In this deeply revealing and engaging autobiography, Herb Silverman tells his iconoclastic life story. He takes the reader from his childhood as an Orthodox Jew in Philadelphia, where he stopped fasting on Yom Kippur to test God’s existence, to his adult life in the heart of the Bible Belt, where he became a legendary figure within America’s secular activist community and remains one of its most beloved leaders. Never one to shy from controversy, Silverman relates many of his high-profile battles with the Religious Right, including his decision to run for governor of South Carolina to challenge the state’s constitutional provision that prohibited atheists from holding public office. Candidate Without a Prayer offers an intimate portrait of a central player in today’s increasingly heated culture wars. It will be sure to charm both believers and nonbelievers alike, and will lead all those who care about the separation of church and state to give thanks.
Born in Philadelphia, Herb Silverman received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Syracuse University and is Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at the College of Charleston. He has published over 100 research papers in mathematics journals, a couple of books on Complex Variables, and is the recipient of the Distinguished Research Award.
In 1990, a colleague pointed out that atheists were ineligible to hold public office in South Carolina. After an eight-year battle, Herb won a unanimous decision in the South Carolina Supreme Court, which struck down this religious test requirement. He founded the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, SC, and is founder and faculty advisor to the College of Charleston student Atheist/Humanist Alliance. He is a board member of the American Humanist Association, advisory board member of the Secular Student Alliance, and member of the Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Herb has appeared in a number of debates, including one at the Oxford Union in Oxford, England on the topic: Does American Religion Undermine American Values? He has spoken at numerous freethought conferences and given sermons at Unitarian churches. He has had many articles in freethought publications, writes for Secular World, has a book chapter called “Inerrancy Turned Political” in The Fundamentals of Extremism, and is an “On Faith” panelist for the Washington Post online. Herb’s new book is titled Candidate Without a Prayer, An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt. Read more about Candidate Without a Prayer here.