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I wasn’t expecting to see this, but in hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised. On Friday, David Silverman, the former president of American Atheists, appeared on the propaganda network InfoWars to talk about the right-wing group he now advises, Atheists for Liberty.

Silverman joined conspiracy theorist and self-described “Jesus Freak” Kristi Leigh. He wasn’t there to explain why her beliefs are wrong as much as he wanted to use her platform to reach his desired audience. Just listen to how she introduced him:

LEIGH: We are welcoming in Dave Silverman, of Atheists for Liberty. He is a 25-year atheist activist, TV/radio personality, victim of cancel culture, former—former!—former woke leftist, he says. And now a Libertarian. I’m so excited to have you on. I didn’t get the chance to talk to you at CPAC, so I called you up, and you were all too willing to come on and have this conversation with—I called myself the Jesus Freak of InfoWars, and you were like, “Hey, that’s fine. I’ll talk to you!” So very cool on that. We were just talking about unity

“Victim of cancel culture” is a bizarre way to describe someone who was accused of sexual misconduct and spent the subsequent years alienating his former allies. It was inadvertently revealing how Leigh said Silverman was “all too willing” to join her. But where else would Silverman get away with telling lies like, “There’s one organization in the whole [atheist] movement that’s doing atheist activism. We’re the only ones”?

There’s an argument to be made that there’s value in speaking with people you disagree with because you believe their audience would benefit from hearing your perspective. I’ve done that myself. It’s the basis for most debates. This was not that.

Silverman used the interview to repeatedly try and win over the conspiracists watching the show. “The Left went pretty crazy and they went pretty racist,” he argued, before saying the audience needed to join forces with him to “fight for actual liberty” from those “who are actually trying to take actual liberty away.” He even offered this example: “That means freedom to have a peaceful trucker convoy without being demonized.” (The convoy is a right-wing attempt to do away with public safety measures in the midst of a pandemic that has taken nearly a million American lives.)

Silverman insisted throughout the interview that he was a liberal… which was about as convincing as every other conservative who uses the word “woke” unironically.

None of this should come as a surprise to people who have followed Silverman’s career arc. He’s taken on a few different roles in recent years hoping to return to a time where dueling religious billboards get national news coverage and when he’s regularly invited to be a “firebrand” on conservative news shows. Those days are long gone. While there are always more pressing issues, it wasn’t that long ago that the government was predominantly run by conservative Christians. The Supreme Court maintains that power. To claim to hold conservative values as an atheist in the U.S. these days means supporting a party that is beholden to the Christian Right.

Silverman’s latest vehicle for spreading this nonsense is Atheists for Liberty, a conservative group whose biggest project to date is defending atheists who lose their jobs for refusing to get vaccinated. As if receiving the same exemption as religious people is a more important fight than making sure people are vaccinated to keep the public safe. (They could’ve fought for no religious exemptions whatsoever; instead, they’re defending atheists who believe anti-vaxxer lies.)

Silverman serves as chairman of the organization’s Advisory Board, a group that currently includes Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay, Ron Lindsay, Michael Sherlock, Michael Shermer, and several others who are typically seen these days complaining about “cancel culture,” feminism, and “wokeness,” promoting grievance politics publication Quillette, and arguing that Joe Rogan is just asking questions. They want you to believe they’re spreading reason when the reality is they’re lending their academic credentials to the kind of conservative propaganda they once decried.

The group recently promoted their organization at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which is known for attracting the sort of Trump supporters who claim, without evidence, the 2020 election was stolen.

When Silverman was at American Atheists, they made headlines for purchasing booth space at CPAC. He defended that move at the time by arguing that it was possible to reject social conservatism while supporting ideas like small government. Critics, however, would say trying to find new members at CPAC makes as much sense as trying to promote atheism at a Flat Earth conference: Even if you were reaching a new audience, why were these the people you wanted to attract? (When that’s the crowd willing to accept you, you’ve made some terrible mistakes.)

That rationalization of reaching a new audience can’t be defended in these times. Atheists for Liberty went to CPAC because the group has more in common with conservative conspiracy theorists than the type of organizations that promote science, quality journalism, social justice, and reason-based policy. At best, they would rather see a government controlled by Christian nationalists than the current administration. (The group’s president is a Republican who worked with Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point USA, while Silverman says he voted for a third party candidate for president in 2020.)

So of course Silverman appeared on InfoWars. It’s simply the natural progression for a group that still hasn’t found reception, much less respect, from pro-science, pro-church/state separation, pro-democracy groups. And if you need more proof of it, just watch how they complain about this article—as well as the people who support them as they inevitably trash it.

They’re living proof that being an atheist doesn’t mean you’re rational about everything else.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.