Archive: Herb Silverman
Perhaps he could hold hearings on whether hatred and stereotyping by pandering politicians who focus on guilt by association might be making the rest of us both more fearful and less safe--in other words, hold a hearing on King himself.
By Herb Silverman | March 7, 2011; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (10)
We elect American politicians to uphold our secular Constitution and the laws of the land, including the legal right to abortion. Politicians have the right to worship the god of their choice, but they have no right to restrict the freedom of those who don't share their religious beliefs. That's the opposite of the religious freedom we are all guaranteed.
By Herb Silverman | March 1, 2011; 09:25 AM ET | Comments (16)
Mike Huckabee's comments reminded me of a line in the last stanza of that song, "Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace."
By Herb Silverman | February 22, 2011; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (33)
If we want to be respected throughout the world, we need to be consistent on values we promote: the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all humans; justice and peace in the world; equal rights for men and women; freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the right to change or even denounce religion.
By Herb Silverman | February 15, 2011; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (9)
Before I met Sharon, I could make the same claim as Woody Allen's character in Manhattan, that I hadn't had a relationship with a woman that lasted longer than the one between Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun. Though I don't believe in souls, I'm comfortable saying Sharon has been my soul mate (and my first love) for the past 20+ years.
By Herb Silverman | February 14, 2011; 01:10 PM ET | Comments (3)
Surveys show the main thing atheists and Mormons have in common is that a significant number of Americans wouldn't vote for either, no matter how qualified the candidate may be.
By Herb Silverman | February 8, 2011; 02:27 PM ET | Comments (23)
It's interesting that some politicians can see dangers in a theocracy or in a government that favors one religion over others only when it's their religion that isn't favored. Holiness isn't all it's cracked up to be.
By Herb Silverman | January 31, 2011; 05:28 PM ET | Comments (9)
I feel the same about separation of church and health care as I do about separation of church and state. People have the right to follow the god of their choice, and denominations have the right to make rules for their flocks. A religion need not accept government funds, but any money a religion receives from our secular government may only be used for secular purposes.
By Herb Silverman | January 24, 2011; 08:30 PM ET | Comments (17)
I find it difficult to say whether President Obama's discussion with President Hu should be more about economic issues or human rights, because the two are so intimately related.
By Herb Silverman | January 18, 2011; 04:40 PM ET | Comments (17)
I deplore the incendiary political language of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, but I defend their right to use it.
By Herb Silverman | January 11, 2011; 02:04 PM ET | Comments (9)
In this twenty-first century, blasphemy laws have not yet been eradicated, and they must be. In the past, Christians used them to prosecute non-Christians or Christians with the "wrong" beliefs, and now Muslims most frequently use them. Our political "ally" Pakistan has a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam. While blasphemy laws have been used worldwide to persecute minorities, Christians are currently the main target in Pakistan.
By Herb Silverman | January 3, 2011; 10:08 PM ET | Comments (16)
We ask Mayor-Elect Gray to change his inauguration plans by either cancelling his prayer service or including nontheistic citizens in the ceremony.
By Herb Silverman | December 30, 2010; 08:48 AM ET | Comments (10)
I predict in the coming year, as in past years, I will have reason to quote the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg: "With or without religion, good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things--that takes religion."
By Herb Silverman | December 27, 2010; 05:04 PM ET | Comments (14)
Those who want to put Christ-mas back into X-mas should at least be aware of indisputable facts about the holiday's pagan origins.
By Herb Silverman | December 20, 2010; 04:28 PM ET | Comments (35)
I don't care what Jesus, Yahweh, Zeus, Allah, or Vishnu purportedly might have said or thought about tax cuts for the wealthy. You don't have to be religious to believe that government has a fundamental obligation to help those who can't help themselves.
By Herb Silverman | December 14, 2010; 06:38 AM ET | Comments (11)
I'm hesitant to give advice about marriage because, unlike "experts" like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, I've been married only once.
By Herb Silverman | December 6, 2010; 03:43 PM ET | Comments (28)
I agree with Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich (in a rather roundabout way) that America was formed as an exceptional nation because of a special relationship with God. The framers of our U.S. Constitution wanted no part of the religious intolerance and bloodshed they saw in Europe and wisely established the first government in history to separate church and state.
By Herb Silverman | November 29, 2010; 04:55 PM ET | Comments (20)
Many Thanksgiving gatherings have a mixture of secularists and religionists. There are ways to begin a meal with reflection and thanks that can be appreciated by everyone. After all, we owe thanks every day to real people who make a difference in our lives. Here's an example of a more graceful "grace," as we sit down to a nice dinner:
By Herb Silverman | November 23, 2010; 03:14 PM ET | Comments (14)
Here's why I'm cautiously optimistic: Knowing how slowly the Church moves, this baby step could open the door for Benedict or the next pope to go further.
By Herb Silverman | November 22, 2010; 01:48 PM ET | Comments (14)
Racists and homophobes may serve in the military, but they must put aside their prejudices when working as a unit. If they can't accept that their gay and lesbian comrades deserve equal rights and respect, then they are not fit to remain in the service.
By Herb Silverman | November 15, 2010; 05:56 PM ET | Comments (15)
So my advice to President Obama about where to visit and what to wear is similar to my advice on policy issues: Do what you believe is right and ignore the critics
By Herb Silverman | November 8, 2010; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (12)
I wish Catholics would ignore the pontiff when he pontificates theologically, but even more so when he pontificates politically.
By Herb Silverman | November 1, 2010; 05:16 PM ET | Comments (9)
Some may think reason and sanity are the opposite of religion, and some may not. Let arguments be heard, not stifled.
By Herb Silverman | October 25, 2010; 06:47 PM ET | Comments (14)
If we must ask prurient questions of candidates, here is the only kind I consider appropriate: How do your personal views on sex and religion affect how you would vote on public policy?
By Herb Silverman | October 18, 2010; 04:31 PM ET | Comments (10)
Religion has always played a central role in every form of sexuality, beginning with the view that children are born in sin and that the first couple were ashamed of their bodies and covered them after eating the forbidden fruit.
By Herb Silverman | October 11, 2010; 06:18 PM ET | Comments (14)
Any candidate who believes God is responsible for her election is deluded, and deluded people can't be counted on to make rational decisions.
By Herb Silverman | October 4, 2010; 07:56 PM ET | Comments (11)
Having faith in faith, as Eisenhower promoted, can be quite dangerous.
By Herb Silverman | September 28, 2010; 06:15 PM ET | Comments (17)
I went to the Values Voters website www.valuesvotersummit.org, glanced at their positions, and quickly realized, "That's me." They want to protect marriage, champion life, strengthen the military, limit government, control spending, and defend our freedoms. Perfect. Here's what I mean.
By Herb Silverman | September 21, 2010; 01:54 AM ET | Comments (21)
A peaceful negotiation requires compromise. However, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian fundamentalists tend to espouse an uncompromising and absolute worldview.
By Herb Silverman | September 13, 2010; 04:53 PM ET | Comments (2)
The more we learn scientifically, the less significant humans seem in our natural world. Darwin showed that humans are simply animals, and Copernicus displaced humanity from the center of the universe. If M-theory turns out to be correct, we might be an unremarkable species living in an unremarkable part of an unremarkable universe.
By Herb Silverman | September 8, 2010; 03:14 PM ET | Comments (25)
We should judge our candidates on their political positions, not on their professed religious beliefs. But that may be a dream of mine more difficult to achieve than the dreams of Martin Luther King and Glenn Beck.
By Herb Silverman | August 30, 2010; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (18)
I would advise him to speak to the Muslim world about the real and enviable religious freedom we have in America.
By Herb Silverman | August 23, 2010; 05:45 PM ET | Comments (6)
The Bill of Rights in general and the First Amendment in particular protect our right to behave in ways that the majority deem inappropriate.
By Herb Silverman | August 16, 2010; 08:47 PM ET | Comments (2)
Elizabeth Gilbert and many others have done what American mythologist Joseph Campbell advocated: "Follow your bliss." Of course, some are more financially capable than others of following bliss around the world. My bliss, whether here or abroad, must be reality-based. I don't doubt that attaining spiritual "enlightenment" provides psychological benefits to many, just as placebos often help those who believe in their efficacy. If that makes people happy, and it doesn't hurt anyone else, it's fine with me.
By Herb Silverman | August 9, 2010; 05:55 PM ET | Comments (11)
Christians are a lot like snowflakes--there are almost no two alike. It's not clear to followers what to take literally and what to take figuratively, and which passages may have been falsely attributed to the man or god or man/god called Jesus.
By Herb Silverman | August 2, 2010; 04:26 PM ET | Comments (7)
Interfaith marriage works best when neither party takes faith very seriously. To modify the old cliché, "The family that never prays, stays together."
By Herb Silverman | July 26, 2010; 06:03 PM ET | Comments (5)
Observing Constitutional principles may be bothersome, but that's a small price to pay for the liberties our Constitution guarantees.
By Herb Silverman | July 19, 2010; 07:37 PM ET | Comments (10)
We need to find the most effective ways to stop terrorists, rather than debate whether to adjective them. Neither President Obama nor any other government official can sever the relationship between Islam and terrorism. Only Islam can, and it hasn't.
By Herb Silverman | July 12, 2010; 11:44 PM ET | Comments (14)
I think most religious believers are guilty of wishful thinking, a belief in an afterlife of eternal bliss for which there's no credible evidence. I think the Dalai Lama is also guilty of wishful thinking when he assumes that religions that preach love, tolerance, and compassion will also practice what they preach. We have all too much evidence to the contrary.
By Herb Silverman | July 6, 2010; 02:03 PM ET | Comments (35)
If Gen. McChrystal's dismissal hastens our exit from Afghanistan, that might be his best contribution to the war. The Vietnam War lasted for eight years; the Afghanistan War is approaching its ninth year. We can't begin our withdrawal in 2004, but we can begin today.
By Herb Silverman | June 29, 2010; 04:07 PM ET | Comments (24)
What's more moral--stealthily executing a condemned man in the dark of night to spare the sensibilities of a certain segment of society, or killing the man publicly to satisfy the blood lust of others? What's more honorable, a volunteer firing squad that shoots a convict, or a screaming mob of citizens that stone a half-buried prisoner?
By Herb Silverman | June 21, 2010; 06:00 PM ET | Comments (17)
It does not take religion or lack of it to recognize that how we treat other creatures has implications far beyond rescuing pelicans from oil slicks. It extends to animal testing of products for human beings, animals trained to entertain or work for us, and animals raised to be our food.
By Herb Silverman | June 14, 2010; 10:08 PM ET | Comments (13)
Obama and Nikki Haley seems to be political Christians, those who think that an unwritten requirement for public office is to profess deeply held Christian beliefs.
By Herb Silverman | June 10, 2010; 05:36 PM ET | Comments (92)
Each side has religious extremists who value land more than peace. We can't hope for a lasting peace until both sides agree to cooperate in marginalizing such fanatics. Even then, it will be far from easy. But it would be a start.
By Herb Silverman | June 8, 2010; 08:59 AM ET | Comments (11)
Science and religion are tools, neither moral nor immoral. Their shared criterion for human morality is the extent to which humans use them to improve the quality of life for all, here on earth.
By Herb Silverman | June 1, 2010; 04:41 PM ET | Comments (11)
As a humanist, I believe I should be my brother's and my sister's keeper. It is pure chance of birth that many of us, myself included, are not sneaking into other countries to find jobs because our own country can't provide the work we are willing to do to feed our families.
By Herb Silverman | May 24, 2010; 07:23 PM ET | Comments (9)
Palin calls herself a "frontier feminist," but she sounds more like a "Pat Robertson feminist." The two of them are guided solely by their unshakeable certainty about what God wants. The good news, in this regard, is an equality of the sexes; the bad news is that both sexes can be sadly and dangerously mistaken.
By Herb Silverman | May 17, 2010; 03:03 PM ET | Comments (22)
Kagan seems like a decent person and probably better on church-state separation than most sitting justices; however, Kagan is definitely not a Stevens, one of the finest United States Supreme Court champions for separating religion from government.
By Herb Silverman | May 10, 2010; 04:34 PM ET | Comments (5)
Whether this succeeds or not, and I have no personal interest in drawing Muhammad, I support the concept. We must join together to stop injustice.
By Herb Silverman | May 3, 2010; 03:44 PM ET | Comments (21)
I agree that Graham should not speak at a National Day of Prayer event. Nor should I or anyone else, because a secular country like the United States should not have a National Day of Prayer. Individuals may pray, but government officials should not lead or sponsor prayer.
By Herb Silverman | April 26, 2010; 04:14 PM ET | Comments (24)
There is a tendency in our culture to equate morality with sexual behavior, when that is just a very small component of morality. Ethical behavior and morality are about treating others with respect, dignity, and compassion. We should not exploit people, whether through sex or any other means. Morality should not be viewed through the narrow prism of sexual behavior.
By Herb Silverman | April 20, 2010; 03:42 PM ET | Comments (14)
I wish I had Beck's dot-connecting chalkboard. I'd connect my dots between Nazism and Christianity, and leave for Beck the much more difficult task of connecting dots between Nazism and social justice.
By Herb Silverman | April 12, 2010; 06:10 PM ET | Comments (19)
Giving preferential treatment to churches is not fair. Holding church officials to the same ethical and legal standards as the rest of society is fair. "Thank God," so to speak, that the media is finally doing its job and accepting some responsibility for guarding the hen houses.
By Herb Silverman | April 6, 2010; 09:34 AM ET | Comments (16)
A more interesting question for me is whether legal action can be taken against a pope. Unfortunately, not only is the pope immune from prosecution under Vatican law, it appears that he also enjoys diplomatic immunity from prosecution under international law as a head of state. Such is the result when church and state meld.
By Herb Silverman | March 27, 2010; 04:02 PM ET | Comments (11)
As a child, asking heaven and hell questions probably contributed to my journey that led to atheism. I used to wonder whether I could be happy in heaven knowing that some of my friends would be suffering in hell. I also wondered if I would have free will in heaven, as I assumed I had on Earth. If so, could I sin in heaven and be sent to hell?
By Herb Silverman | March 20, 2010; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (34)
I respect people for being honest, whether I agree with them or not. And how does a skeptic like me decide when clergy or politicians are honest? When they say something that is more likely to hurt than help their careers.
By Herb Silverman | March 15, 2010; 06:23 PM ET | Comments (7)
I oppose the use of any taxpayer money going to religious institutions, but especially money that condones discrimination. Religious freedom allows religions to discriminate, but not on the taxpayer's dime.
By Herb Silverman | March 8, 2010; 04:28 PM ET | Comments (20)
I do empathize with religious groups whose mission is to convert everyone in the world, since I happen to think the world would be a far better place if everyone "saw the light" of secular humanism. The issue is how to go about achieving your goals. Whether religious or secular, I believe the best form of proselytizing is to lead by example.
By Herb Silverman | March 1, 2010; 06:18 PM ET | Comments (9)
Representatives from the Secular Coalition for America met with White House officials. Here's what we discussed.
By Herb Silverman | February 28, 2010; 08:22 AM ET | Comments (75)
When any country's foreign policy gets religion, disaster usually follows. What U.S. foreign policy should get is secular. This involves learning more about the religious and cultural beliefs of people in countries where we are engaged.
By Herb Silverman | February 23, 2010; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (23)
I think "mentally retarded" is a good description of a human deficit, but it's become unacceptable through misuse as a pejorative toward those not mentally retarded. I would like to continue using the term, but only if people would refrain from using it on their spouses or anyone else they're mad at. That's what demeans the term.
By Herb Silverman | February 16, 2010; 04:08 PM ET | Comments (10)
In more than 30 countries, including allies like Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom, gay Steves and Samanthas serve openly and effectively alongside straight Adams and Eves.
By Herb Silverman | February 9, 2010; 12:02 PM ET | Comments (65)
Perhaps Super Bowl commercials will evolve from arguments about "Tastes great! No, less filling!" to "Jesus is Lord! No, Jesus is myth!" I've participated in debates on the latter topic, but there's a time and place for such discussions. The Super Bowl is neither the time nor the place.
By Herb Silverman | February 1, 2010; 05:57 PM ET | Comments (12)
Certainly every president should be concerned about what's good for America. But sometimes what's good for other countries is also good for America. And sometimes we can learn from other countries who do things better.
By Herb Silverman | January 25, 2010; 06:38 PM ET | Comments (10)
Here's an alternative view. The "fault" lies under the Atlantic Ocean, not in the sins of Haitians. The earth's tectonic plates are neither good nor evil. The more we learn about their shifting, the better we will be able to predict future earthquakes.
By Herb Silverman | January 19, 2010; 08:43 PM ET | Comments (18)
You can tell how biased the media is against Christianity by the number of broadcasters who ridicule it and speak openly about how their lives improved after becoming atheists. Well, there's Bill Maher. And then there's Bill Maher.
By Herb Silverman | January 12, 2010; 09:57 AM ET | Comments (10)
The crime of blasphemy has little to do with what you say, and lots to do with how others feel: so insulted and outraged by it that they want you silenced and punished. In other words, those uncivil libertarians opposed to free speech determine what is blasphemy.
By Herb Silverman | January 4, 2010; 07:28 PM ET | Comments (23)
The important story for me was the omni-absence of a personal God in so many stories about religion. God may not exactly be dead, but perhaps he, she, or it should be denied health insurance because of a strongly suspected pre-existing condition of nonexistence.
By Herb Silverman | December 25, 2009; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (9)
People who choose to die in the name of their gods are free to do so, but they have no right to take others.
By Herb Silverman | December 21, 2009; 06:56 PM ET | Comments (6)
We atheists who run for public office in America continue to fight one of the last battles for civil rights.
By Herb Silverman | December 14, 2009; 06:12 PM ET | Comments (21)
I'm disappointed that President Obama didn't end the tradition of an East Room crèche display, a change I could believe in. I hope he will at least give a shout-out to those of us with other traditions, including humanists and atheists.
By Herb Silverman | December 7, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (23)
While one may find many Islamic practices to dislike, constructing minarets certainly isn't one of them. The Swiss should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Muslims in every country ought to be able to practice their faith and exhibit their symbols without government interference, unless such practices violate the rights of others. A minaret does not.
By Herb Silverman | November 30, 2009; 05:49 PM ET | Comments (10)
I was a member of the first media outreach committee of the American Humanist Association, and we struggled over the best kinds of ads that would both promote our worldview and would not be perceived as anti-religious.
By Herb Silverman | November 23, 2009; 04:50 PM ET | Comments (11)
The Catholic faithful may choose to live their lives based on pronouncements by priests, bishops, and the pope, and I support their right to do so. But bishops have no right to impose their sectarian beliefs on the rest of us.
By Herb Silverman | November 17, 2009; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (16)
Military officers are representatives of the U.S. government, and should not tell subordinates that the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. Nor should I, as a math professor at a state institution, tell my students that all gods are make believe.
By Herb Silverman | November 9, 2009; 05:59 PM ET | Comments (9)
Not only must we be careful about stereotyping, we must also be careful about marginalizing or ignoring large segments of our population. Responding to this latest tragedy, leaders are calling for us to come together as a nation, which I support. But they need to be cautious when they claim to speak on behalf of Americans.
By Herb Silverman | November 6, 2009; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (16)
Today's 'end-of-life care' controversy didn't exist 1000 years ago, when most believed that the terminally ill were in "God's hands." With scientific breakthroughs, the terminally ill are often in technology's hands, and it's up to humans to decide the extent to which that technology should be used.
By Herb Silverman | November 3, 2009; 12:18 PM ET | Comments (16)
I think it's meaningless to ask whether people can be good without God. As an atheist, I believe we are all without any gods. The question is really about whether people can be good without a belief in God. And by just about any measure, the answer has to be yes.
By Herb Silverman | October 27, 2009; 03:15 PM ET | Comments (15)
I don't want to hold the accused guilty of having an opinion, in addition to the crime committed, because even a reprehensible criminal deserves a free speech right to express an opinion. We have the right to hate, but not to commit crimes.
By Herb Silverman | October 19, 2009; 06:31 PM ET | Comments (46)
There are religious reasons to decline a vaccine, there are valid reasons to decline a vaccine, but there are no valid religious reasons to decline a vaccine.
By Herb Silverman | October 13, 2009; 08:29 AM ET | Comments (11)
It seems that Karen Armstrong and I would agree that nothing is sacred, but from opposite sides of this pun. Ms. Armstrong believes in a god about which or whom you can say nothing, and I see no thing worthy of worship
By Herb Silverman | October 8, 2009; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (21)
I'm pessimistic about a positive outcome in Afghanistan without a fundamental separation of religion from government. There has never been a theocracy that resulted in a decent standard of living for its citizens, or where minorities were treated with both tolerance and respect.
By Herb Silverman | October 5, 2009; 07:45 PM ET | Comments (31)
The First Amendment protects religious freedom, but no American taxpayer should be forced to subsidize a fellow citizen's religious beliefs and practices.
By Herb Silverman | September 29, 2009; 02:17 PM ET | Comments (31)
I don't think it matters whether we pray for nuclear disarmament or for nuclear war. There is no there there. Our actions, not our empty words or prayers, are what matter.
By Herb Silverman | September 28, 2009; 07:11 PM ET | Comments (17)
I'm not particularly comfortable with tax breaks the government gives individuals for donating to a religion, or with the huge property tax advantages granted to often-wealthy churches, but I'm appalled that the government would allocate my tax dollars to inadvertently support religious discrimination.
By Herb Silverman | September 21, 2009; 07:03 PM ET | Comments (10)
Despite what Psalm 37 and Jesus say, I see little evidence of the meek inheriting the earth. However, I see much evidence for the belligerent and loud-mouthed inheriting talk shows, and the aggressive and cantankerous inheriting political careers.
By Herb Silverman | September 15, 2009; 08:29 AM ET | Comments (15)
I thought it crass that members of my childhood congregation had to pay for better seats on the high holidays. I hope they are not now paying for better guns. I never expected an atheist like me would say, "Give me that old time religion."
By Herb Silverman | September 8, 2009; 08:47 PM ET | Comments (17)
Why should evolution or the Bible be taught so differently in Texas than in Vermont? Our system cries out for national education standards, which exist in most developed countries.
By Herb Silverman | September 1, 2009; 02:45 AM ET | Comments (16)
The fact is that neither execution nor the amount of time the Lockerbie bomber spends in prison will make the least difference to any of the dead.
By Herb Silverman | August 25, 2009; 04:47 AM ET | Comments (13)
We generally accept that people with more money can afford more things, and I don't have a problem with this, except when we treat a necessity like quality health care as if it were just a consumer product. I wish all Americans would recognize the need to make health care both a moral and financial priority.
By Herb Silverman | August 18, 2009; 08:12 AM ET | Comments (8)
The issue for me isn't the form of prayer, but prayer itself.
By Herb Silverman | August 10, 2009; 06:14 PM ET | Comments (14)
If your scripture indicates that you should treat gays and lesbians as inferior, it's time for those thousands-year old beliefs to grow up.
By Herb Silverman | August 3, 2009; 08:56 PM ET | Comments (14)
My wife is married to another man in the eyes of the Catholic Church, even though she received a civil divorce over 25 years ago.
By Herb Silverman | July 27, 2009; 07:00 PM ET | Comments (10)
is it any surprise that holy books, written some 2000 to 3000 years ago, contain many vile portions that reflect the misogynistic and patriarchal culture of the time?
By Herb Silverman | July 21, 2009; 09:36 AM ET | Comments (13)
I would not trust or believe any judge who claims that his or her judicial rulings are always independent of life experiences.
By Herb Silverman | July 14, 2009; 06:21 PM ET | Comments (12)
Should our secular public schools favor Christianity or Judaism over Islam? Absolutely not. Should our public schools favor religion over non-religion? Absolutely not.
By Herb Silverman | July 6, 2009; 05:23 PM ET | Comments (10)
One of Governor Sanford's press conference apologies was "to people of faith across South Carolina, or for that matter, across the nation,..." Implicit in his apology, and insulting to nontheists, is that people of faith are expected to be more moral than people without faith.
By Herb Silverman | June 29, 2009; 07:14 PM ET | Comments (11)
To me the essential issue regarding Muslim attire for women is one of coercion, not religious practice. But I'm reluctant to impose religious restrictions on people whose definition of freedom might be different from mine.
By Herb Silverman | June 24, 2009; 05:50 PM ET | Comments (6)
Call me a cynic, but I think institutional apologies to those who have been dead for centuries are calculated to restore the reputation of the institution rather than the reputation of the long departed abused.
By Herb Silverman | June 23, 2009; 12:27 PM ET | Comments (1)
A good rule of thumb for me is whether a country allows its citizens to poke fun at its leaders and its "sacred cows," including sacred religions.
By Herb Silverman | June 16, 2009; 05:37 PM ET | Comments (4)
I expect in at least part of President Obama's June 4 speech he will say nice things about Muslims and emphasize that we are not in a Christian Holy War with Islam. Many Muslims think otherwise, perhaps with some justification.
By Herb Silverman | June 2, 2009; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (2)
Since our secular government must be neutral regarding religion, what we deem parental abuse should be independent of whether that abuse is for religious or secular reasons.
By Herb Silverman | May 23, 2009; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (5)
We all agree that an abortion signifies a mistake, though we may disagree on what the mistake was. So I applaud President Obama's advice to seek common ground in a culture with diversity of belief.
By Herb Silverman | May 18, 2009; 04:55 PM ET | Comments (8)
As a humanist, I worry not only about a Church whose leadership requirements are more likely to lead to abuses of the innocent faithful. I also worry about a politically engaged Church trying to impose its religious prohibitions (contraception, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc.) on the rest of the world.
By Herb Silverman | May 12, 2009; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (2)