My friend, professor Herb Silverman is no stranger to amiably tongue-in-cheek runs for public office (see his lovely autobiography, “Candidate Without a Prayer.” A few years ago he ran for governor of the Palmetto State for the sole purpose of testing the constitutional stipulation of the state that no person could be eligible for the office of governor who denied the existence of “the” Supreme Being (which supreme being, one can’t help asking: Baal?). When asked what would be his first act, in the unlikely event of his being elected, he characteristically replied, “Demand a recount.”
Now Silverman is again seeking high office. He is asking Haley to appoint him senator for the state. Joking he may be, he is actually extremely well qualified. His presence would constitute a significant increase in the average IQ of the Senate, and he is also a man of unusual good humor and goodwill, far outclassing many in that august body.
However, beyond the chuckle of Silverman beating satirist/television host Stephen Colbert as well as established GOP politicians in an informal poll, the real issue – the real purpose of his campaign – is to challenge the presumption that an openly atheist candidate could never successfully run for high public office.
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______________________________Herb Silverman, S.C.’s most famous secularist, gunning for Senate Please vote below!!
Note: other articles about Herb Silverman's campaign to be appointed to Jim Demint's Senate seat below
This just in from the Department of Long Shots: Herb Silverman, South Carolina's most famous atheist, is in the running to fill U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint's seat when the conservative legislator retires partway through his term in January. And Richard Dawkins, the English biologist and author of The God Delusion, has started a letter-writing campaign to put him in office.
Silverman, a former math professor at the College of Charleston and current president of the Secular Coalition for America, knows he doesn't have a snowball's chance in South Carolina. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley will appoint DeMint's replacement, and likely candidates include prominent Republicans like U.S. Rep. Tim Scott and former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster.
If Haley were to pick him, Silverman says, "It would shatter my faithlessness. I might reconsider my belief in miracles." He says Dawkins approached him about the idea, and the point is to raise awareness for the causes of religious (and non-religious) equality and the separation of church and state. "I really hope there's enough publicity about my willingness to become a senator so that at least Nikki Haley has to acknowledge this and make a comment about it," Silverman says.
Whoever is appointed to fill DeMint's seat will hold the office until a special election is held in 2014 to determine who will serve the final two years of DeMint's six-year term.
- Stephen Colbert
- U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy
- Former state attorney general Henry McMaster
- Ricardo Montalban
- Former first lady Jenny Sanford
- U.S. Rep. Tim Scott
- Herb Silverman
- DHEC director Catherine Templeton
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced last week that he would step down in 2013 in order to take the reins at the conservative Heritage Foundation, immediately prompting discussions about whom Gov. Nikki Haley (R) might select to replace him. While the list was quickly populated with Republican candidates who largely reflect DeMint's conservative politics, English biologist and renowned atheist Richard Dawkins recently threw a curveball in the speculative process by endorsing a different kind of candidate.
Herb Silverman, a leading voice of atheism in South Carolina and the currentpresident of the Secular Coalition for America, has little in common politically with Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the first black Republican elected to any office in the state since Reconstruction and DeMint's reported pick to take his place. But in a statement, Dawkins argued that Silverman's appointment to the Senate would fit a similar need for expanding diversity among the state's congressional delegation.
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South Carolina has recently shown itself to be a leader in political diversity, with an Indian-American Governor and the only African-American Republican in Congress. I think the time is now ripe for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to appoint Herb Silverman as the first acknowledged Jewish Atheist in the United States Senate. Herb has had political experience in his 1990 run for Governor of South Carolina, as described in his book Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt.
Herb is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Mathematics from the College of Charleston and will soon be retiring as President of the Secular Coalition for America so he can devote full time to his work in the Senate. He promises to follow our godless Constitution carefully and will take his oath for office as he affirms on the Jefferson bible.
To lend your support, send a message to Governor Haley asking her to appoint Herb Silverman to the U.S. Senate by clicking here http://governor.sc.gov/Pages/SendMessage.aspx