct. 21 — A group of men burst into a contemporary art gallery here Saturday, destroying work by an ethnic Georgian artist and beating up the owner, Marat Guelman. Mr. Guelman is well known both for his display of politically inspired and irreverent art and, most recently, his public attacks on neofascists for their dislike of non-Russians and of Western influence on Russian society...

In Russia, concern over hate crimes grows

Recent racially motivated attacks are triggering debate over how to deal with rising xenophobia.

Christian Science Monitor - Oct 22, 2006

A recent attack by a knife-wielding attacker shouting, "I will kill Jews," is prompting an anxious debate over the rising tide of xenophobic violence in Russia and what to do about it...

Sunday, October 22, 2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

I didn't notice anything about those acts being perpetrated by Christians. Did I miss something?

Sunday, October 22, 2006 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger ExPreacherMan said...

Cinnamon, Welcome to the BlogWorld.

Looks good!

True Bible believing Christians and Jews are the final target of the Islamo-Fascist Jihadists and the liberals all over the world.

Those vanquished, the Islamo-Fascists will then turn on the libs and ask them to "Submit or die." They have already submitted -- so all they have left is to "Die."

Keep up the great work!


Sunday, October 22, 2006 3:57:00 PM  
Blogger ExPreacherMan said...


I posted that comment with my obsolete Blog address.. Blogger would not allow me to sign in under Wordpress... Hmmmm.

Please correct..


ExP (Jack)

Sunday, October 22, 2006 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger JMK2006 said...

One of my favorite ways of pissing off longtime liberals who gripe and curse and the Bush Administration and/or aggressively taking on Islamism, etc. is a) to let them rant & rave till they're out of breath, then b) look them in the eye and ask, "Have you let the love of Jesus Christ into your heart today?"

(I hope that doesn't offend faithful Christians.)

Sunday, October 22, 2006 8:54:00 PM  
Blogger Cinnamon said...

I love it, JMK!

Monday, October 23, 2006 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger Admin said...

Islam, is it how the media portrays it? Is it really all about terrorism and extremism? What do the Muslims believe? What is the Islamic concept of God? What does the Qur'an say about Jesus Christ and what do Muslims believe about Jesus Christ? Ever wondered? Well here is your chance to find out, please visit our blog-->

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Smacktooth said...

The Christian Right is indeed not violent. I think we can agree though, that there have indeed been people who subscribe to the views of the Christian Right, who have committed violent acts. The bottom line is that extremism to the extent of violence, whether Muslim or Christian is bad.

I also agree with your point that comparing Islam to the American RIght is a false comparison... Because one is comparing the Christian ideology of a part of America, with the Muslim ideology of the entire Middle East. Its really just a fallacy of analysis. The comparison would be fair if we compared Christianity generally to Islam generally as well. By that scope, both religions see their fair share of positive and negative attributes.

Still, Islam appears to be more violent. How can we rationally explain this? I, unlike you, believe Islam does not have a natural propensity towards violence. I think that explanation is cliche, uninspired, and just far too simplistic to possibly be correct. I don't mean to attack you here, I'm just being real. Let me explain. I think what we see as the "inherent" violence of Islam is a complex set of circumstances centered on its geography and history. First, the colonial experience of the Middle East is greatly overlooked. The countries that have succeeded in the wake of colonialism throughout the world are few and far between. Islam is primarily centered in some of these former colonies. Much of the violence we consider "Islamic" stems from the violent environments of former colonies. These countries are poor, politically disorganized, and lacking in educational and economic infrastructure. In a chaotic society, violence becomes the most effect means of communication for many people. Thus, much of the terrorism we see is far more attributable to the condition of the state than Islam.

An additional point I consider completely overlooked is the fact that a vast majority of violence committed by Muslims come from extremist fringe groups, like the classic example of the Wahabbi's. The social reality of Islam is that no one practices or believes in Islam as the Wahabbi's do. Well, not no one, but perhaps 99% of Muslims in the world do not.

I hope to have not digressed too far, but I think the main point to be remembered is that extremism in general is what we fear, and we cannot fairly portray Islam, generally, as extreme in the least bit, the same way we cannot explain Christianity, as generally extreme.

Thanks for the post.

Friday, February 12, 2010 7:20:00 PM  

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