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Could fundamentalist Christians help Mideast politics?
Egyptian activists in Cairo on March 27.
April 16th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Could fundamentalist Christians help Mideast politics?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - As protesters battle repressive regimes in the Middle East, some commentators fear that the collapse of these regimes could pave the way for radical Islamic groups to take power.

But anyone who believes that democracy and religious fundamentalism cannot co-exist has not been paying attention to how fundamentalist Christians have strengthened American democracy, Jonathan Zimmerman, a history professor at New York University says in a provocative recent  Christian Science Monitor article.

Zimmerman writes that Americans don’t have to look at Muslim countries like Turkey to see how fervent religious parties can be peacefully integrated into a democracy:

We need only look in the mirror. Over the past four decades, fundamentalist Christians have surged into United States politics. And, in the process, they have enriched - not constricted - our democracy.

Zimmerman says the Christian Right employed virtues normally associated with liberals - reason, tolerance and mutual respect - when they decided to enter the political arena about 40 years ago.  (Many scholars would say that true fundamentalists make up a small subset of the Christian Right, but Zimmerman uses the terms interchangeably.)

Zimmerman, author of “Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory,” writes:

I can hear you scoffing. These are the same people who want to ban abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research. What’s liberal about that?

Zimmerman says fundamentalist Christians are tolerant when it comes to tactics. They avoid heavy-handed religious appeals, believing those turn off ordinary people. They mix their religious claims with appeals to reason.

He cites a book called “The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right” to back up his point. Jon Shields, the book’s author, spent years examining anti-abortion activists at rallies and discovered they didn’t rely on explicitly Christian appeals  to argue their causes, emphasizing reason instead, Zimmerman says.

So anti-pornography organizers indict the industry’s degradation of women; opponents of gay marriage say it harms children; campaigners against gambling stress its addictive qualities, and anti-abortion activists argue that the procedure harms mothers as well as the unborn.

Zimmerman says there are Christian Right groups like Operation Rescue, which blocked abortion clinics around the country, that were explicitly religious. But he says they “alienated most members of the Christian Right.”

And what does this have to do with the uprisings in the Middle East? Zimmerman asks:

Will conservative Islamic parties like the Muslim Brotherhood follow the example of our own right-wing Christians, accommodating democratic practice in order to press their case? Or will they resort to violence and terrorism?

He ends by saying:

Let’s lay to rest the unfair caricature of the Christian Right, which has generally played by the rules of democracy. And let’s hope that the Middle East’s own religious conservatives will do the same.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Abortion • Christianity • Culture wars • Egypt • Fundamentalism • Iran • Islam • Middle East

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soundoff (449 Responses)
  1. Adelina

    Middle East's religious conservatives need to study Christian doctrines to establish a decent democracy for all. Western secularism is a toxic trash.

    April 17, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • jonathan

      what about the 100 million plus Christians in China???
      Do you think that they should follow our example????

      The beligerence of the Religious right in America make it near impossible for them to ever enjoy religious freedoms in China... 🙁

      April 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  2. Muneef

    Fundamentalist Christians do help Mideast Politics by having churchs pay huge amounts to Israel to expand on account of Arabs lands driving them off their lands...another thing I became to know is about building some temple that will speed the return of Jesus to earth...!! Israel is existing still because of those Christians Churchs and Tax Payers Money given by western countries to Israel...
    So who do you take it now responsible of all that bloodshed of Arabs since 1948....?!?

    April 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Lord of the Universe:
    Surprised to have seen many of you to state that God Allah is the Lord of the Moon ! When he is the Lord of the whole Universe and Creation ! You accuse Muslims of Worshiping of the Moon ! When the Quran clearly indicated that the Sun and the Moon are being used for knowing the number of days,other than that known or unknown forms of uses and needs for !

    Now the only verse that in which God clearly has indicated that he is Lord of is the "The Planet of Sirius" that can be found within Q/S/V's 53:49
    An-Najm (The Star) 53:
    And that He it is Who is the Lord of Sirius; (49).
    Pronounced in Arabic "El-Sherra".

    Links for you to gain the knowledge of this opportunity which i feel thankful to those who drove me to search for it and research it, adding to that i became to understand that the planets are responsible for what ever goes on in the universe as to disasters on earth and to creations, i take it from the Quranic verse that this "Sirius Planet A&B" is or are the Head Star or Planet of all Group of universal Planets in being responsible as a Head Gear for the entire movement of all Gears of the the Ticking Clock of time "The Universal Life time Granted to it to work..!

    The Question that we should be asking or looking for an answer for is: 
    Would time here haste for manking being hasty or would it be granted more time by becoming:
    -a non corruptor to earth and sea.
    -for holding right God Message of revelations and laws.
    -for showing mercy and being charitable paying out the poor dues.

    Wouldn't that make a change when majority become as that since as seems that the darker side overtaking the brighter side meaning Evil-being taking Over the Good-being in their deeds ? It is only when signs like that are shown the earth shake and maybe the whole universe shake that same shake ! After all "The head Key Planet of all those universal planets "The Sirius" is in the hand of God the creator and the lord who is either crediting or debiting our intentions and actions on what was deposited upon us to maintain uncorrupted but rather to go on spreading Justice,Respect even before Love since they say "Some Love do Kill more than hate kills" !!!

    Sorry having got carried away kindly read the links that i found to be very interesting and very informative :         

    http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/scientific_39.html

    http://www.harrypotterforseekers.com/articles/siriusforseekers.php

    April 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  4. Muneef

    In one of the meetings on TV programes an Islamic scholar was asked why mankind is so violent and all those killings ?

    He simply answered because all mankind had derived from a criminal that had killed his brother,meaning that all mankind derived from the son of Adam named as Cain who killed Abel who had not performed any attack or even self defense;

    The First Murder*
    [5:27] Recite for them the true history of Adam's two sons. They made an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but not from the other. He said, "I will surely kill you." He said, "GOD accepts only from the righteous.

    [5:28] "If you extend your hand to kill me, I am not extending my hand to kill you. For I reverence GOD, Lord of the universe.

    [5:29] "I want you, not me, to bear my sin and your sin, then you end up with the dwellers of Hell. Such is the requital for the transgressors."

    [5:30] His ego provoked him into killing his brother. He killed him, and ended up with the losers.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  5. Adelina

    Some of the contributions of fundamentalist Christians to the world – the concept and enforcement of freedom of conscience for everyone, education of everyone, and the fundamental rights to quest for the truth without hinderance.

    April 17, 2011 at 4:45 am |
    • frank

      third rate troll is third rate

      April 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • jonathan

      all this came after the crusades of course...after the slaughtering of the Jews in Nazi Germany which predjudice came directly from the benevolent Christians of Europe who would cut your head off quicker than todays islamic...

      Lean a new thing..for you see your calling, brethern, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many might, not many noble are called... I Corinthians 1:26.....When these types took over Christianity they ruined the reputation of Christianity , much like today...Christians behavior in America make it near impossible for Christians in China to ever peacefully enjoy freedoms ...

      April 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Jonathan ? Nazi Germans were Darwinian and were defeated by Christian America. Don't forget 7 million Germans who died. Darwinism only brings death.

      April 18, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Adelina

      @Jonathan: Christians in America did great and are doing good. They helped and rescued so many people all over the world, bringing freedom and human rights. Those who helped Christians in China were Christians in Europe and America, as usual.

      April 18, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  6. Adelina

    Humans are not reasonable, tolerant or respectful, and only Christians know that reality. Mr. Zimmerman is wrong. Muslims alone cannot establish democracy because of its core doctrines, and democracy has been proven to be a nasty garbage by the per vert West. Mankind needs something else – the rule of King Jesus. All nations will be punished for their evil before He comes back.

    April 17, 2011 at 3:11 am |
  7. jedi

    I'm sure there are few christian fruitc@kes out there that still admire false prophet or hero like David Koresh, Warren Jeff or Timothy Mcveigh – fortunately they are in the minority; however the Majority of Muslims are just as lo0ney as these y@hoos

    April 17, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • jonathan

      that being the case you ought to be able to jedi mind trick us into doing what you want.... 🙂 huh? 🙂

      April 17, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  8. Steev

    Fundies are cannon-fodder. Let's send them all to Pakistan and let them wander in the desert before being gruesomely beheaded by their fellow psychotics (fundies) who no doubt believe just as strongly as they do.
    Hypocrisy and irony should come together and let them kill each other off.

    April 17, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • jonathan

      we have supernatural power and don't need to go over there.. all I need is unlimited press....I will treat it as a hostage situation...

      i will create a scenario where every Muslims will stop and listen to my speech which will last for at least say, ten years..I will make proposals which will terrify suicide bombers..I will give the religious right something to do beside cackle all the time about abortions and gay marriage...

      April 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  9. jedi

    Many Muslims today are self-proclaimed moderate and liberal Muslims just like this guy "Mohammad Shafiq" who strongly oppose women pageantry and British Muslim Beauty Queen Shari Bukhari (please refer to;http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/14/muslim-beauty-queen-faces-abuse-from-all-sides-she-says/?iref=allsearch).Also Take note, there are majority of Muslim like Mohammad Shafiq who portray themselves to be a liberal Muslims but supported the implementation of Sharia Law which will bring us back to the mindset of the middle age.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  10. jedi

    Furthermore the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkish AKP and other international Islamist group such Hizb ut Tahrir are not considered as center-right or moderate conservative party but an Ultra-Conservative and Extreme right-wing Islamic Party which are not parallel to British conservative, US Republican, French UMP or German Christian Democrats which has endorse which has endorse the concept of universal declaration of human rights,freedoms as freedom of worship, full liberty of conscience, and places of worship for all faith and equality for all – despite the facts they few extreme right-wing within their wings.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  11. jedi

    Most Muslim have not evolve from religious irrationaliy while Christian have learn to reason with their belief since the European age of enlightenment when philosophy, intellectual, scientific and cultural life prosper. I guess we need to acknowledge that Christians and Jews were once living in society where religion and politics are inseparable which dominate many part of their life- I'm not sure when Muslim will evolve since it is new faith that merely exist 1400 years and their civilization still could adapt to the principle of separation of church and state. Nevertheless there are few Muslim reformers that are fighting for human rights and democracy and people like Irsahd Manji, Sheikh Palazzi and Zuhdi Jasser may one day be seen as John Locke or Emmanuel Kant of the Muslim world

    April 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • jonathan

      I've heard this kind f crap before.. it ain't selling...a suicide bomber seems to leave the message that there is no reasoning with this people who lie to your face and stab you in the back with clear conscience...we need something supernatural to defeat them...I propose this ....I have supernatural power.. 🙂

      April 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  12. Reality

    As with most Islam-based upheavals, the Sunnis and Shiites will continue their hatred for each other ending in more bloody civil wars. As usual, the Christians will be the collateral damage.

    Some examples:

    Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon:

    From: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/02/03/iraq.cleric.ap/index.html

    "Al-Sistani was apparently referring to Abdullah bin Jabrain, a key member of Saudi Arabia's clerical establishment, who last month joined a chorus of other senior figures from the hardline Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam that regards Shiites as infidels.

    Bin Jabrain described Shiites as "the most vicious enemy of Muslims."

    And it "ain't any better" in Palestine:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/22/world/middleeast/22jihadists.html?ex=1311220800&en=477ff07cfa579449&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    An excerpt:

    "The conflict in Lebanon has ignited a robust debate on jihadist Web sites over backing for Hezbollah, the Shiite group that set off the crisis when it seized two Israeli soldiers on July 12. The discussions reflect the widening divide between Shiite and Sunni Arabs in parts of the Middle East. Accusing Palestinians of being anti-Shiite, one Iraqi Shiite militant bitterly wrote, “It is better to concentrate one’s efforts on helping the Shiite kinfolk rather than the Sunnis.”

    More examples:

    Eliminate the 1311 year old blood feud between the Sunnis and Shiites, and we will be able to bring our troops home.

    Iraq Sunni minority, Shiite majority, 24/7 blood letting, 4000 American soldiers dead, 100,000 Iraqi civilians, dead.

    Iran, Shiite theocracy, 24/7 support of global terror.

    OBL, Sunni/"Wannabee" madman, 24/7 support of global terror.

    Fill in the answers below:

    Hamas, Sunni or Shiite??

    Fatah, Sunni or Shiite??

    Pakistan, Sunni or Shiite? Which group assassinated Bhutto??

    Malaysia, nearing a Sunni theocracy?

    Bahrain, Sunni or Shiite???

    Phillipines, Sunni or Shiite???

    Taliban, Sunni or Shiite???

    Somalia, Sunni or Shiite???

    April 16, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  13. Cassarit

    This is a bunch of nonsense. The fundamentalist Christian ideal like the fundalist Islamic ideal requires the establishment of a government that is absolutely subordinate to the will of God. Any fundamentalist who is happy to coexist in a democracy or under any form of government that rejects or questions the primacy of God, is a compleat and utter fraud.

    April 16, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • stainedglassreflections

      Have you met any fundamentalist Christians? I no longer consider myself to be one, but I grew up among them, and I can tell you that democracy is something they highly prize. And while they, like every other engaged citizen, advocate for what they believe to be just and right, none of them wants to live in a fascist state. They do want to live in a state where unborn children are not killed because they are unwanted and where traditional marriage, which has (until this century) been recognized by every society in the history of the world, is respected and affirmed.

      As for subordinating the state to the will of God, Christian recognize the kingdom of God to be a kingdom of the heart. That is, the kingdom of God exists in the hearts of those who trust and obey Him. Until hearts are changed, it is useless to change laws. That is the real reason why Christians appeal to reason rather than dogma in their arguments.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If christians, fundamentalist or otherwise, and. other believers want "to live in a state where unborn children are not killed" they can make huge progress towards this worthy goal by merely adhering to their stated values. 70% of abortions in the USA would be eliminated as a result, no change in any law required. Again I ask, why isn't believer's faith strong enough to stop them from getting pregnant or impregnating?

      April 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • jonathan

      @ stainedglass when fundamentlist Christians really show a real interest in children and not just a lot of words then Women will turn and stop aborting babies..this fundamentalist camp is just a lot of noise in a parade....they were shouting a couple months ago in San Francisco to stop abortions but di they stop over in Oakland and show any love to the drug addicted wacked out crazy unwitted people already alive ???? people whom they ridicule and call trash...and nigs ???? Huh? 🙂

      April 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
  14. Tony Awad

    I can only sum up my thoughts on this article "American naivety to the point of stupidity at its best".

    April 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  15. TG

    In the year 33 C.E., the Roman Empire was under the control of Tiberius Caesar, who was a despot, whose reign abounded with ordered killings, even having the commander of the Praetorian Guard Sejanus put to death. Not withstanding was the corruption of Herod Antipas, district ruler of Galilee, that had John the Baptist beheaded.(Matt 14:10)

    Yet Jesus never sought to involve himself in the corrupt Roman political arena nor did he teach his disciples to do so, but rather he told them on the night before his death: "If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you."(John 15:19)

    And to Pontius Pilate later, he told him: "My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” (John 18:36) Thus, Jesus and any true Christian remains neutral as to the world's corrupted political affairs, directing everyone's attention to God's kingdom as the only permanent solution to the world's problems.(Matt 24:14)

    April 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Evan

      My friend, you could not have said it better.

      "Denying the existence of the Son is like denying the existence of the Sun".

      "Jesus could not have simply been a good moral teacher: He claimed to be G-d. Either He was a liar, which His flawless and selfless character deems unimaginable. He could have been a lunatic, but His wisdom and His flawless answers to questions comdemn this too. There is only one more option: He was who He claimed to be: the Word made flesh. This leaves us with two options: we can believe or we can reject".

      April 16, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Steev

      Then why do Christians continually shove their religious beliefs into the political arena?
      They see that their god does nothing for them and think this means they are supposed to ignore what Jesus taught and where he led.
      Instead of following these words, Christians act in opposition to Jesus when they intrude into politics. This is very clear according to the NT.

      April 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Not really, we have evidence for the Sun, and none for the son. Other than your mouldy book that is.

      April 17, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Evan

      jimtanker, "Not really, we have evidence for the Sun, and none for the son. Other than your mouldy book that is"

      That's quite a shallow argument, there. The Gospels, the writings of the earliest Christians, Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Mara Bar Serapion, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, the Jews (Jesus' enemies), Lucian, and many other 1st and 2nd century authors mention Jesus.

      In fact, from extrabiblical sources alone, we can conclude that 1) Jesus was a man 2) from Nazareth. 3) He was born in Bethlehem 4) to a virgin 5) named Mary 6) during a census. 7) As an adult, He was a wise man 8) who performed mircales and 9) claimed to be the Son of G-d. 10) He had disciples, 11) and was crucified 12) during the reign of Pontius Pilate in Roman Palestine. 13) He was buried in a tomb, 14) but on the Sunday after his crucifixion, the tomb He was buried in was empty. 15) Forty days later, His followers declared He was resurrected, 16) and spread this message throughout the Roman world.

      To deny the existence of Jesus of Nazareth would be to deny almost any historical figure or event before the 1700's.

      April 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • jonathan

      @steev , you 're gonna have to shove that down our Christian throats a lot more than that....

      many of us have throat 's like Jesus said that are like an open seplecre.. 🙂

      April 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • jonathan

      @ Jimtinker ...I have the greatest evidence there is that Jesus is all that! The gift of the Holy Ghost ....which a lot of traditional Christians do not want is the absolute greatest and most powerful witness that Christ indeed is risen from the dead and seated at the right hand of power.....The Holy Spirit is all that Christians ever needed...Ask then why don't they boast in Him who is sent to them that believe? see what they say... 🙂

      April 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  16. Fred

    What in Christianity equates to Sharia Law? Nothing. A concern for unborn life means a person has a conscience, so don't even go there. Mainstream Christians don't endorse the weirdo cults where women wear long dresses, pump out babies, bomb abortion clinics (horrors that they are), etc...Mainstream Muslims generally do endorse some pretty radical things. Polls repeatedly reveal most Muslims would have no problem with Sharia law. Do you know what that entails? You should find out if you don't. C'mon Zimm!

    April 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  17. GregorySchlies

    The comparison of Islamic fundamentalists to Christian fundamentalists is ignorant. These are two completely different systems of belief with the former including the goal of world domination under Sharia Law and the latter emphasizing an appeal primarily to the heart and inner beliefs and choices of people. Christianity is inherently peaceful because it is about persuading people to personally receive God's grace. Islam is inherently violent because it is about imposing Sharia Law, a violent legal system, upon the world.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • PIPPO66

      How peaceful is Christianity? did they not use the bible to justify Slavery of Africans. It is the same terroristic religions. It was Christianity Then and Islam now.Who ever says that they are not the same is looking to rewrite history.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Evan

      PIPPO66, you don't know very much about Christianity, do you? Read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. How is this immoral? Do you think it is wrong to love your enemies, or give without any thought of reward? Christianity does not support violence at all (turn the other cheek).

      You are correct: the Bible does allow slavery. However, read the Jewish laws regarding slavery: slaves were treated as human beings. The punishment for hurting a slave was to set them free. The punishment for not being able to feed a slave is to set them free. The punishment for killing a slave was the same for killing a free-man. Slaves were regarded as humans, which is radically different than the slavery laws of other nations.

      Atheists aren't innocent either, my friend: eugenics, the belief that certain races are unfit to live because they could hinder the evolution of our species.

      April 16, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Steev

      Evan, you are confusing atheism with racism. They are completely different and unrelated.
      Atheism is the lack of a belief in a god. That's it. Nothing can be added.
      Racists love the idea of eugenics because it looks like an avenue to creating a super-race or master-race. That's racism for you. Nothing about whether there is a god or not in eugenics.
      Most racists are religious, using religious texts to support their racist views. They are the ones most likely to support eugenics and are also most likely to point to it as "god's will" that these "imperfect" races be destroyed or enslaved.
      Atheists are just people who don't believe in any god. That's it.
      I hope you can see just how retarded you are being about this. We don't need posts like yours here. Feel free to go back to Faux Noos.

      April 16, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Evan – You take ONE part of your bible to say that it is a religion of peace just like the MuslIms take a couple of verses and say that they are the religion of peace. You need to read your book again. It is filled with hate, murder, and oppression. That is the reason why religion, mainly christianity, is the cause of most of the wars on this planet. From the Crusades to WWII. Dont kid yourself. Hitler used the christian religion to pit the arabs agains the jews in order to secure his southern flank. If it wasnt for that the world right now would be completely different.

      April 17, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • John Richardson

      Fundamentalist Christianity is peaceful? Where've you been living for the past three decades?

      April 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Evan

      jimtanker, you are completely correct: there is alot of violence in the Old Testament. However, you're forgetting something: the Bible does not approve of this violence. G-d, for exmaple, would not allow David to build a Temple because he was a violent king.

      Yes, Hitler did use the Christian religious to corrupt people, but that doesn't mean he should have. He also used atheists beliefs to corrupt people, too (eugenics-the belief that certain races to not deserve to live because they could hinder the evolution of the human race)!

      Christianity should be peaceful. Just because a handful of Christians abuse Christ's loving message does not mean they should.

      April 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Evan

      Steev, "Atheism is just the lack of belief in a god".

      This doesn't work. Let's use the Santa example: as a kid, you believed Santa gave you presents. As you get older, you realize that you parents give you your presents. However, in this position, an atheists would say "You're presents are just there. Their existence is pure fact" and would attempt to use all kinds of scientific reasons to prove how these presents came from nowhere. However, given the choice between believing in Santa and believing in the atheistic view, I think many of us would choose the Santa theory. It at least accounts for the existence of the presents! (Note: G-d does not represent Santa in this view).

      "you are confusing atheism with racism"

      ...and you're confusing Christianity with racism. I know not every atheist believe in eugenics, and you know that not every Christian wants to kill every non-Christian either. Atheists do this alot: they over-generalize. Just because a hand-full of Christians abuse Jesus' loving message does not mean every Christian is a hate-filled moron.

      April 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • jonathan

      The rhetoric of the Religous Right in America make freedoms for Christians in China near impossible..Christians in China will never enjoy freedom of expression because of the ugliness of Christians right here in America...
      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/world/asia/18beijing.html?_r=1&hp

      April 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  18. Fred

    Mr. ZImmerman equates Islam with Christianity. This is a big mistake. They are fundamentally different. How many Christians blow themselves up along with others? Maybe one or two here and there. How many Muslims blow themselves and others up? Lots and lots. C'mon Zimm, you can do better than that.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Name*Hadi

      No they just drop bombs from the sky to kill thousands i.e Iraq and then claim collateral damage.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      Meaning they do not blow up them selves but rather blow others up....from as far as they could be....

      April 17, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • jonathan

      The rhetoric of the Religous Right in America make freedoms for Christians in China near impossible..Christians in China will never enjoy freedom of expression because of the ugliness of Christians right here in America...
      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/world/asia/18beijing.html?_r=1&hp

      April 17, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  19. brucemo

    These belief blog articles are being pointed to by the front page at CNN's website, and so they are getting a lot more attention than they otherwise would. Some of them are very strange and don't deserve any attention, really.

    This particular article doesn't have much content. "Some political groups broaden their agenda in order to attract more followers, and end up diluting their message." Fine. "This means that there is not much to fear from a radical group with a bad message." Not fine.

    It's not true that if the original message is bad, that people who express that message will invariably be co-opted. If that were true, you could argue that any political movement is pointless for this reason. While it is true that impetus for change tends to be blunted, resulting in a new boss that has some similarities to the old boss, there are usually some major differences and a lot of minor ones. A group with a bad message is likely to get at least some of it across if it comes to power.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  20. Swamp Yankee

    They did help the Middle East- by showing them how much US policy is directed by a fundamental hate for Muslims and waking them up to the dire threat the West poses to them.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Adelina

      Swamp, America does not hate Muslims. She hates none. She just knows every nation needs democracy for the world to be safer, although Western democracy is proven to be filthy especially for children.

      April 17, 2011 at 4:40 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.