An entertaining account by an atheist Jew who tried to become a Southern governor
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brian Magee, 202-238-9088 ex. 105, Mobile: (202) 681-2425
(Washington, DC – March 28, 2012) – Who says atheists can’t be funny?
Humanist Press, the publishing house of the American Humanist Association, has released as its first ebook, Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt. This autobiography by atheist activist and college math professor Herb Silverman proves it takes a sense of humor for an atheist Jew living in South Carolina to run for governor simply because the state constitution said he couldn’t.
Silverman is a national public spokesperson for the rights of nonbelievers as president of the Secular Coalition for America and a board member of the American Humanist Association. Candidate Without a Prayer details his upbringing (raised by Orthodox Jews as a “liberal, Yankee, Jew atheist with four strikes against me”), studying to become a professor in mathematics (“Part of the beauty of mathematics is seeing the strange and mysterious places that apparently simple and innocuous assumptions may lead”), and his run for the governorship of South Carolina to challenge the state constitution that stated “No person shall be eligible for the office of governor who denies the existence of the Supreme Being.”
While his bid for governor failed, Silverman continued to challenge the law by applying to be a notary public—a legal battle that lasted six years and led to his notoriety growing from Charleston’s ”most famous atheist” to South Carolina’s “most famous atheist.” His exposure included a televised gubernatorial debate with two other candidates. “A year later there was one objective measure for determining the winner,” Silverman notes about his performance. “Of the three candidates in the debate, I was the only one not in prison.”
Silverman says his book is for “apathetic atheists, who I hope will become motivated to get off their apathy,” adding that he also “offers constructive approaches for dealing with family conflicts over religious differences. In other words, I guess this book is for just about everyone.”
Several notables have provided advanced praise for the book, including Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State; Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism; Rebecca Newberger Goldstein; philosopher and novelist; and Wendy Kaminer, writer and social critic.
Candidate Without a Prayer is a joint publishing project between Humanist Press and Pitchstone Publishing. Humanist Press, an arm of the American Humanist Association, has published the ebook (ISBN 978-0931779213) through www.HumanistPress.com. Pitchstone Press will release the hardback version (ISBN 978-0984493289) on June 15, 2012.
Humanist Press is the publishing house of the American Humanist Association, providing material for the humanist/freethought/atheist market since 1995. The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists and atheists in the United States. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.