Excellent Interview Discussing Illinois’ Mandatory Moment of Silence January 24, 2009

Excellent Interview Discussing Illinois’ Mandatory Moment of Silence

It doesn’t take a whole lot to represent yourself well when you’re an atheist being interviewed on television. Just follow a few basic rules:

Don’t be unnecessarily contentious.

Know your stuff.


Need an example? I just saw a high school student model it beautifully.

Dawn Sherman was on a local television talk show talking about her role in getting the mandatory moment of silence banned from Illinois public schools.

To see the clip, go here and under the video player click on “GML: Moment of Silence Unconstitutional?”

You may want to take notes.

(The host, Garrard McClendon, kinda freaks me out… but that’s another story.)

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  • Spork

    Wow. She’s fantastic, her dad’s a little more forceful, but equally as fantastic (he didn’t take the bait into the whole existence of god debate, for example) and that host is very, very odd.

    (I inhaled loudly at least seven times while writing that.)

  • It was good that Rob didn’t take the bait about the existence of God. I probably would have fallen for that one.

    The host seemed OK to be. Then again, I used to volunteer at a Public Access station. They had some characters as hosts.

  • PrimeNumbers

    They both talked really well! The diversion from the theoretical argument to the constitutional argument was also very well handled. Great.

  • I don’t know, I could have done without some of the dad’s extra commentary. I thought the daughter handled it a little more tactfully, myself.

  • Fredi

    So “atheists” know that God does not exist? How can you know that something does not exist? How can you know that someone who believes in someting you cannot possibly know does not exist is superstitious? It is one thing to “believe” but to “know”?
    A little more intellectual honesty would be nice.

  • Joanna

    When the dad used the term “superstitious”, I worried there for a minute! Like the gloves were going to come off and the verbal fighting would soon Begin. Like other posters, I agree that the daughter handled herself very well.

  • I agree she did really well. Her definition of atheist was great, too. I could have done without her dad’s “who KNOW God doesn’t exist” line, but it was a minor point. Overall, a really great showing.

    I wonder if she’s felt any personal social impact in her school over the issue.

  • lynn

    I’m not sure our purpose is served by ignoring questions and talking about something else. Just answer the question, concisely.

  • McClendon is indeed a little unnerving, a little too, well, boisterous, but I have to say he was working very hard to be as fair as possible and to show interest in the topic (at least from this clip). Sherman’s a class act, I’ve never seen him on TV before.

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