by DR. SUSAN BERRY 1 Mar 2014
In an interview with Salon, the president of American Atheists reviewed the decision of the American Conservative Union (ACU) to rescind his organization’s invitation to CPAC. David Silverman charges that the ACU is both “pretending” that “atheists aren’t relevant” and that “Christianity still holds water in American society.”
When asked about his reported “pledge” to “attack the very idea that Christianity is an important element of conservatism,” Silverman responded that while “I did say that I was going to attack the idea that Christianity and conservatism were inseparable,” he was not waging “an attack on people of faith.”
“I wanted to raise the awareness that there were atheists in the ranks, and I wanted to raise the awareness that those atheists – at least some of them – think that Christianity can easily and should easily be divorced from conservatism,” Silverman told Josh Eidelson of Slate.
Practically in the same breath that Silverman said Christianity no longer “holds water in America,” he also stated, “There is nothing in my tone that sounded aggressive toward a person, or trashed Christianity in any way.”
Eidelson reminded Silverman that American Atheists’ public relations director recently wrote:
Setting aside the fact that religions are dangerous and false, separation of religion and government is absolutely necessary because if any religion co-opts legislature, it means that no other religion is free to practice as that legislature pertains to their beliefs. The range of applications is nearly unlimited: Marriage equality, right-to-die, abortion, birth control, sex ed, science education, science funding, religious school funding, liquor sales, business hours, employment discrimination, the list goes on and on and on.
“If your group has different politics on these issues than CPAC – and most of the people at CPAC – why should they have you at their conference?” Eidelson asked.
“The reason I wanted to go is to raise the awareness that CPAC is throwing away conservatives. CPAC is shoving conservatives off to the side,” Silverman replied. “Conservatism is declining, obviously… And the reason that they are suffering is because they are doing the wrong thing, by taking the fastest growing… religious demographic in the country… and shoving it off to the side for the sake of Jesus.”
Ironically, Silverman conceptualizes atheism itself as a “religion” at the same time he also wants Christians, at least, to cast to the side those ideas and people Christian conservatives hold in reverence. Somehow, Silverman comes across as sounding intolerant.
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