Political satirist Bill Maher went to bat for atheists in a new ad for advocacy group Openly Secular in which he urged them to speak up, and then he knocked the Bible as a book "based on ancient myths" written by men who didn't know where the sun went at night.
Openly Secular, which is a coalition of four of the most popular secular organizations including the Richard Dawkins Foundation, seeks to "to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance by getting secular people — including atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and nonreligious people — to be open about their beliefs," according to their website.
Maher explains in the ad posted to YouTube that when he found out about the group, he had to sign up because he's openly secular and prefers to make decisions based on science and facts, not based on "ancient myths."
"Now, it seems to me the most obvious decision a person could make in their life: Do I want to make real world policy decided on the basis of proven facts and the outer reaches of where humans have gotten to do [sic] in science, or do I want real world decisions made based on ancient myths, written by men who didn't know what a germ or atom was, or where the sun went at night?" he said.
"I pick Choice A. Science and facts. I want to do the smartest thing possible. Smart choices, I feel, have a greatest chance of resulting in me being happy. I like happy. That is my goal," he continued as his audience roared with laughter.
He then encouraged atheists to speak up.
"But not everybody feels this way. And that's OK too. But for the people who do see it that way, it's really important that you say so. So it's important if you are a secular person to stand up and say, 'It's not OK to make decisions based on myths!'" he said.
"Don't let it look like, in America, that the most reasonable — not to mention correct — fact-based argument is really the weird one, the one held by a tiny minority of misguided eggheads. No! Secularists are bigger than that! Way bigger! But you gotta show yourself. You might find you have more friends than you think," he ended.
Todd Stiefe, chair of Openly Secular, thanked the comedian for his support in a press release.
"Beneath Bill Maher's typical satire and cutting humor lies a deep and abiding dedication to reinforcing the importance of looking at our world through the lens of science and reason. … On occasion his humor may offend some people, but he is part of a time-honored American tradition, in which it is the humorists who are willing to point out uncomfortable truths — even if it means ruffling some feathers," he said.