Bill Maher claims President Obama ‘is a drop-dead atheist, absolutely’


I’m covering this Bill Maher stuff because I think it does and should go both ways: if Donald Trump had said some of this stuff, we would cover it, so just because it’s Bill Maher and I might have some sort of political alignment with him, doesn’t mean that he wasn’t off-side. Maher appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this week, and all of the political blogs are analyzing and over-analyzing Maher’s claims/jokes. Maher says, in part, that President Obama is a closet atheist, that Obama only aligned with Rev. Wright for political expediency. Maher makes fun of Hillary Clinton for naming the Bible as her favorite book (which, okay, is funny because… Hillary’s favorite book is The Bible?).

Imagine how upset people would be if a conservative “accused” Obama of being a closet “drop-dead” atheist. Yeah – I mean, we can debate Obama’s spirituality and whether there was an element of political expediency to his shows of faith, but I think it’s off-side to declare that Obama is an atheist, and it plays into what his worst critics say about him. I think Obama is an intellectual, and his intellectualism plays a part in his spirituality.

Meanwhile, Maher also shaded Stephen Colbert a little bit in another interview. Maher questioned CBS’s choice to replace David Letterman with Colbert, saying: “It’s a mystery. I’ve never seen him as himself . . . I’ve only seen the ‘character.’ So I have no clue . . . and I don’t think many people do.” He also said he thought “Craig Ferguson or Chelsea Handler” would have been better for the job. R U SERIOUS?! I mean, Craig is fine, but Chelsea Handler?!

Oh, and Maher was on The View yesterday too – he made some accusations about Karl Rove.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

193 Responses to “Bill Maher claims President Obama ‘is a drop-dead atheist, absolutely’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Talie says:

    I think he’s right. A lot of them aren’t nearly as obsessed with church as they pretend to be.

    • Hannah says:

      He grew up in a secular home. It’s unusual (albeit not unheard of, of course) for someone to grow up in a secular household to turn to religion later in life. I think either Richard Wolfe or Jonathan Adler wrote in their books that the reason Obama and his campaign were rather unprepared for the Rev. Wright controversy was that the Obamas actually hadn’t been to church all that much and thus weren’t really familiar with the Rev’s more outrageous “material” .

      • Cecilia says:

        I read the Obama’s attended that church for around 20 years. They were married by Rev. Wright, who in my book is questionable. That said, Bill Maher is a hateful misogynist & a real smart-alec. Can’t stand him. If O wants to stand up & say he is an atheist, I would accept that. I think that misogynist Maher is trying to steer away thoughts that O is really a closet Muslim.

      • Esmom says:

        The Obamas maybe have become more religious because of their daughters, too. Often people who weren’t religious or who had moved away from their religion,go back to it because they want their kids to be brought up with a religious foundation or some sort. And while Rev Wright was controversial, that denomination (UCC) and church is pretty progressive so I could see them being drawn to it (the Rev aside).

      • homegrrrl says:

        Cec, my first reaction exactly. BM likes to stir controversy, and has an hateful edge, albeit not the “you’re not Jesus enough” shaming type, but a liberal type hater. He’s clearly not a “family” man, and seems to not “get” it when church and faith become integrated for the sake of children and family, even for the most cynical and educated. I feel faith is a private issue anyway, haven’t we made it well past the crusades?

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        @Cecilia, who wrote: ” I think that misogynist Maher is trying to steer away thoughts that O is really a closet Muslim.”

        You do know that President Obama was predominantly raised by his ‘white’ Christian grandparents in Hawaii, don’t you? For the life of me I can’t phantom where people are getting this ‘Obama is a closet Muslim’ crap from. His sister may have been raised that way, but the President wasn’t. His mother sent him to live with her parents in Hawaii when he was 10-years old, where he lived from the time he started 5th grade through high school. She sent Barack away from Indonesia because he had trouble living/adjusting to life there … because he wasn’t a Muslim.

    • Molly says:

      agreed. I remember when President Obama was running for President in 08 and they were delving into the Chicago church he attended and the pastor (who did something un PC….I don’t remember what it was). I felt like Obama just seems too smart to listen to a ranting preacher.
      BUT in a lot of parts of this country, what church you go to and if you go at all is a big deal, sometimes the biggest deal.

      Here in my southern oasis, I’d say a fair share of the people around me believe Obama is a Muslim communist (an oxymoron?). I don’t like President Obama for many reasons but some people on this planet are plain stupid.

      • Lucinda says:

        I don’t think he’s an atheist. Nor do I care if he is or not. But his association with Reverend Wright is much closer than the media has really talked about. In his own words in a speech given in 2008 where he addressed remarks made by Wright, Obama says he had known the man for over 20 years, was married by him and had both his children baptized by him. Even for a casual Christian, that is a pretty big association. Marriage and Baptism are the two holy sacraments of most Christian churches. I would say his relationship with Wright was far more than casual. If I can find that much in a 5 minute search, I’m sure there is much more to it the relationship than “oh, I didn’t really agree with him”. I’ve had pastors I strongly disagreed with (and I’m a very casual Christian). They didn’t baptize my children and I left their churches. I can only judge him on my own personal experiences and I find his argument that he didn’t really know this guy well or associate much with him to be weak at best and an outright lie at worst.

    • SpookySpooks says:

      Being obsessed with church and being an atheist aren’t the only options. As much as I agree with Maher on certain things, it bothers me that he thinks every Christian is a fundamentalist.

      I’m a left liberal feminist AND a practising Catholic. So are a lot of people I know.

      • Lollipop says:

        That is the thing that bothers me most about Maher, and I agree with most of his opinions.

      • elisa says:

        While I also agree with Maher on some things, I also have a problem with his generalisations of Christians – and really many spiritual and religious people. Most people are not fundamentalists (of any faith or no faith at all). I am a liberal and practicing Catholic as well and, to me, my religion is just that mine. I do not like nor want anyone to characterise or speak of my religious views for me. Maher has a right to his opinion, of course, but I never like it when someone just pronounces another person to be this or that. It is just as patronising for Maher to call President Obama an atheist as a right-wing person has to call him a Muslim. They are doing so for their own agenda. No one has a right to anyone else’s religious views and the president’s religious views shouldn’t matter to the electorate anyway.

        There is nothing wrong with having an atheist, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. President.

      • Lucinda says:

        Unfortunately Maher gives atheists a really bad name. If I were an atheist, I would be offended by him.

      • Anoni Mus says:

        Yes, he does give atheists a bad name and he is veering dangerously close to being a “fanatical” atheist. Fanaticism or extremism of any kind is dangerous. I love some of his rantings and I believe him to be very intelligent, but that part of him makes me uncomfortable. And I’m saying this as an agnostic/borderline atheist.

    • Trixie says:

      I’d LOVE to have an openly atheist president, but it’ll be a while until the general population will vote one in.

    • Kimble says:

      My first thought too – like being an Atheist is the worst thing ever!!!

      Fact: There are NO atheists (out of the closet) in Congress.

    • Ag says:

      nothing wrong with it, of course. but, according to 13 state legislatures (including the state i live in), you can’t run for public office if you’re an atheist. like, you legally can’t do it. unless you’re willing to be closeted about it, i guess.

    • jane16 says:

      Thanks for the link, Ag. That is truly shocking. It seems unconstitutional, doesn’t it? I wish someone would try to run as an atheist in each state and then sue. The ACLU should get into this.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Ag, I had no idea! That is horrifying and CLEARLY unconstitutional!

    • Belle Epoch says:

      Remember Jodi Foster’s character in Contact, who refused to say she believed in God and as a result was voted down for the space mission? That part of the movie felt real to me. The misconception is that being “godless” means you are a heathen, when in fact atheists like Ricky Gervais make a point of saying you should behave well simply because it’s the right thing to do while you’re on Earth.

    • Ag says:

      it seems like it would be unconstitutional (i’m no constitutional lawyer, so this is just based on my basic understanding of it), but i think the problem with someone challenging it would be the negativity that people feel toward atheists, which would color the case? i don’t know. but, yeah, the ACLU should get on that shit.

      the laws where you have to declare a belief in “a god” (or “God”?) also make it facially illegal for people who are buddhist, for example, to run for public office, as they don’t believe in a diety, but are religious. awkward. so, the laws are basically designed to support the judeo-christian (and other monotheistic?) religions. sigh.

      i’m not concerned for myself, since i have no political ambitions, but we have a son. he’s a toddler now, so hopefully things will change before he grows up, but should he choose to be an atheist (like me) or a buddhist (like my husband), AND want to run for public office, he might not be able to. it’s sad.

    • Tswise says:

      I think Maher is right too.

      Also, although I’m a liberal and atheist myself (and btw, “atheist” is not a slur or insult like the CB seems to think it is and therefore I would NOT be offended if Republicans said he was atheist), I’m not overly fond of the President or his political skills. He kowtows too much to conservatives for my liking. So the fact that I think he’s a closet atheist is a point in his favor, but I don’t really ruminate on it otherwise.

    • lisa says:

      it would be a step up, imo

  2. Jen says:

    People get upset at conservative “media personalities” because they influence actual politicians.

    Bill Maher has no influence over anyone. And also, he’s an asshole and everyone knows it.

    • alik says:

      I agree with this so much. His main judgements of Christians (all lumped together of course) is that they are inflexible, self-righteous and arrogant. He needs to look in a mirror.

      • jane16 says:

        Good point. I agree with a lot of his comments, but you’re right, he thinks all Christians are the same, its ridiculous. I also don’t agree with his comments about kids and/or parents. He has no kids, and criticizes everything modern day parents do. Its really over the top.

  3. littlestar says:

    Weirdly enough, my husband and I have talked about this a few times, whether or not Obama is an atheist. We both think that he is indeed an atheist. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

    • word says:

      I agree there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t understand what a person’s religious beliefs have to do with how well they do their job.

      • littlestar says:

        Completely agree, word. But sadly some people’s religious beliefs do affect their jobs, and in a big way. You just have to look at several conservative politicians – they are constantly trying to push their religious beliefs down the publics throats, like everyone should just agree with and believe in what they religiously believe.

      • Lucinda says:

        They don’t. But for many people, they view religion as the only way to gain moral guidance and if you don’t have religion, you don’t have any moral guidance to keep you from doing awful stuff. It’s not true for most people, but for some people, the only way they keep themselves on the straight and narrow is through their faith. Therefore, they believe that must be true for everyone else.

      • Esmom says:

        Lucinda, very well said. I think there’s a lot of hypocrisy among politicians about religion, too. Some may use it as a pious shield to deflect from more unsavory sides of their personalities.

      • Sugar says:

        There’s nothing wrong with being an atheist. The point is that Obama lied about being a Christian, according to BM.

        I don’t know whether Obama is an atheist but that he would take the most politically expedient stance should not surprise anyone. He’s a politician through and through and any good politician does what will get him elected.

      • Brittany says:

        My brother lives in Belgium and I have a lot of friends and family in other countries. Most are astounded how religion is even a part of how somebody is elected here. It shouldn’t be but it is here and it is a huge problem I feel. Religion should have no business in politics but they seem to coincide with one another in this country.

    • SpookySpooks says:

      Why do you think he’s an atheist?

      And I never understood why his religion should matter. Our prime minister is an atheist, our president is an agnostic and the country is 88 % Catholic. Personal lives of politicians aren’t as big of a deal in Europe.

      Also, atheism is viewed as a sign of intellectualism, and I have been told by atheists that I’m stupid because I believ in God.
      I have many atheist friends and no one ever tried to covert them or said something bad to them.

      • Hannah says:

        Just out of interest: where are you from Spooky?

      • SpookySpooks says:

        I’m from Croatia. And we do have our problems with bigotry, no doubt, as does every country.

      • Leen says:

        Spooky, that’s one of the things that annoye about atheists and I consider myself agnostic. Personally I just don’t care about whether god exists or not, I don’t know why people care who believe in what. I don’t think people who do believe in god are idiots. Personally I had a very good upbringing that my family has all shades of religious beliefs and we all respect eachother and each othet’s spiritual path or lack of (for instance my aunt is a Muslim and wears the hijab, my mom is kind of agnostic, my sister considers herself a devout Muslim, my grandmother is Christian and my dad is an atheist). We were never taught that one is more intellectual than the other. I think my sister who is a Muslim understands science, mates and physics waaaaay better than I ever did and I’m the agnostic lol.
        Ugh sorry about the typos but it’s my iPhone >.<

      • SpookySpooks says:

        @Leen, yeah it’s similar in my family. My grandma is a hardcore Catholic and very liberal politically, while my grandpa doesn’t exactly like the Church yet he’s conservative. My other grandma is also hardcore Catholic and her best friend is a Muslim. They always visit my family on Christmas, and my family visits them on Kurban Bajram. My family helped them out a lot during the war too.
        As much as it is horrible to portray every atheist as a devi worhisper, it is also bad to portray every religious person as a bigot.

      • littlestar says:

        It sounds silly, but it’s just a feeling I get that he is one. The way he talks about religion and believing in god, it just sounds hollow to me, if that makes sense. Like he is saying the words, but there’s no real belief behind it. I consider myself an atheist (or nothing really, which I know makes even less sense lol) and I have no problem with other people believing in god or being religious. I just intensely dislike when religious people get upset at me for not believing in god – or when religious people try and force their beliefs onto the general public (politicians in general), like we all should believe in it and want the same thing. It’s what I believe (or don’t believe in), so as long as I’m not causing any trouble let me think how I want to think, and you can do the same too, right?

        And I dislike when atheists call other people stupid for believing in god. It just makes us look foolish! How can we expect others to listen to what we have to say when we are putting down other peoples beliefs?

      • Esmom says:

        Littlestar, I know what you mean and interestingly I got the same vibe from George W Bush. I realized I think it’s just awkward to mix religion and politics, which is why it comes off as ringing false to me when politicians start invoking god. Religion/spirituality can be such a private thing and politics is so public that I guess it’s not surprising that mixing the two doesn’t always work.

      • Leen says:

        @Spooky, totally agree that it’s unfair to judge every atheist/religious person as a horrible person depending on where you lie on the spectre. Honestly there are as*holes on the atheist and religious side, nothing to do with their beliefs, all to do with their personality! This is what I noticed a couple of times, some people I know left their religion after being really religious.. well.. they are still annoying and think their belief (or lack of) is the best belief and everyone is dumb not to follow it.

    • Macey says:

      I was going to say the same thing… what’s wrong with being an atheist? I dont really care to label myself b/c I hate labels but I guess I would fall under the agnostic/atheist category too. I really just consider myself a realist but to each his own when it comes to religion.
      I know a lot of conservatives assume if you’re an atheist you worship the devil or something but that couldnt be farther from the truth. I live in a very religious, conservative area and the ones that hide behind their religion are out there committing more sin and such than any atheist Ive ever known.

      • Godwina says:

        +1. Even this thread/post bears a tinge of misrepresenting or misunderstanding atheism. It’s everywhere, and it’s no wonder most atheists still don’t tell people they’re atheists.

      • Jedi says:

        I found it almost scary “coming out” as an atheist to friends and family and was met with a lot more hostility than i expected – and i live in Canada surrounded by liberal and not overly-religous people. I havent even told some family membersand friends because i seriously think it would cause major problems.
        i understand why so many people around the world keep quiet. It can be very isolating and in some cases, dangerous (thank goodness not for me). Some people seem to take personal offense when you leave a faith – as though me not believing in a god is a critcism of their beliefs.

      • wolfpup says:

        One misnomer about atheism, is that without a notion of a God, one is incapable of developing a moral theory. Conscience is not something we think, it is a comes from empathy; love, compassion, tenderness. The sturdiest laws come from this space.

        Just because one believes in a god, which God? Western culture, too often thinks that their notion of God, includes all the other notions. Different gods for different people is the reality. I don’t know why it is so important for people to think alike. That said, I reject the notion of a God that cursed the earth, and all its future beings. Or a God that would create a hell, or send anyone to it. The folks that most heartily wish harm on others, want people to go there. I do not believe in human sacrifice for any reason whatsoever! But then, that’s me.

        I love this earth – it’s not cursed – it’s wonderful and awesome. And I love human life!

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @Jedi-Even on this comment thread, I’m seeing a lot of generalizations, judgements and an undercurrent of hostility toward atheism.

  4. Syko says:

    I don’t see why that would make any difference anyway. He’s just starting s**t again.

  5. Molly says:

    I can’t stand Bill Maher. He is so condescending, rude, and opinionated to anyone who thinks/lives differently than him.

    BUT I do agree with the Colbert questioning….I’ve only ever seen him in character too.

  6. word says:

    Does Maher have a new book coming out or something? Looks like he’s trying to generate publicity.

  7. eowyn says:

    Anyone who followed Obama’s career/books knows that he is christian. In fact, I believe he is downplaying it.
    By the way, you can be christian and pragmatic. You can be christian and supports lgbtqa’s rights. You can be christian and believe Darwin. You can be christian and a scientist. You can be christian and think it is a personal matter which should be lived in private separate from your public life. You can be a christian and believe in a separation between Church and government, Church and society (Obama was for that separation when he was still a senator. His speechs are really interesting.).
    Not surprised by Hilary’s answer she IS a religious person.

    • JudyK says:

      I agree w/ everything you said.

      I’ve never been able to stand Bill Maher, even though I agree w/ him politically most of the time. He’s both rude and crude, and, to me, that translates to NO CLASS.

    • elisa says:


      Having and practicing a faith and having common sense, an education, etc. are not mutually exclusive.

    • Isabelle says:

      See him as maybe downplaying it as well or much worse in the eyes of modern Evangelicals….he’s a die hard liberal Christian.

    • Godwina says:

      Agree. I’m an atheist and several of my friends are devout. There has never been an issue on either side with this difference. It’s really about values and politics and ethics and empathy for others, which both believers and non-believers can possess in common. That’s what binds people and that’s what makes the world better, where possible.

  8. RobN says:

    I wouldn’t guess atheist; I would guess politically expediency followed by couldn’t care less.

    And the last time Hillary picked up a bible, I’d guess it was to chuck it at Bills’s head.

  9. Mixtape says:

    How quaint of Bill Maher to take it upon himself to determine other people’s beliefs.

  10. Alexandra says:

    People take other’s religious beliefs way too seriously. It should not matter what others believe in, only yourself. Who the frig cares if the president believes in God or not. Mind your own business.

    I love Bill Maher. At least he brings Conservatives on his show and is respectful. If his audience boos at an unpopular opinion, he tells them to stop and listen.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      But who is he to say what Obama believes, especially when Obama says he’s a Christian? I wouldn’t care if he was an atheist. But I think he has a right to define his own beliefs without Bill Maher declaring he knows better. It’s irritating.

  11. Sixer says:

    I don’t really get it – is it that “atheist” is somehow bad or out there or weird?

    We just don’t really have conversations about the faith or lack of faith of public figures in the UK – Northern Ireland excepted, of course, and even then it’s not really a question of actual belief. There was some vague chat about Tony Blair because he wouldn’t admit to wanting to convert from CofE to Catholic while he was Prime Minister but nobody would even think to ask a politican if s/he believed in God or not or even talk about his/her faith when discussing them.

    • littlestar says:

      I don’t think Maher is saying being an atheist is bad, because he regularly lets it be known that he is an atheist himself. But yeah, the overall tone of the article above and even some commenters are making it sound like being an atheist is bad or weird :(. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, but it has always been kind of sad to me that many people get so upset at others being atheist.

      • Sixer says:

        It’s just that the undertone seems to imply it would be a shocker.

        I mean, is it kinda like coming out as gay? It would be a banner headline? “OMG: President comes out as an atheist?” I don’t mean that in a crude way – I just mean, if the President (or any prominent politician) were to say they were atheist, it would be a big thing? A newsworthy thing?

        What I mean is, this would never even be a topic on a chat show in the UK. It’s just not of interest.

      • littlestar says:

        Sixer, have you ever read/heard of the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins? I read it about 5 years ago and enjoyed it (and maybe this sounds a bit pathetic, but it made me feel okay about being an atheist), so I probably don’t recall it correctly, but I remember Dawkins arguing at one point in the book that atheists are just as persecuted as gay people etc or have become the new stigmatized group in America. I’m not sure I completely agree with that statement (atheists don’t have to fight for basic rights like getting married), but it does make a bit of sense. But it’s not like atheists can come out and say they are atheist without repercussions. Only my close friends and immediate family members know I consider myself a non-believer – it is just easier to just avoid any kind of discussion regarding religion with other people. Any time atheism is brought up in my extended family, people are visibly upset and angry and have said that it make you a bad person for not believing in god. And this is in Canada of all places.

        Anyway, I’m probably just talking out of my *ss here LOL. My opinion is that people for the most part are born “good”, and that we all strive to be good people and do good things, because it just makes sense and our lives are better for it, regardless of believing in god or not.

      • Sixer says:

        I have read! I’m an atheist myself, so enjoyed it. I am inclined to agree that Dawkins’ combative approach in interviews etc is obnoxious, though.

        I can honestly say it had not occurred to me that you could be labelled as bad, immoral/amoral because you don’t have a religious belief. I’m actually feeling quite shocked, reading the posts here!

      • Godwina says:

        There’s a recent survey that Prof. Google has up her sleeve somewhere that shows how indeed atheists are the least-trusted group in the US right now. I’ve seen it a few times. It’s depressing (and also kind of funny, in a way).

        Here’s a first link but there is much more out there.

        Or my favourite: atheists as mistrusted as rapists. Rah!

        (Ironic addendum to that last: in Norway many years ago, me and my atheist boyfriend found a wallet stuffed with cash and no ID, just a business card. We turned it in to the cops, cash intact. REALLY not that hard.)

      • Leen says:

        I know the feeling, the assumption that atheists have no ‘morals’. As if we need a god to tell me what is right or wrong.

        But… I’m also kind of in the minority of the atheist/agnostic group in the sentence of I’m not very outspoken about my lack of belief you know? And I haven’t become an agnostic because I thought religion was controlling or evil, rather my transition was because I just… was not convinced there was a god. And since inside my heart (I know taht sounds very cheesy), there’s nothing compelling me to believe in a god, why should I force myself to? And such my apathy towards theism grow and I just stopped. Now I don’t know if there exists a god, or not, and truthfully, I kind of don’t care. I don’t think there is, but again I don’t know. I am human afterall. The ironic part is I attended catholic school for 10 years, kept getting told that I was gonna go to hell, had an Islamic education at school as well, as they separated christians and muslims into different religious classes, and meh, I was always the one who knew a lot about Islam, argued convincingly and actually enjoyed the classes, but I just didn’t believe. I do have a lot of appreciation for religions, I do, but there’s nothing in my heart tugging me to believe in God. On that note though, I have never hid my beliefs to anyone. Not even to all my very religious muslim classmates who keep going on and on and on how I’m gonna burn in hell (I found a trick though, I just became more knowledgeable about Islam than any of them). But even then, it just never bothered me. Because they can try all they want to convert me (and at that point I KNEW more about Islam than any of them) but to no avail.

        I also read the God Delusional, and ah man, Richard Dawkins gets on my nervous, the way he speaks, the way he writes. I dunno but I guess I’m in the minority.

      • littlestar says:

        Godwina – well, those articles were sure depressing to read. Lol. I can’t speak for all people who would identify as atheists, but I certainly TRY to be a good person (I need to learn to be more patient with people though, that’s for sure) because it makes me feel better knowing I’m putting something positive out into the world. I’m assuming most atheists (or at least the ones I know, I guess it’s not ironic that all of my close friends identify as agnostic or atheist) have the same outlook as me. So it’s sad that we are seen as an apparently distrustful group :(.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I agree 100% with you, Littlestar.

      • Tswise says:

        @sixer “I mean, is it kinda like coming out as gay? It would be a banner headline? “OMG: President comes out as an atheist?” I don’t mean that in a crude way – I just mean, if the President (or any prominent politician) were to say they were atheist, it would be a big thing? A newsworthy thing?”

        It would be a bigger deal than coming out as gay, and yes it would be a banner headline for weeks if not months. Atheists are THE most hasted demographic in the United States, as demonstrated by poll after poll. There will be an openly gay president long before there is an openly atheist one.

    • blue marie says:

      It’s not a bad thing and it shouldn’t matter.

    • Eve says:

      “I don’t really get it – is it that “atheist” is somehow bad or out there or weird?”

      For some people (voters) saying you’re an atheist is practically the same as saying you’re the devil’s child.

      If I was once attacked — here, on this very website…I mean on a freaking gossip website! — for saying I was an atheist, just try to imagine the situation of someone who’s running for public office. In Brazil, a politician would be dead in the water if he ever, and I mean EVER, said out loud he was an atheist.

      P.S.: I have countless stories to tell about how close I was to being physically abused (because verbally? I am all the time) for stating I was an atheist, but I think there’s already too many toxic stories around here lately. I lost a job once because of that — and, trust me, that’s the least of what has happened to me. Sometimes (or many times), depending on the environment, I really HAVE to keep my mouth shut about being an atheist for the fear of being badly injured, not just insulted.

      P.P.S.: A friend of mine — also an atheist — told me about a staggering poll he had read about here in Brazil: 40% of the people asked (from many different religions) what they thought of/how they felt about atheists used the word “hate”.

      • here's Wilson says:

        agreed eve…. I’ve gone so far as to ask my children not to disclose my atheism to shield them from the verbal attack that typically follows…I.e. your mother is going to HELL!

      • SpookySpooks says:

        Jesus, I am so sorry Eve. People are so horrible sometimes.
        I’m from a very Catholic country, but maybe because we had communism for so long, people at least know what atheism is so they don’t think they are devil worshipers or whatnot.
        As I said, I have many atheist friends and I never heard anyone say anything bad to them.

      • Kiddo says:

        Where do you live? Not specifically, but what region?

        The puritanical history still has a streak through the culture in the US, that is for sure.

      • blue marie says:

        I’m sorry you have to go through that Eve.

      • Eve says:

        @ Kiddo:

        I’d like not to disclose exactly where I live here in Brazil, if you don’t mind. But it’s a region strongly influenced by religion. Not that that matters much — most places in Brazil are.

        I was born in a very small (Catholic) town but have lived in a capital city for most of my life. The worst insults/attacks occurred precisely here, from people who went to private schools, from people who are supposedly well-informed — that’s why I’m so scared sometimes. If people who went to school feel that way about me as an atheist, let alone what an ignorant person would do to me.

        A quick-scary story: it was midday and I was with a friend at a square (we had just left school — I was in highschool back then) and this guy (carrying books which I assume were religious) stopped in front of us and asked, in a very serious tone, if he could sing us an anthem in “honor to the Lord”. I calmly told him I was an atheist and nothing that he’d say or do would change that. I swear he just stood there for a long time, trembling, his hands clenching, while he’s leaning forward — I would have been seriously beaten hadn’t I have my friend with me AND hadn’t I been at a public space.

        No, I’m not implying that all religious people are like that. But I gave the example above just to show you that I DO have to be wary of when and where I can say I’m an atheist.

      • elo says:

        Wow Eve, I’m sorry to hear that. I am an atheist too, I’m from the buckle of the bible belt but I’ve always been out about it and most people are rather ambivalent, sometime curious about it but I’ve never felt a threat of violence. It is terrifying that religion holds that much power over people still.

      • Kiddo says:

        @Eve, Sorry Eve. Here’s a hug.

      • Macey says:

        @ Elo

        I was born and raised in the bible belt too and while I cant say Ive ever felt physically threatened, I can say there is definitely a stigma to it. Not sure where you are but in my neck of the woods you are judge very harshly for your beliefs or lack of in my case. Its always by the christian types who judge and condemn everyone for everything while they’re out doing all kinds of criminal and immoral things. I always kept it to myself just b/c I dont feel like I need to explain myself to anyone but you would be snubbed or instantly thought of as an outcast/devil worshipper or even “white trash” if you disclose your atheist/agnostic to most around here.

      • Ag says:

        holy $hit, eve. holy $hit. unreal.

        people’s opinion of our “character” is super low here in the US, but the outward treatment is nothing like what you’ve encountered. UGH.

        i’m originally from a former soviet-bloc country that is prob 90% catholic. the social treatment of non-catholics there was reprehensible, with even small children who were non-catholic being verbally abused to no end.

      • elo says:

        @ Macey, I’m in Texas, born in the land of thousands of churches Abilene. Lol. I’m in a big city now, but even before I never had a real issue. I’m a sculptor, and work in the arts, so as an artist everyone expects you to be weird anyway. I have had a few people unfriend me on fb but that is really the extent of my experience. Events like Eve mentions hurt my heart, no one of any walk should be treated that way and have to live in fear.

      • littlestar says:

        That’s horrible, Eve :(. Absolutely horrible.

      • Eve says:

        @ Kiddo et al:

        I appreciate your support. The internet community can be great sometimes. Unfortunately, in real life…

        Here’s another story, and this one is, in a way, worse than mine.

        Remember the atheist friend I mentioned above (the one who told me about the survey)? Well, he has lived, for the past 10 years or so, with the same woman. He’s VERY faithful to her, loves her deeply and has to take care of her 24/7 because she has epilepsy. She had a stroke when she was just 21 years old, survived but now she suffers from MAJOR seizures. Anyway, he and HIS mother (not hers) take care of her all the time, the light from a cell phone could trigger a seizure, she needs someone to assist her in the bathroom — total lack of privacy for everybody involved (she can NEVER be left alone so he works from home and when he comes to class, he only leaves his apartment after his mother arrives there to take care of her). As I said, he loves her deeply and told me he would never ever leave her because he had “married the best person he knew, his best friend”.

        What does that have to do with anything, you ask me? He told me many people approach him and flat out ask him why he hasn’t left her, you know, especially considering he’s an atheist.

        I sh*t you not.

      • Sixer says:

        Bloody hell, Eve. That sure is some scary stuff.

        Here, nobody would ask a politician running for election whether or not s/he believed. You might get the odd comment on a prominent politican’s religion for diversity reasons “he was the first Muslim/Hindu/Sikh cabinet minister”, “she’s the only Muslim/Hindu/Sikh on the party’s front bench” but that’s about it.

        There’s quite a dislike on the part of many for the “militant atheists” like Richard Dawkins but that comes from all sides, regardless of faith – he’s just considered rude, not profane or certain to burn in hell or anything like that.

      • sonalaceae (Nighty) says:

        Ouch, I actually worked at a catholic primary school here in Portugal, run by Nuns and they knew I didn’t believe in God… (though I was baptized and did first communion). Never got fired for that… Though they kept nagging me that I should believe, and maybe I should go to church on Sundays. My answer was always: I’m not lying or being false, so I won’t go to church; that would be hipocrisy…
        And they were respectful. I remember one saying: oh, well at least your heart is in the right place, though you should believe in God… 🙂

      • sonalaceae (Nighty) says:

        @Eve, about the epilepsis of your friend’s wife? No medication works?? What about surgery? They never tried that out (though it’s quite risky?)
        I’m asking because I also have epilepsis, but mine is under control with the medication, I can even drive a car…
        Maybe they should talk to the best neurosurgeons and neurologists of the country or even, if possible for them, outside the country…

      • Eve says:

        @ Nighty:

        I try not to ask him any personal questions, you know? Only when he himself brings up the subject. Apparently, up until very recently the several doctors they’ve been to never dignosed her specific type of epilepsy correctly.

        For a long time, he said she was under such heavy medication she looked like a zombie (literally drooling from the corner of her mouth). So he decided to stop with it all, went to Brasília (Brazil’s capital, better hospitals and doctors there) and they finally found out what was going on. As for leaving the country, I don’t think he can afford that. Plus, as I said, apparently ONE doctor finally diagnosed her correctly — she doesn’t have many seizures, but the ones she has he described to me as “epic” (to the point of the police coming to see what was going on with that man trying to restrain his wife…like, they thought he was physically abusing her when he was, in fact, trying to stop her from hurting herself — that happened when they stopped at the traffic lights, some other car next to theirs had speakers with loud music or something). Loud music, neon lights, bright colours, almost anything can trigger one of these seizures and he has been living with that for the past 10 years.

        I believe she takes some type of medication, but I don’t know what it is and I won’t ask him (as I told you, I only talk about it when he brings the subject up himself).

        P.S.: I asked him about a possible surgery — he told me it was not suitable for her case/or the risks were too high.

        P.P.S.: But my point was about people actually coming up to him, surprised that he’s such a nice, faithful husband who stands by his wife even though he’s an atheist. He tells them off sometimes, he told me. But he also told me it came to a point where he doesn’t give a flying f*ck anymore. That the people who ask him that question are not worth his time.

        I can only tell: really nice guy, loves and treats his wife like no other — heck, practically his own life is entirrely dedicatd to hers…but he gets sh*t for being an atheist.

      • littlestar says:

        That’s crazy, Eve. Crazy that people equate believing in god with being good. I said above that I think people are inherently good, that we do good things for ourselves and others because it improves OUR short lives. What does god have anything to do with being good? And what happens if we find out for sure that there isn’t a god, do all the “good” people in the world start being bad then?

      • sonalaceae (Nighty) says:

        Yeah, that’s complicated, some types of epilepsy (the worst is called Great Evil) are very tricky and complicated. About the surgery, probably an area of the brain that can’t be operated…. I feel so blessed, in spite of having it.. my life is basically normal, apart from taking the meds daily and not be allowed certain things (but those don’t matter much: can’t drink alcohol, caffein, – who needs coffee and getting drunk?? – have to sleep properly – 7 hours a day). I even live alone…
        All seizures are epic, I scare everyone around me, when I have one… And myself, because I know when I’m about to have one: dizzyness and I stop breathing before fainting..Every single muscle of my body just shuts down, while I’m still conscious..
        The feeling of wanting to breath and your lungs not obeying is probaby like drowning….
        I sure hope she’ll get better with time… At first I had seizures anytime of the day, and then, for some reason it changed, and now only have them when I’m sound asleep… Maybe she’ll improve with time..

      • Eve says:

        @ Littlestar:

        Oh, that almost doesn’t bother me (believing in a god equals being good). What I find incredibly annoying — and dangerous — is the immediate assumption that NOT believing equals being bad and selfish. Or believing in a different god, having another religion equals “enemy”.

        Seriously, this is a draining subject for me. I feel drained after having to type these things. But I can guarantee you none of what I say is a lie, or even exaggerated. I told them with all the details I could remember.

        The thing that happened at the square back when I was a teen — my (female) friend was scared shitless when that man, speaking loudly, stopped in front of us. I could see her breathing heavily as he was standing there even after I told him I was an atheist (seriously, his eyes and veins popped as he was staring down at me — we were sitting on a bench, he was standing up). After a long time, he left — he’d walk a little, stop and look back at us, then he finally disappeared. She thanked me after he finally left (by the way, she isn’t an atheist like myself but she was afraid of the guy).

        @ Nighty:

        She’s been improving. He told me sometimes she spends weeks without having any seizure. But then again, he takes alll measures possible to avoid them. Truly dedicated husband.

        Now, I really have to go. This subject (atheist being treated like the devil’s minions or even the devil itself) makes me feel physically and mentally weak.


      • Kiddo says:

        @Eve, They sound like a bunch of dumb asses.

      • Shaye Kay says:

        I didn’t realize that people could be that stupid! Shouldn’t surprise me but somehow that kind of ignorance and cruelty always does.
        I’m a Christian and southern so for some that means I am a critical, judging, slow-witted, person that needs a God for a crutch.
        Also a stupid, ignorant assumption so I guess we all live with the bias of people that can’t or won’t accept that they are actually far more biased (as in against anyone that doesn’t agree with their belief system).
        There are people in this world who care more about the condition of your heart than the absolute need to have you agree with them but they do seem few and far between.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      Um, yeah. Like he said in the clip, surveys have repeatedly shown that people would vote for a woman, a Jew, a gay guy, or even a Muslim before an atheist. They are at the bottom of the list of consideration.

    • pru says:

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with being an atheist personally, and it wouldn’t keep me from voting for someone.
      Realistically though, any politician has to be religious to be elected in the US to any higher office. Mostly because, I think, religion is considered a moral gauge.

      • mayamae says:

        Exactly. I think a lot of people feel that their morals and ethics are in place through their religion, and serve the goal of pleasing God and earning heaven. So they don’t understand that non-believers also have morals and ethics. Political conservatives also tend to equate atheism with communism.

      • Godwina says:

        Agree with how impossible it is to be elected in the US right now as an atheist, but your comment also reminded me of this quip by Amanda Marcotte:

        “Atheists are routinely asked how people will know not to rape and murder without religion telling them not to do it, especially a religion that backs up the orders with threats of hell. Believers, listen to me carefully when I say this: When you use this argument, you terrify atheists. We hear you saying that the only thing standing between you and Ted Bundy is a flimsy belief in a supernatural being made up by pre-literate people trying to figure out where the rain came from. This is not very reassuring if you’re trying to argue from a position of moral superiority.”

        Leaving aside Marcotte’s condescending jab at religious belief, it kind of *is* terrifying to me that there are people out there who avoid doing horrible things to others only out of fear of repercussion, not because of any innate sense of right and wrong and empathy. Shudder.

      • Kiddo says:

        @Godwina, That is a chilling thought.

      • mayamae says:

        What’s funny is how things have changed in American politics. When Kennedy was elected, some people feared he would follow direction from the Pope, and be unable to separate his religion from his secular duties.

        It’s now almost a 180. Non-believers have to pander to Christianity. Howard Dean was a non-believer, but played the Christian game when he ran for President. It was disappointing, but I understood it.

        I’m not an atheist, but I can be negatively influenced by the behavior of those sharing my beliefs. For instance, I was completely pro-life in high school. The actions of some whackadoo protestors changed that. I swear, I just woke up one day and realized I was pro-choice.

        Following that theme, I grew up in the Midwest where you didn’t wear your religion on your sleeve, and your faith was private. Having now lived south of the Mason-Dixon line, I am so tired of Christianity beating me over the head. I was actually once asked on the job if I was “angry at God”, and had a job interview where I was told it was expected of me to pray with my patients if they asked. While I’m still a Christian, I find myself respecting atheists more and more.

      • Kate says:


        While things have changed some, American politics still requires its politicians to subscribe to an “appropriate” faith. If Romney had been a Methodist, Episcopalian, Baptist or Presbyterian, he very well might be President right now. Many, many evangelicals did not vote because he is a Mormon. I believe it made a difference in 2012, maybe not enough for him to carry the day, but it was significant, especially in the Republican primaries.

  12. Dame Snarkweek says:

    Despise Maher’s indefensible sacriligious and offensive treatment of belief systems that others hold dear. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and so many others. He seems to have a dried up, leathery little soul imo.

    • Lollipop says:

      Islam and Christianity yes, but I don0t remeber him saying anything bad about Judaism or Buddhism.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      He’s an Atheist. He would tell you he has no soul.

      But someone’s religious beliefs should have no bearing on their job (unless of course, they are a priest or rabbi or minister, etc.) I’m neither a better nor worse psychiatrist because I’m a practicing Green Witch. I’m just me.

      • here's Wilson says:

        myself an atheist I once explained to mom the idea of not having a ‘soul’

        years later she still brings it up, in tears no less ( devout Catholic)… sigh

      • lrm says:

        I didn’t know that you couldn’t technically have both a soul AND be an atheist?
        I mean, a belief in a god isn’t required to believe in a soul-as far as something ineffable that travels and continues on….
        I think there must be shades of grey there….in life in general.
        Anyway, I don’t see why people need to be on any team-religious, atheist or anything else…There’s no real way to know one way or the other, as a human in a body, whether or not there is a god or the afterlife. And there’s no way to prove that there isn’t one. So the atheist thing-at least according to philosophy classes (:, implies a belief in the concept of god, enough to be able to say that one disagrees with said concept. It validates the concept, simply by creating your identity out of opposition to another’s concept. And round and round and round we go….weeeeeeeeeee….

      • in_theory says:

        @ Irm: If religion was just an individual thing, no-one had to be team-anything, you’re right. Unfortunately religion is a tool of politics, and sooner or later, if you are in certain positions or want to get to a certain position, you will have to “out” yourself as the member of a team (and as has been discussed in this thread, certain positions can’t be reached if you aren’t a member of a certain religion or at least pretend to be). That’s why secularism (the separation of church and state) is such an important concept. Sadly there’re almost no places in this world where this is actually working because institutionalised religion keeps hanging on to its political power or tries to gain it back where it’s been taken away.

        And about the soul part: For me atheism is linked with materialism (the philosophical kind), and that means no soul.

    • Dame Snarkweek says:

      Just to clarify, Maher openly mocks people who adhere to or subscribe to any higher power/being/presence – basically anything that can’t be quantified which covers all religion.

  13. delorb says:

    Why would an atheist attend church years before any political aspirations? Jeez. He doesn’t have a crystal ball or a wayback machine that could tell him that a birth certificate from Hawaii might come in handy. Nor does he have a machine that would tell him its a good idea to attend a christian church because someone might call him a Muslim. He probably attended church because he believes.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      He was a community organizer in a rough part of town where the pulse of the community is the church. In all fairness, he would’ve had to have worked with religion and church to be able to be effective in that sort of an environment. It’s also very hard for blacks to say that they are atheists if they are. A lot of the sense of community comes from religious belief and affiliation.

      • delorb says:

        Working with the church to effect changes in that neighborhood are different from attending church on Sundays. Its like everything he does gets turned into something sinister. Sometimes what you see is what you’re getting.

        As for being hard for blacks to say that they’re atheist, I do it all the time. Have been doing it since my 20s.

  14. mystified says:

    Atheists who see themselves as having a lot in common with Obama tend to see him as a fellow atheist. Christians who see themselves as having a lot in common with Obama tend to see him as a Christian.

  15. Kiddo says:

    I may agree with Bill Maher on some things, but I don’t care for him as a person and I think he can be a huge a*hole who is full of himself.

    I think it’s bizarre that in these times, admitting to being an atheist should be a liability, whatsoever.

    • mimif says:

      My brother gave me a book of his for Christmas. Yeah, that brother, the one that looks like a ginger Tom Cruise (or something). Anyway, most pedantic pile of drivel I’ve ever tried to read, and I’m fairly left swinging.
      Also, step away from Colbert, Maher. He’s actually quite charming and down to earth IRL. I love his whole family backstory too.

      • Kiddo says:

        Me thinks the evil green monster popped out of Maher’s mouth on Colbert’s new job.

        I think Maher is a libertarian. He’s not exactly left.

      • mimif says:

        Ha! This.

      • mayamae says:

        @Kiddo, I don’t think Maher is a Libertarian. He believes in federal regulations, gun control laws, entitlements for the poor, etc.

      • Esmom says:

        I immediately though Maher’s dig about Colbert smacked of petty jealousy. Of course he’d prefer less “smart” replacements, anything to make himself look better.

      • Kiddo says:

        @mayamae, I don’t know what he is saying now. I don’t have HBO, but he has said that he was libertarian in the past.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        He gave Obama a mil in campaign cash. Not a libertarian.

  16. We Are All Made of Stars says:

    It’s a reality of American politics that you have to pretend to be religious to get elected. Ironically, all the religious profession that comes from politicians make intelligent people doubt the politicians’ sincerity. I think there’s a very good chance that many politicians are atheist, but we’re talking Bill Maher here. He asked if people thought the Pope was an atheist a few weeks ago, and yes, he was being serious.

  17. Toot says:

    Bill is an atheist, so I guess he thinks he sees himself in Obama. That’s why Bill is saying this because he wants people to think Obama shares his view.

  18. QQ says:

    He could be and That’s Fine …being President isnt and Sure as hell shouldn’t be a referendum on If You love God and If it’s the same kind of white Baby Jesus on top of that ..cause what if he was Bahai or shinto or ACTUALLY Muslim FFS?!? He isnt Incapacitated or helped by any of that in any way

  19. mystified says:

    Maher is looking a lot like Hugh Heffner these days.

  20. elo says:

    Meh, I’m in the I could care less camp. I’d rather they keep religion out of politics, out of schools , out of everything but church. I’m surely not a huge fan of Obama (nothing to do with religion) but we need more secular politicians and less bible thumping Sunday Christians. I’m a Texan, and it gets out of control down here, with the idiocy from Captain Hairspray and his cronies.

  21. Jbanks979 says:

    This is so effing dumb, and should be called out just as much as any idiotic “closet Muslim” attack by conservatives. It further feeds the notion that only conservatives can be Christian, and the only type of acceptable Christianity is one with loud public pious ness, condemning gays and abortion while secretly having gay affairs on the side.

    Considering 90% of Jesus’ message was basically socialist, I hate when “left-wing” types refuse to accept other left-wing types can be devoutly religious in private.

  22. Ivy says:

    Does it matter if he really is an atheist? *genuine question*

  23. Alexis says:

    I’m always offended by the way Christians are perceived in the media. We’re always portrayed as ignorant, delusional fundamentalists, which is NOT the case for other Christians I know. You can be smart, educated and rational and still believe in Jesus. I find that there’s an arrogance in atheism. Who are they to say that there’s no God?! Just like they don’t think Christians have any “proof” of God’s existence, do THEY have any “proof” that he DOESN’T exist?! The truth is, no human knows the real story. I’m just going to keep living my life the way that suits me.

    As for the topic at hand, Bill Maher is a sh-t starter. However, I could imagine that Obama is a secret atheist. I feel like a lot of politicians are, but they keep it on the DL to attract voters.

    • Ag says:

      “there’s an arrogance in atheism” – a generalization as bad as “all christians are ignorant, delusional fundamentalists,” which you speak up against (rightfully). i know many atheists, btw, and none of us think that about christians. basing your opinion on bill maher (who’s a $hithead on many, many levels), and whatever other famous atheists are out there, is ill-informed.

      there is arrogance in every belief system, isn’t there? i think there is no god, you think there is one. live and let live.

      • Alexis says:

        I meant arrogance in the sense that a lot of atheists I’ve encountered think they’re “too smart” for God/religion. I find that arrogant. However, you’re right. I was also making an unfair generalization. One of my closest friends is an atheist, and he’s lovely. We’ve had very robust discussions about our beliefs that I feel were very mutually insightful.

      • Ag says:

        i don’t think that there are any “right” answers to these questions. 🙂 you inherently (?) believe and i inherently (?) don’t. it’s not likely than one side will ever convince the other.

        but i think we can ALL agree on maher being an a$$. haha

      • Godwina says:

        +1 Ag.

    • elo says:

      Alexis, I agree with you on some points. As an atheist, I have many Christian friends, none of whom I would consider stupid or uninformed by any means. Much like Islam, the extremists give the religion a bad name. However on your point of atheists being arrogant I disagree. I have met some very arrogant atheists, but that is a negative trait that some people just possess. Alternately, I find that believing that god created this planet, this universe and everything in it and on it just for human beings, which he loves above all other creatures as a little arrogant.

      • Godwina says:

        +1. Heck, praying before a game because one likes to think a god favours you over your opponent strikes me as a little arrogant, too… As is the smugness of telling non-believes to their face that they’re going to hell or have no morals, or whatnot.

        Can we all just agree that arrogance isn’t a trait of the belief system itself, but of some of its less-enlightened believers?

      • elo says:

        @Godwina, we most certainly can agree 😉

    • Jayna says:

      It’s because the far right zealots have given Christianity a bad name.

    • Trillion says:

      To say atheists are wrong because they don’t have proof that god doesn’t exist only perpetuates the stereotype that religious people aren’t very smart. Think about it.

  24. Ag says:

    i love it how this is being played as “outing” obama for something inherently “bad.” if he’s an atheist, whatever. the man identifies as a christian – whatever.

    but, yeah, all the polling shows that being an atheist is the worst thing you could possibly be in the US. it’s really sad. (people put atheists and rapists on equal footing, FFS.) like everyone else, we just try to be good people. the perception is ignorant and baseless.

    also, bill maher is a harmful idiot of the jenny mccarthy caliber, and is pro pseudo-science of all sorts.

  25. Marigold says:

    I don’t care what Obama is but I find it foul that Bill Maher thinks he gets to pretend to know one way or the other. He does this with other public figures as well. He doesn’t know Obama so he has no idea whatsoever what he believes. Perhaps he wants him to be an atheist but I don’t see why he should give a damn either way. I often agree with Bill Maher but he is no different from any other television personality-he has an agenda and he’ll do whatever he can to promote it and stay relevant. As for Colbert, he did an interview with Oprah (with his wife) not that long ago that is available on her website where he’s totally not in character at all. He has never hidden his true personality from the world (or from Bill Maher, who could use a lesson in googling, I guess) and makes it a point to be a regular guy when the cameras aren’t rolling for his show. I’ve even been to a taping of his show and he does a Q&A beforehand with no hint of the character.

  26. sonalaceae (Nighty) says:

    I just have one comment about this: What’s religion got to do with running a country???
    As José Saramago (Nobel Prize of Literature) so well put when asked: How can men without (who don’t believe in) God be good?
    His answer: How can men with God be so evil?

    Smart guy.. believing or not believing in God doesn’t make you good or evil…

    • elo says:

      What a great quote!

    • littlestar says:

      Awesome quote! I am going to have to remember that one :).

    • Pinky Rose says:

      This is absolutely true and he knew that in person as he was very vilified by some because of the topics he touch in The Gospel According to Jesus Chris, which is a work of fiction and should have been treated like that, but many did not understand that apparently. Believing or not believing in something is a very personal matter that only the individual should care. It doesn’t make you better or worse.
      OT: Also, I LOVE Saramago. Of his books, I think Blindness ( Ensaio sobre a cegueira) is one of the most compelling and shocking I have ever read.

    • Esmom says:

      So true, love this. I have gotten so much questioning and flack for not raising my kids with organized religion. I started them in religious ed for a couple years but numerous incidents of hypocrisy finally did me in and had me really questioning my already very shaky beliefs.

      Recently I was telling a couple friends how my son was donating his first paycheck from his first job to a charitable cause he was working on through school…they looked at me in amazement and said “wow, that’s so generous…and you guys aren’t even religious!” As if a person can only be charity-minded if they are religious? I just stared at them somewhat dumbfounded and sort of offended.

      • sonalaceae (Nighty) says:

        It’s so “funny”, Portugal is mostly Catholic, but I don’t get that mentality so often.. I mean, I grew up in a town with 15 000 inhabitants, so it’s a small town, and most people don’t care and don’t even know whether you’re religious or not; people don’t discuss that, they don’t ask you… If you go to church, fine, if you don’t go, also fine… I mean, I doubt believe in God, though I was baptized, worked at a catholic private school, and the nuns knew I didn’t believe nor went to church, and never got any backlash from them…

      • Esmom says:

        sonalaceae (Nighty), I am finding the judgement comes from fellow parents (of young kids and/or teens)…they are looking for affirmation or validation that they are doing the right thing in how they are raising their kids. I have had numerous Catholic friends say they either don’t believe or disagree with the church or both but are still sending their kids through Catholic education because their parents did the same. It feels lazy to me, just perpetuating another generation of mindless worshipping with no real conviction. Also, I’ve come to realize that many people count on religious ed to teach their kids the difference between “right” and “wrong,” as if they can’t do that themselves.

  27. Happyhat says:

    Bless Bill Maher with his little face. I still love him, even when he’s annoying and wrong. I bet he nervously played with the bottom of his trousers and did that *smirky look at the audience* face when he said it (can’t watch Daily Show videos over here in the UK alas).

    Yeah, he’d probably be:
    a) convinced that Obama can’t do/say the things he does without obviously being an atheist
    b) annoyed that now he’s assumed Obama is an atheist that he should be secretive about it
    c) generally annoyed about religion in general
    d) pleased other people have him on their shows so he can carry on talking
    e) knows he needs to keep stiring s*** up to keep his career going
    f) generally a self-certified specialist on religion
    g) sad that people don’t love him the way they love Bill Hicks

    He’s also had Chelsea Handler on his show a couple of times? Perhaps they’re friends and she paid him to say that. I dunno.

    • littlestar says:

      I like Bill Maher too, always enjoy his show. I usually only agree with him 75% of the time (sometimes he’s really out to lunch), but I find his show pretty balanced (most of the time) with lots of interesting people on it. I think it’s good that he always has a conservative on during his panel discussion. But he definitely is a sh*t stirrer – but I guess that is part of his job as a talk show host.

  28. Bucky says:

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Obama is actually an atheist. Politicians do all kinds of things for political expediency all the time. I see it at the local level, so you better believe it happens at the state and federal level. He might not even be the first atheist president, if he indeed identifies as atheist. I’m an atheist, and I don’t give a shit about my president’s religion as long as s/he’s able to keep it out of policy.

    As far as Bill Maher, that man likes to run his mouth. Why is he out and about right now? Promoting something?

  29. Frida_K says:

    Wait a minute. I thought that Obama was a Muslin Communiss Socialistic Atheist. Well, aside from the religion issue, I do know for sure that he’s a Muslin and a Communiss and that his birth certificate was altered to make it seem like he isn’t from KENYA.*

    *This is a parody and a snarkfest. I am an Obama supporter, in fact.

  30. Liberty says:

    Once, very randomly over dinner in another country, I listened to an academic discussion about religion and government with a couple of people who had worked in military areas of the US gov. What they said: personal beliefs re religion should be private and not part of the job or the vote (though of course they are)– but, beyond that, their staff psychologists would say that a belief system/lack of could influence one’s decisions re war and “pushing the Button or not” or other decisions. And thus, knowing about a leader’s beliefs did hold some validity to understanding their potential for certain reactions. Their discussion was low key and scientific versus emotional; not zealous in any way, more like “this comes up sometimes.”

    I think beliefs are private matters. But it was interesting to hear this viewpoint.

  31. Feebee says:

    I don’t think he’s an atheist. I think Bill Maher can be full of it and this is one of those times. I’m picking President Obama is like a big portion of the population who has some belief in a God, but a whole lot of questions and those questions allow comfort in a level of morality, the thought if not belief of heaven/hell and such whilst having a firm grasp of reality and not allowing any religious debate cloud scientific fact, theory or whatever.

    He’s certainly not a church goer but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hold the Christian belief he says he does.

    As for Hillary and the Bible, I’m a little disappointed. I understand why but it disappointing she felt she had to say that because I don’t believe that’s 100% true. And quite frankly I wish she didn’t feel the need to pander to whom that answer was for. Then again if she wants to run for President the whole truth is the last thing any one expects from any candidate.

  32. nima3 says:

    Forget religion and all its blah, blah, blah ; its your moral character that matters the most. Atheists are good people too, they are just more scientifically inclined and probably more pragmatic, IMO.

    Bush ( both of them) were “devoted Christians” and probably two of the most evilest presidents ever “voted” into office.

    I run from religious fanatics, they scare me, and I keep my children far away from them too.

  33. Isabelle says:

    Jimmy Carter and Bush W. were truly believing Christians but the rest, meh……. don’t believe it for a minute. America has a long history of atheists and agnostics. Hillary was the most laughable in what she said, the Bible was the book that guided her. So much bull but for some reason as smart as she is, she probably believes it will give her some kind of reliability? For Obama it probably gave him the community connections he needed. The African American Church is a powerful force in social movements. Still don’t understand why politicians pretend to be religious and follow scripture. Evangelicals aren’t voting for the liberals, no matter what. If it was a Democrat minister running with tons of Christian accolades, they still wouldn’t vote for them. The rest of Americans probably don’t care as much as politicians & yes…Bill assume. It would be a problem if they were gloating about their Atheism or mocking religious people, such as Bill Maher. Americans don’t like gloaters or mockers in any form, religious or non-relgious. If Atheism was treated as just part of their life or wasn’t brought up much, honestly think a lot would have no problem with it. Just as religion isn’t much of an issue if it’s not pushed or forced on people. Americans may be uncomfortable with it at first but will chose to ignore it if the candidate ignores it, aka….Obama. . What really kills a candidate now isn’t necessarily being agnostic/un-religious, it’s being ultra religious that ruins your chances of national elections. Many of the ultra religious people got their butts kicked in the last national elections, think Rick Santorum or Rick Perry. The state elections (especially in the South and Mid-West) do elect professed religious politicians but nationally they don’t fair so well.

  34. jane16 says:

    I agree that Obama is a closet atheist, and could care less, I think its a shame he can’t be open about it though. As far as the Colbert character goes, he was on the Daily Show for years, and also I’ve seen him interviewed before. I think he will do fine. Although I will miss The Colbert Report.

  35. GIRLFACE says:

    So why is this a big deal again?

  36. Tang says:

    Why does it matter if someone is an atheist???

  37. msw says:

    I’ve always felt like his church alignment was political, rather than personal. It makes all the speculation he is a secret Muslim even funnier to me–which would threaten the GOP more? I have nothing to back it up, but I don’t GAF if he or any president is religious. Just do your job, if believing in God helps you do it, I don’t care.

  38. Lilacflowers says:

    Oh look! Bill Maher has popped up to perform his annual PR ritual of saying something outrageous to get himself in the news again. There is no requirement in the Constitution of the United States that the Executive have a religion. So long as the President (whoever is President) doesn’t believe in human sacrifice or ritual rape or animal abuse as a sacrament, I don’t care whether the President is an atheist, a Muslim, a Catholic (there’s only been one), a Jew (never been one), a Buddhist, a Zoroastrian, or any of the many other religions that exist or have existed throughout history and neither do the laws of the United States. I don’t care what Bill Maher has to say either; I tired of his antics long ago. But I will give him credit for inviting opposing views on his show, which I stopped watching when he used some disgusting words to describe a woman.

  39. shelley says:

    The first and last thing I’ll ever agree with Bill Maher on.

  40. bridget says:

    I don’t care what he is religiously, but I do care how he has done running our country, and I simply cannot WAIT until his time has ended!

  41. Robot Rosie says:

    I partly agree with everyone has said so far – because when it comes to religion, I don’t think anyone can or should judge unless the beliefs hurt or infringe on the rights of others in ways that are detrimental to their human rights or emotional well-being.

    That being said, I have always been on the fence about Maher. He is smart, he is witty, and most of what he says is spot on. He is a great commentator as it applies to political and socioeconomic issues.

    The thing is — with this, as ridiculous as it may seem, his comments do hold some truth. I don’t think he’s saying one belief is better or worse than another, I think he’s drawing attention to the fact that people who don’t fully practice religion somewhat have to in order to get votes into office in the US.

    It sounds terrible – but it’s true. Based on the anti-atheism legislation in some states as it pertains to running for office , and the fact that whether or not people choose to believe that public figures are truly religious, it plays a factor in popularity and therefore public opinion and votes.

    I think their family is agnostic – but imagine if they said they weren’t Christian and had a big White House Christmas? People would pick that apart as well.

    People aren’t comfortable with things they don’t understand or can piece together in an incredibly short amount of time.

    You can have your children baptized and get married in a church without being full-on religious. Perhaps the rev. is a good friend and they believe it was the right thing to do at the time?

    The bigger question is: who cares? People do care and that’s why public figures feel compelled to deliver storylines the public can relate to.

    When it comes to Maher, I don’t think he’s any worse than the large amount of Americans – or people part of any nation – who are prejudiced about people who are different from them.

  42. hayley says:

    Obama is not an intellectual. He is an easily-manipulated puppet. A puppet who has been lead to believe he is, and now acts like he is, a sovereign who makes decisions himself and does not have to use the “by the people, for the people” government we have set up.

  43. GIRLFACE says:

    What did Bill say about women??? I used to enjoy his show.

  44. Brionne says:

    What did Reverend Wright do that was so bad it tainted Obama? Wasn’t Wright a military veteran and also active in community projects? Why is it universally accepted that Rev Wright was “Controversial”?

    • Esmom says:

      He made numerous anti-Semitic comments (and backpedaled), from what I can remember.

  45. Janet says:

    There is nothing in the Constitution that says an atheist can’t be president.

    • don't kill me i'm french says:

      Honestly it’s bad to be atheist in America?

    • Jedi says:

      Maybe not, but there is plenty of evidence (referenced by Ag above) that says people probably wont vote for you if you are atheist. There is a serious lack of understanding of what atheism is in the US.

      • GIRLFACE says:

        There is a serious lack of understanding of what anything is in the US, it’s like the United States of Derp when it comes to intelligent political or philosophical discourse and people still believe in creationism and that global warming isn’t real, so, a Flying Spaghetti Monster help us all.

      • Jedi says:

        Haha hear hear 🙂

      • Trillion says:

        It’s just so frustrating. Atheism. Simple. Not believing in any gods. (or, as I call it, not being superstitious).

  46. aenflex says:

    I believe it.

  47. Realist says:

    They claim to be anti-religion, yet they constantly refer to their Jewishness! They are being hypocrites!!!!

  48. Lauraq says:

    If he aligned with that awful man for political reasons, he made a grievous error.
    I REALLY dislike Obama as President for a multitude of reasons, but I’m sick of people talking about his religion. He’s never given us any reason to believe that it’s anything other than he said. That and those stubborn birthers! There are plenty of things wrong with Obama that are REAL, so quit making the rest of us look like assholes by making stuff up.