by Paul Bowers
South Carolina's most famous atheist has announced that he will no longer write for On Faith, a religion blog started by the Washington Post.
Herb Silverman, a retired College of Charleston math professor and founder of the Secular Coalition for America, wrote more than 175 pieces for the blog, but on Wednesday he announced that he'll be publishing his work elsewhere. He says the move was prompted by a change in the focus of On Faith, which is no longer affiliated with the Washington Post and is being rolled into a new website called faithstreet.com that helps connect people to churches in their area. Explaining his decision to leave the website, Silverman says that Faith Street is "not a street on which I live."
"My guess is that the new Faith Street will have humanist voices that are still respectful of religion and probably won't want to have harsh atheist voices — and sometimes I'm both," Silverman says. He says editors of the site rejected a piece of his recently. His latest column, "A Dangerously Incurious Pope," appears instead as a guest post on Hemant Mehta's popular Friendly Atheist blog. He says several atheist and humanist groups have offered to give him a platform since he left On Faith.
"It's been gratifying," Silverman says. "I feel like I'm more popular after being rejected than before. It's almost like one door closes and three doors open."
In one of his final On Faith columns from October, Silverman predicted that atheists would soon become a respected part of mainstream America, "along with progressive religious allies." He says he's still optimistic.
"I think the religious right has lost some influence over the past decade as atheist and humanist organizations have become better organized and people who aren't part of either are just becoming more apathetic about religion," Silverman says.
A previous version of this story mistakenly indicated that On Faith is still affiliated with the Washington Post. The blog is now a part of Faith Street, which is not affiliated with the Washington Post. We regret the error.