South Carolina’s Secular Crusader
By LAURA PAULL - TABLET
Added: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 20:35:30 UTC
The 2012 presidential race has brought religion into politics on an explicit level, as the candidates have competed to establish their bona fides as believers and defend their religious affiliations. And who could forget former Republican candidate Rick Santorum’s statement that the very concept of separation of church and state made him want to throw up? This year’s presidential contenders’ religious practices rest squarely at the center of political discussions.
Herb Silverman, founder and president of the Secular Coalition for America, has been following all of this very closely. During the Republican primaries, particularly around January’s race in his home state of South Carolina, Silverman wrote a series of columns for the Huffington Post in which he humorously observed the efforts of various politicians to impress voters with their spiritual credentials. (Full disclosure: I was his contact when he submitted his columns.)
Silverman has spent much of his life thinking about his beliefs, in an iconoclastic manner evidenced in his regular “On Faith” columns in the Washington Post. More significantly, Silverman knows about the intersection between religion and politics first-hand. As he recounts in his new memoir, Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt, Silverman—raised as an Orthodox Jew and now an outspoken atheist—ran for office in South Carolina to challenge a state law requiring candidates to assert religious faith. After an eight-year battle, Silverman won his legal challenge.
Using his own experience and years of political observation, Silverman uses his book to expose the hypocrisy and the lack of logic in politics and public life. Writing in simple prose that brings to mind the clarity and depth of a mathematical theorem, he traces the youthful origins of his atheism and his journey to its “logical” conclusion: activism on behalf of secular America.
“I’m hoping for the day when we will judge candidates on their positions and integrity,” he writes, “and not on their professed religious beliefs.”
Stephen Cave - Financial Times Comments
What we really know about our evolutionary past – and what we don’t
Stacy L. Memering,Viviana A.... Comments
Magic at Every Age
A review of Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True
Oliver Kamm - The Times Comments
Review of The Magic of Reality
John Gray - The Globe and Mail Comments
A review of The Future of Blasphemy Speaking of the Sacred in an Age of Human Rights
by Austin Dacey
Donald Prothero - eSkeptic Comments
How the Blind Watchmaker Made Eyes
Steven Paul Leiva - Atheists Unitied Comments
“Freedom of Religion & The Secular State” By Russell Blackford – Book Review