Cenk Uygur on Truth in Media and Atheist Missionaries

At the American Humanist Association’s 71st annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 8th, 2012, The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur received the Humanist Media Award. The following excerpts are from his acceptance speech:

Cenk Uygur

Now, I understand there aren’t a lot of open agnostics or atheists or humanists on TV, which is part of the reason I’m here. And I watch Bill O’Reilly from time to time, and whenever he uses the term “secular humanist,” he spits it out: those ssssecular humanists. I don’t get it — secularism is great. I mean, even if you’re religious, you shouldn’t want to mix religion and government. One, it hurts your religion overall; and two, which religion gets to dictate the law? And then with the term humanist — who’s against human beings?

The truth is, when agnostics or atheists or humanists come out on national television and say they don’t believe in a god it offends people. (You know what offends me? When people say I’m going to be eternally tortured by Satan, ostensibly because I don’t believe in him or his better half.) So why do I speak out when others don’t, on this issue and others as well? Because I think you should tell the audience what’s true.

What if we… sent missionaries all across the world saying, “Hey! This is not a dry run. Whether you believe in a god or you don’t, live this life.” United, we can make a difference, whether it’s in politics, whether it’s in the media, or whether it’s in this fantasy I have of missionary work for humanists.

(via The Humanist)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • cipher

    which religion gets to dictate the law

    Why, the only true one, of course!

    (You know what offends me? When people say I’m going to be eternally
    tortured by Satan, ostensibly because I don’t believe in him or his
    better half.)

    You can’t say that! Why [gasp!], that’s discrimination!

    (And technically speaking, it’s God who does the torturing.)

  • cipher

    Great line from the article:

    Former Texas Governor Ann Richards had that great line about George W.
    Bush: He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple. I happen to
    think he was born on third base and thought he’d kicked a field goal.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Atheist missionaries – reminds me of John Safran going door to door in Salt Lake City.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, Blonde

    Cenk is such an awesome cutie. he’s been a little overly self promoting of late, but i’ve always adored his aplomb and style. good on him for speaking up. 

  • Cicada

    For years Cenk has been one of those people who has a really muddled understanding of what ‘atheist’ and ‘agnostic’ mean. (An, “I’m not an atheist, I’m agnostic because I don’t know” person). Not to say he’s not entertaining, I watch the show most days, it’s juts irritating.


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