America's Top Atheist Aims To Build Jewish Support for Ungodly Agenda

David Silverman Says Many Back Push for Church-State Divide

courtesy of fox news

By Nathan Guttman

Published March 20, 2014, issue of March 28, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

David Silverman considers himself a conservative. Yet organizers of the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, a massive gathering held yearly in the nation’s capital, did all they could to make him feel unwelcome. They even took away his presenter’s booth.

It was not just that Silverman was an atheist. As president of American Atheists, a national advocacy group, Silverman was there to represent an organization that fights for the rights of irreligious Americans.

Silverman was not discouraged. Instead of sitting at a desk, he walked through the halls of America’s biggest convention of conservative activists and handed out fliers advocating separation of religion and state. The fliers reminded members of the group most closely identified with bringing God into politics that millions of American voters hold no religious beliefs.

“I thought I would enter a room full of hate, but I did not find hate at all,” Silverman said as he completed his rounds at the March 7 conference. “In fact,” he added, “more than once I met people that finished my sentences.”

Silverman is no stranger to debates. He is, in fact, always happy to engage in arguments about religious beliefs and his lack of them. It’s a skill he has honed from childhood, in arguments with his mother about having a bar mitzvah (she won, and he was called to the Torah) and at the lunch tables at Brandeis University, where the young atheist would strike up conversations with students at the kosher food tables.

Today, as he tries to translate the power of millions of irreligious Americans into a political voting bloc, Silverman relies on many Jewish troops within the atheist movement to help him reach his goal. “There are a lot of Silvermans in atheism,” he said

The decision by CPAC organizers to ban American Atheists from participating in the conference followed Silverman’s warning there that Christian right-wing organizations should feel “threatened” by the atheist movement when it comes to their hold over the Republican Party. But Silverman said his point was more practical than ideological.

The Republican Party, atheists believe, is making a mistake by alienating, or at best ignoring, conservative Americans who oppose religion, Silverman explained. Indeed, Silverman speaks of making atheists into a voting bloc that “both parties will want to solicit.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.