Bill Maher on running for office: Americans would ‘probably elect a pedophile before an atheist’

Aug 4, 2015

Photo courtesy of YouTube

By Arturo Garcia

Real Time host Bill Maher shot down the idea again of going from political commentator to politician while promoting a show in San Diego.

“First of all, I have no desire to run for office,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Second, I could never even come close to winning, because I’m an atheist. Poll after poll shows Americans would elect almost anyone before they elect an atheist. They would probably elect a pedophile before an atheist. Atheism, in the American lexicon, is just the worst thing you could be.”

Maher has said in the past that while his own lack of faith would stop him from being an elected official, it might not be as big of a concern for future candidates, going so far as to call atheism “the new gay marriage.”

He also recorded a short PSA earlier this year for Openly Secular, an atheist group developed by the Richard Dawkins Foundation and similar organizations, comparing anti-atheist prejudice to discrimination against LGBT communities and encouraging atheists to voice their opinions in the open.


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27 comments on “Bill Maher on running for office: Americans would ‘probably elect a pedophile before an atheist’

  • Nobody losses an argument by stating the bleeding obvious.

    Plenty of pedos in the RC church but not many (any?) atheists. But then they are not elected though they claim popular support.

    In the Uk we can boast that we have both pedos and atheists in our Legislature. Better still, only the pedos are being harassed with threats of prosecution or posthumous vilification.
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  • There are “Christians” that shouldn’t be put in front of a camera/mic. For atheist, one of those people is Bill Maher, and angry, bitter person, he does not help the cause.
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  • 10
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    For atheist, one of those people is Bill Maher, and angry, bitter person, he does not help the cause.

    Even if we assume that he is the “angry bitter person” that you say he is (which I don’t agree with incidentally), to say that he “does not help the cause [of atheism]” is absolutely false.

    Bill Maher’s TV show is very popular and watched by millions of people in the US. The statistics clearly show that the number of atheists/agnostics/nones have risen steadily over the past 10 years and are still rising. And public figures like Bill Maher (and others) play a pivotal role in this social phenomenon. This is FACT, not opinion.

    The best and most efficient way to reach people and make them think is through parody and satire. And that’s exactly what people like Bill Maher have been doing for years.
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  • 11
    Bill Branyon says:

    The reason the religious hate atheist are several. 1. The obvious one, that most people think atheism is nihilism is hard to get over. Because atheists don’t believe in heaven-sent morality then the assumption is they have nothing to base morality on and so will be amoral. A stupid assumption but one that Western Civilization still believes as best dramatized by “The Brother’s Karamazov.” They are afraid we will rape their daughters and murder their wives 2. An atheist forces the believer to confront the void, meaninglessness, the absurd or whatever you call the chasm that is our aloneness in the universe with no hope of delivered meaning. Of course it still means we can make our own meaning, or choose the meaning others have made, but that ain’t good enough. They want supernatural, cosmic or happy ending meaning.
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  • And 3) Atheism seems to be saying to the believer “You are an uncritical fantasist with a childish belief in magic. You are an ignorant, deluded moron”. Given that believers have low self-esteem evidenced by describing themselves as sheep and slaves it is easy to understand how they over-react to criticism and respond with the “My dad can beat up your dad” type level of argument.
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  • Australia’s last Prime Minister was a single woman (“living in sin”) and an atheist……….she wasn’t very open about her atheism because no one ever thought to ask…….just like all of her personal issues, just a non issue. Oh, and she wasn’t born in Australia. When will the USA ever catch up to us?
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  • 15
    Trondesson says:

    On the contrary. Anyone who acknowledges the facts should be angry and bitter (though Maher is neither). There are far too many naive people who are not and believe that the good of mankind can actually and lastingly change things to the better, and who will always be taken advantage of by those who couldn’t care less about anything but themselves.
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  • You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried. Bill may be disgusted and annoyed (as most of us atheists are), but he is far from being bitter and angry. Dawkins gets the same accusation, that he is too “in your face” and should tone down his presentations. But tell me what you would do if you found yourself somehow transported back in time to 17th Century Salem. Would you quietly try to mollify the citizens in order to stop them from burning their daughters and wives to death for being witches? Or would you be a bit more animated and vocal? They might believe you had no right to be so hostile in your communication. I mean, how pathetic was the primitive thinking of their time? But in their defense they had no scientific data to dispel their beliefs. And how idiotic is the thinking in our time with all that is known about science, evolution, and the total fallacies in all religions? We look at disgust at the Salem people and their heinous beliefs. But in 60 years or so the people in modern society will have much more contempt for the religious lot living in today’s modern age and acting as though it was the 17th Century. If modern Christians feel put upon to hear someone like Maher or Dawkins telling the truth, they can simply do what they always do, …fall back on their “religious faith” (which is the research of the ignorant).
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  • I despair. American politics. If you have an informed and rational voting population, Trump would be laughed at as a candidate to run the USA. But he’s leading the pack. So, it says something about the decline of the Gross Domestic Intellect of America. Also, a media debate with 15 second answers is not a reliable method for selecting the most competent person to perform a very complex and demanding job. Again, that Americans place so much importance on how candidates performed in this media circus, again says something about the political maturity of American media.

    And informed population should select the President of the USA on the basis of their management abilities, and the rationality of their platform.

    America. Like an aging film star. You remember it was great, once, but the wrinkles are showing now.
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  • I despair. American politics.

    Your despair should be for American popular media (and the way it exploits the market).

    If you have an informed and rational voting population, Trump would be
    laughed at as a candidate to run the USA.

    We do, and they are laughing. (Many of “us”, including me, are rolling our eyes every time we hear him speak.) It’s just a matter of time until the bullshit poll numbers we are seeing now transform into a more accurate (meaningful?) representation of the situation.

    But he’s leading the pack.

    Don’t be misled. The “pack” he is leading right now is irrelevant. Besides…

    (I get the sense that Trump doesn’t really want to be President anyway – he just wants to be able to say that he ran, and by doing so he contributed to the “conversation” – as well as the stroking of his massive ego.)

    …a media debate with 15 second answers is not a reliable method for
    selecting the most competent person to perform a very complex and
    demanding job.

    Correct, but what other format would be practical with 17 candidates? The purpose of the most recent “debates” is to thin the ridiculously over-sized field of wanna-bes, which is the primary reason Trump’s (and some of the other candidates’) poll numbers are as high as they are. As candidates drop out, and a more “viable” candidate emerges, his current “lead” will gradually transform into a dismal “get-out-of-the-way”.

    …about the political maturity of American media.

    Correct. And those who watch it and respond to polls. But they are not the majority of Americans. Let’s also bear in mind that this is only one political party, which does not reflect the majority of Americans.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/opinion/sunday/whats-the-matter-with-polling.html?_r=0

    [An] informed population should select the President of the USA on the
    basis of their management abilities, and the rationality of their
    platform.

    The “informed population” here does just that, to the extent that it is practical. Unfortunately, being (properly) “informed” is hard work, so too many of “us” take shortcuts, which is human nature.

    America. Like an aging film star. You remember it was great, once, but
    the wrinkles are showing now.

    When was it “great”? This is nothing new.
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  • 22
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    If modern Christians feel put upon to hear someone like Maher or Dawkins telling the truth, they can simply do what they always do, …fall back on their “religious faith” (which is the research of the ignorant).

    Surely you meant “the refuge of the ignorant” right?

    Unfortunately, this reaction is all too common among deeply religious people. When the dogmas of their faith are challenged, they retreat to their bubble. The religious minded person’s “happy place”. Then in retaliation, they often play the victim card and make totally preposterous accusations of stidency, bitterness and bullying, etc… (sometimes even while engaging in some ACTUAL bullying of their own)

    I personally know of no greater irony than this childish, pathologically self-centered and chronically ignorant behavior on their part. Not only are they making complete fools of themselves but they are also murdering any possibility of having the only kind of conversation that could pull them out of their intellectual poverty.

    Every new thing one learns has to come from somewhere or someone. Who or where new knowledge comes from is irrelevant. It’s the knowledge itself that matters. And knowledge is one of the greatest treasures this world has to offer. But most of it can’t be found in a book of fiction from the bronze age.
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  • NearlyNakedApe
    Aug 8, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Unfortunately, this reaction is all too common among deeply religious people. When the dogmas of their faith are challenged, they retreat to their bubble. The religious minded person’s “happy place”. Then in retaliation, they often play the victim card and make totally preposterous accusations of stidency, bitterness and bullying, etc… (sometimes even while engaging in some ACTUAL bullying of their own)

    I think we have seen examples of this over the years, with “all-knowing” egotistical fundamentalists, who have turned up on this site as (in their self-perception) the “star expert” full of “biblical knowledge” who is going to dominate, bully, “enlighten”, and impress, all the “ignorant atheists”.

    They come preaching pseudo-science, pseudo-history, and fallacious pseudo-philosophy, acquired through their indoctrinated fundamentalist pseudo-education, and promptly are demoted from the would-be dominant star teacher at the top of the tree, to their actual position in a meritocracy, as the ignorant disruptive duffers at the bottom of the class, who know little of use or merit, and have a perverse resistance to learning any useful, evidence based, rationally deductive or inductive knowledge.

    It is hardly surprising that they run back to their fellow deluded ignoramuses, whimpering about “bullying”, like some belligerent infant who has challenged adults to try to get all their own way, and is now throwing a temper tantrum!
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  • Thank Doug for your informed response. Sadly, in Australia, we’re the baby brother of America and whatever you guys do, we will do next year. We currently have government by sound byte. Politicians, highly trained in the dark arts of media, failing to answer a single question from independent journalists, with responses like, “That’s not the question you should be asking, this is the question…. blah blah blah.”

    You can’t have a functioning democracy without a fiercely independent and professional fourth estate. Journalism is the watchdog that keeps “The Bastards Honest” (One of our great politicians coined this phrase.) Sadly Australian and American mainstream media are virtually 24 hour advertising campaigns for each party.

    Sigh…
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