Dave Silverman Defends Atheist Billboard Against Sean Hannity’s Whining December 14, 2013

Dave Silverman Defends Atheist Billboard Against Sean Hannity’s Whining

By now, you’re all probably very sick of hearing Fox News and “War on Christmas” stories… too bad. The War is on for another two weeks.

Last night, American Atheists’ Dave Silverman appeared in-studio to go head-to-head-to-head with Sean Hannity and Todd Starnes — which, according to Fox News math, is fair-and-balanced — and did a fantastic job:

Highlight for me (at 7:51):

Hannity: … You know what I think? I think you’re trying to raise money by appealing to your base, by going after Christian groups.

Silverman: Pot. Nice to meet you, Kettle.

I know I’m biased here, but the more I see Silverman on camera, the more I appreciate his voice becoming a regular part of the mix. It’s not always my message, but even on Fox News, he keeps his cool, fights back when necessary, and finds a way to get his point across. It’s a hard thing to do and he really makes it look easy.

(via Mediaite)

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  • Rain

    I love how he says there is somebody greater than him that created him so he likes going to church. As if it’s just so obvious that if somebody greater than you creates you, then you go to church. He just expects everyone to take the non-sequiturs for granted. (Assuming we believe one word he says.)

  • Rain

    The only thing Todd Starnes is good for is for set decorations. He looks very dignified and cool, but then he opens his mouth.

  • FirstAmongEquals

    There is a Yiddish word for Hannity’s demeanor: Putz.


  • That signal-to-Hannity ratio…

  • Neko

    banging head against wall

    Not a dime for you, AA!

  • idontknow33

    Perhaps it is time to create an official For Sanity’s Sake Silent Treatment List, in which all rational people agree not to listen or respond to anything that people on said list say.

    Candidates for the list would include Hannity, Pat Roberston, Mark Driscoll, Rush Limbaugh… who else?

    Attention just fuels these people.

  • peter taylor

    What is it with Fox, their commentators ask questions then proceed to talk over their guests when they attempt to answer………..and then say they’re all for freedom of speech.

  • Stephanie Thayer

    What really annoys me, and this is the reason that I can’t stand these kinds of shows, is that the host NEVER lets anyone with a different opinion from his own complete a sentence! I wanted to hear what Dave Silverman had to say. I feel infuriated, I can only imagine how frustrated Dave was feeling. I guess Fox News can’t handle someone coming on and telling the truth, kind of messes up their drummed-up “war” on Christmas. I recently got into a slightly heated discussion with someone from work about this very thing. They make these completely egregious statements that bait a response and then get “offended” when you try to shed light on the situation. I beginning to think trying to reason with someone from the very far right is a waste of breath. We’ll just keep celebrating as we wish and fighting them in court whenever they break the law. obliviously trying to reason with them is a monumental waste of time.

  • Ryan

    Holy God Hannity is a douchebag. Why do atheists even go on Fox News? They can’t even get a word in. Not exactly “fair and balanced”. All Christians do when confronted by differing opinions is put their fingers in their ears and say “LA LA LA”

  • These shows are so educational. For example it taught me that, being an atheist, I believe that everything came from nothing by magic. I never knew I believed that until Saint Sean clued me in. It’s so nice to be told what your beliefs are.

  • LesterBallard

    There are two pieces of shit that I loathe and despise. I wish magic was real.

  • Cloe

    Wow…this makes me proud to be atheist. For one thing, it’s not even their demi-god’s birthday. If they want to push their religion onto others..let them pay taxes as any other business…and let’s collect those taxes from the years of tax free privilege they’ve received…and be sure to collect on back taxes for all the properties that are owned by this business. Only then should we even consider what they try to sell…and then let’s put their product up to the scrutiny of science and experimentation. Other than that…leave the rest of us alone and keep their snake oil to themselves.

  • JeromeMac

    On the radio Hannity constantly mutes callers, it is frustrating and why I do not call him anymore.

  • Jason Hinchliffe

    He held his own about as well as you can expect against someone that argues without integrity. Hannity is just trying to be inflammatory and contrary which allows him to counter virtually anything with basic ad hominem attacks and talk over people. Getting a point across in an environment like that is intensely difficult. Clearly Mr. Silverman is an experienced debater.

  • katiehippie

    David Silverman would get my respect even if I didn’t agree with him. Those two are toxic.

  • JT Rager

    I used to not like David Silverman, but seeing him on things like these make me appreciate him a lot. I was surprised in the second segment about the ESPN commercial when Hannity couldn’t find a problem in Silverman’s response and didn’t try and construct a straw-Silverman against him.

  • Silverman has improved his on-screen skills immensely in the last couple of years. He used to make me cringe. Now he’s smooth and unflappable. I can only assume he treats it as a job, accepts criticism, and prepares.

  • Neko

    I must live in an alternate reality from the rest of you. This is the first time I’ve watched Silverman on one of these clips, and I thought he was a disaster. It confirmed my impression that AA is the gift that keeps on giving–to the religious right. You know things are bad when you find yourself nodding in agreement with the loathsome Sean Hannity. Who is David Silverman to tell people they don’t have to go to church? Don’t they know that already? Yes, Sean, you’re right. And Hell just froze over.

    I couldn’t watch the whole thing.

  • Willard

    The unfortunate thing is Fox mixes news and opinion without differentiating. Although I don’t trust their “news” either.

  • Rain

    What does American Atheists have that stupid logo for. For cryin out loud…

  • Hannity does nothing but contradict himself. He invites Silverman onto the show to berate him for offending Christians, and then concludes the segment by telling him that atheists need to grow up and stop being so easily offended.

    These pundits just cannot handle having their privilege challenged. And, in their tiny minds, to do so equals persecution.


  • Des Malone

    Somebody needs to inform the folks at fox that nobody watches fox news except on the Daily Show

  • Matt E. S.

    Why are these all screaming matches?

  • NewOldAtheist

    oh he worked hard to keep his cool against vanity hannity the fool. Great job!

  • DJD11

    Right, like (ins)Hannnity believes ANYTHING is greater than himself.

  • It’s a contest of bravado. Some sort of a verbal sport. It isn’t about who can win a debate with the best set of facts, but who can shout the loudest over their competitors. If you can drown out everyone else, then your “Truth” is the only one anyone can hear.

  • L.Long

    The xtian taliban is always pissed off when anyone tries to enforce them obeying the law. They have been privileged for so long they think it is their right.

    I’ve seen Dave in a number of interviews and he is very good.

  • Robster

    Dave Silverman is an icon! (Of sorts..) He’s the one they call when they want to beat up a non-issue and in he goes with all guns blazing and shoots ’em down.

  • usclat

    And a Spanish (Mexican version) word too: Ojete. [Pronounced “O-heh-teh”]

  • Octoberfurst

    You should have watched the whole thing. I thought Silverman did an excellent job. And Silverman didn’t tell people not to go to church. He said you don’t have to. And many people DO feel obligated to go to church at Christmas. In fact as a kid I remember my Pastor joking about “C&E Christians”—Christmas and Easter. He said that was the only time he saw some of the parishoners. They felt duty bound to go to church on those two days. Silverman was just saying, “Look you don’t have to go to church on Christmas. Just enjoy the holiday without the religious nonsense.”

  • Octoberfurst

    I hear ya! I can’t stand it either. I kept wanting to say to Hannity, “Would you shut the hell up for a minute and let Silverman finish his sentence!” But that is how wingnuts debate. They just talk over you and never listen to your response. You try to clarify your position on one point while they are already yelling at you about something else. Idiots.

  • Neko

    Who the hell is David Silverman to tell people what to do with their lives? The benighted church-going masses have been waiting for another savior to liberate them, is that it? Thanks to the kind of crap AA is running in Times Square atheists are in the thick of a manufactured culture war. We don’t need this fight.

    I appreciate your response, Octoberfurst, and I did watch it again, but I’m dismayed.

  • Remko Wagemakers

    What’s actually really ironic, is when Hannity accuses Silverman of ‘believing that this universe “magically” appeared into existence from nowhere’… Rrriiiight… 😉 But I have to applaud Silverman for keeping his cool in this discussion (if you could call it that…).

  • JeromeMac

    Good to watch, I forgot how much of a douchebag Hannity is.

  • Marcus Aurelius Girl

    After watching this, yeah, I am pretty pissed off at the ignorance of Christians.
    But what makes me even more unhappy is the way that religion seeks to divide people so fiercely. The “privileged” sheep from the “heretical” goats.

  • Octoberfurst

    He’s not telling them what to do. He is offering them an alternative.

  • shawn wenger

    There is now proof for Jesus we Better a stop giving to the poor stop the wise men just got lucky using astronomy to find the birth of Jesus we better tell all the Japanese cristians who helped tsunami victims more then the government it was for nothing that the bible said the earth was round long before man new even though the universe is mathmatically laid out it probably all happened on accident stop telling missionaries to stop feeding hungry kids worldwide and educating them it was just an accident that the most technological country has the most amount of cristians that’s an accident just like ther is more evidence for Jesus then ceaser existing the fact that the mention of Christ I sites violence against cristians u can look at the numbers it’s fact better tell all the addicts that have turned there life around for Jesus to find another reason to quit and most if all the man that freed slaves in America Martin Luther king junior was stupid for believing in Christ see why it’s hard for me to not believe wisdom comes from god and is different then knowledge hence why the wise men where wise astrologers

  • English involves the use of punctuation, such as the comma and the period. I suggest you familiarize yourself with their use if you want to communicate with other English-speakers.

  • Punctuation isn’t enough to save that one.

  • Anat

    So have we moved from airing of grievances to feats of strength?

  • Cake

    Shorter shawn wenger: WalloftextWalloftextWalloftextWalloftextWalloftextWalloftext

  • Cake

    We were already in the middle of a manufactured culture war. Telling us the better choice is to be quiet and move to the back of the bus for a few months seems really silly.

  • Randay

    Like Hannity, they are all for freedom speech, but only their own. If they can’t hear themselves prattle, they feel their rights are being violated.

    I enjoyed Hannity complaining that Silverman is poking people in the eye all the while that he is agressively pointing his finger, even his pen, at Silverman. One thing Hannity got right was at 1:26, “There’s somebody greater than me in the world.” I guess that includes almost everybody.

  • Randay

    I first read that as “For Hannity’s Sake…” Nothing can be done for Hannity’s (in)Sanity.

  • Randay

    First mistake: There is no proof that Jesus existed. The language mistakes are too many to mention. I guess you must be home-schooled.

    In a Cheech and Chong routine, a ex-addict knocks on their door to spread the good word. He says, “Hey, man, I used to be fucked up on drugs, now I”m fucked up on Jesus.”

  • new_atheist

    “Who the hell is David Silverman to tell people what to do with their lives?”

    So, what you are saying is, we should never suggest to other people that they should or should not do something, or propose alternative behaviors. Got it.

    Wait…didn’t you just tell David Silverman, and the rest of us, that we shouldn’t be doing something (i.e. telling people that they don’t have to treat Christmas as a religious holiday). Then, it seems you are OK with telling people they shouldn’t do something.

    You’re a very confusing person.

  • Malcolm Reynolds

    “Jesus is the reason for the season”. Where do these idiots come from? Seriously… I’m fairly certain most any 10 year old can tell you the winter solstice has NOTHING to do with Jesus, and that Christianity HIJACKED the season/holiday and attached the whole Jesus birth story/MYTH to it. Jesus has as much relevance to Christmas as the Easter Bunny has to Valentine’s day.
    And Hannity is proof that monkeys can indeed speak. That guy puts the simple in simpleton.

  • John Bridle

    Hannity belives the he can win arguments by shoutling and constantly changing the subject. Check mate? Laughable.

  • John Bridle

    My favorite was when aha nitty said “atheists believe something same from nothing, like magic”. The answer to that one is, no Sean, you believe that a man in the clouds made it appear out of nothing, that’s magic. Bonehead.

  • lorimakesquilts

    Any man who can hold his own against those two incredibly rude asshats has my respect. The constant interrupting and irgnoring of what has been said is appalling. These are the same idiots that complain about the disrespect of young people — look to yourselves for the reason why.

  • lorimakesquilts

    That’s about all you can do. Besides, they’re in it for the money. None of them really give a crap about any of it, they just maintain appearances and do their acting bit on the TV and collect the monies.

  • lorimakesquilts

    You forgot all of Fox (not the) News

  • ginalex

    I have to chime in with the idea that Silverman and anyone who would be going on to these Fox News shows with the opposing viewpoint, should no longer appear on Fox News. FNC is right leaning, yes, but it’s apparent that they are all about the arguing. They, of course, welcome Silverman or anyone like him to be able to say, “See we are presenting both sides”, but what does it ever accomplish? The viewers who agree with Hannity will still agree with him, the left leaning viewers, watching just to argue with their TV’s will still agree with Silverman at the end and the only thing it accomplishes is to get Hannity and Fox more ratings. Let’s stop acknowledging FNC altogether. Starve the beast and it will die.

  • Cafeeine

    Well, I would say that if you have to imagine an omnipotent divine entity in order to find something that is greater than yourself, that probably means you have a very inflated idea of yourself.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    There are always the lurkers to be lured down from the fence. And the side with the best apples gets the most lurkers. That is why we do these debate on TV and in the social media. In fact, I would take a random guess and suggest that you ginalex where one of those lurkers we won over because of our shiny apples, amiriht?

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    John, what else does he have in his ammo box that we have not shown to be a damp squib.

  • Neko

    Right, Hannity watchers will see Silverman and think to themselves “This atheist guy says I don’t have to go to church anymore! Whoohoo!”

    It’s obnoxious to go on national TV and declare that you know what these Christians are all about and by god, they don’t really want to go to church, so I’m here to break their chains. Of course Christmas was appropriated from pagan Rome and the solstice is ultimately “the reason for the season”; on the other hand, Christians have celebrated the 25th for over fourteen hundred years. They have a claim.

    What I see is Silverman getting played by some of the most despicable characters in the media. He’s just red meat for their base. I’ll bet the Fox producers can’t wait to get Silverman back on.

  • Can it be both?

  • Neko

    I do apologize for confusing you and commend your keen insight. Of course that is my position, that atheists should never say anything to anybody about anything.

    Mehta can trot out any old junk under the atheist banner, and you can count on the choir to come out singing Hallelujah. Suddenly the much-ballyhooed superior atheist faculties of reason and freethinking are abandoned because after all we’re a persecuted minority so it’s all good. Silverman can engage in a self-defeating campaign for atheists, and we are expected to cry Praise the Lord. No, I don’t think so.

  • Neko

    Because the only options are to uncritically support the AA/FFRF/etc. or go to the back of the bus. It’s a no brainer, isn’t it!

    If organized atheism must engage in the stupidest culture war of all, consider the alternative of the FFRF’s charming “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia” sign. If that were running in Times Square, it would be a whole different dynamic.

  • purelyjason

    Malcolm, I wish adults had as much sense as you suggest many 10 year olds have; unfortunately, I have not found this to be the case where I live. I am constantly telling the “Christmas story” to anyone who’ll listen–the one about how the tree has nothing to do with the biblical account, how christians stole the meaning of the holiday from the pagans and its roots in celebrating the solstice, and how all the evergreen decorations are used as a symbol of the “sun” returning to the earth once more, enabling life to continue. I often don’t stop with Christmas. I then go on to Easter, Halloween, etc. They look at me as if I just landed a spaceship in their back yards. I don’t believe many people ever think about it; they grew up seeing a big pine or spruce tree erected in their church and they just assume that it somehow fits into the story about Jesus. It never occurs to them to call it into question. It has been my experience that if someone has the wherewithal to actually investigate these things, they usually end up coming to the same conclusions we have about religion in general. This is why I love the billboards, interviews with people like Silverman, and other publicity; if nothing else, it can be the beginning of doubt for some folks who may not ever have gotten there on their own.

  • Screen playa

    I am glad we have Dave Silverman fighting for us. I DO wish he would stop saying that God definitely does not exist. Say there is no evidence, and that such a being is incredibly unlikely, and that we don’t believe in one but when he says god doesn’t exist, it opens the door to calling us believers, which we really aren’t.

  • Artor

    The Xian god definitely does not exist, as it posits specific qualities that clearly are not present in reality. Possibly, something that could be called “god,” in an extremely vague sense might exist, but it’s disingenuous to present that as the same god people who go to church are talking about.

  • Stephanie Thayer

    That’s terrible! Sad thing is, if we stop (as a group) appearing on these shows we’ll be deemed “Too afraid” to stand with our convictions. Talk show host like this are pest to society.

  • Artor

    Because that’s all Hannity knows how to do. If he’s louder, he must be righter, right?

  • Artor

    Fortunately, Silverman is well-experienced with Fox Noise, and he knows exactly what to expect when he goes on there. Lots of donations to AA, every time he appears.

  • kanehau

    Sean? Is that you?

  • gnostic67

    This is why christianity is such a horrible religion it makes people arrogant,ignorant,biased,bigoted,indifferent and stupid

  • sudon’t

    “By now, you’re all probably very sick of hearing Fox News and “War on Christmas” stories…”

    Are you kidding? I love this stuff! It’s now my favorite part of the season.

  • sudon’t

    You must live in a city. When you get outside the cities, Faux News is on every TV, in every bar, restaurant, and any other public place with a TV. I know, I found it bizarre, too. I’d never met anyone who watched Faux News, let alone took it seriously, up until a few years ago.
    I grew up in Chicago, and lived in places like Boston, San Francisco, and Austin. Then, I decided to try truck driving, and since then, I’ve hit half the small towns in this country. It’s really another world out here.

  • Sallie

    I actually watch them. I am a republican and an atheist, strange I know!! I believe in limited government, which has nothing to do with my lack of belief in the supernatural.

  • brianmacker

    Ramadan is also a stolen pagan holiday.

  • Andy Anderson

    “I must live in an alternate reality from the rest of you.”


  • UWIR

    Silverman went too far in saying “nobody” like church. It really weakens his case to be making that sort of arrogant, speaking for other people, statement, and it tips his position over from promoting his views to denigrating others.

  • idahogie

    Hannity accuses Silverman of just wanting to poke people in the eye. Then says that running an ad against Ramadan would piss of a lot of people, and wonders why Silverman doesn’t do it. He destroys his own point.

    Why does anyone listen to a moron like Hannity?

  • WingedBeast

    The thing about conservatives or Republicans saying they believe in “limited government” is that we both actually believe in that. We just disagree as to where those limits should be.

    I’d appreciate conservatives and Republicans factoring that into the discussion. And, whether you’re conservative or liberal, Fox News doesn’t factor that in because Fox News isn’t interested in being honest or having a discussion.

  • Ryan1159

    He should’ve said “no, I’m not offended” right off the bat. A lot of Christian groups claim that people remove their nativity scenes because they’re “offended.” We need to get across that it’s not about offense, it’s about legality.

  • JustMe

    Resorting to insults again. What a class act.

  • toth

    I wish he’d stay there.

  • Richard Thomas

    Actually, that wasn’t a resort to insults. That was just an insult tacked on to an observation of what happened.

  • Lately I have been very impressed with American Atheists Fox News appearances. Amanda and the Daves have all been doing a great job.

  • shockwaver

    Offended does describe it well though. I’m offended that Christian groups routinely flout the law and then cry and scream about oppression when their favoritism is called out. I’m offended that these people equate their “struggle” of having a nativity scene moved off of court grounds to the struggle that actually oppressed people deal with.

    But most Atheists I know make a very clear distinction between public land and private land – and Silverman was trying to make that point too.

  • WalterWhite007

    Hannity is a tool.
    What a minute…tools are useful.
    Hannity is a waste of space.

  • $84687101

    Axial tilt is the reason for the season!

  • $84687101

    Silverman seems to be getting better at this, as one would expect with all the practice Fox is giving him. His early appearances are not as good, but this year he’s hitting it out of the park and it seems to me that only the most ideologically biased fan of Fox conservatism could fail to agree that the Fox hosts are coming off looking like idiots and assholes compared to Dave.

  • Randy Burbach

    the typical right-wing response: losing an argument, change the parameters or change the topic

  • idahogie

    And failing to address my point again. What a simpleton.

  • You have your own stalker? Cool!

  • Joshua Pierce

    Checkmate… really?

  • HoboAttire

    Hannity puts words in opponents’ mouths and then talks over them. What a surprise.

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