Bill Maher: America 'Extremely Religious Because We're Young and Dumb'
America is "dumb" because it remains the most religious country in the western world. This according to Bill Maher, who made such a statement on the September 30 edition of "The View." Appearing to promote his new documentary "Religulous," Maher continued his soapbox rants against organized religion. Elisabeth Hasselbeck set up Maher noting his comparison of President Bush to Osama Bin Laden, and noted that many presidents such as John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, spoke publicly of a higher power. Maher likewise replied "of course, it’s, it’s a religious country, unlike every other civilized western democracy in the world, this country is still extremely religious because we’re young and dumb."
After denying judgment in his film, Bill Maher chastised those of faith for lacking "critical thinking." Hasselbeck followed up wondering if he believes those of faith are lacking intelligence. Maher denied he subscribes to such a sentiment, but added intelligent people of faith have a "neurological disorder" who "walled off part of [their] mind."
At the end of the segment Sherri Shepherd wondered if the comedian " ever just talked to God and asked God what does He think." Maher answered Sherri with the question "did he answer you?" When Shepherd answered in the affirmative, Bill Maher suggested she suffers from a mental disorder.
Before quickly moving to religion, Maher weighed in on the presidential campaign. On the subject of Sarah Palin, the comedian made an unintentionally funny line: "If Joe Biden made some of the comments she made to Katie Couric, we would think he had brain damage." Actually, the opposite holds true as, as NewsBusters has documented, the networks have been much quicker to jump on Sarah Palin’s gaffes than they have Joe Biden’s. Sherri Shepherd was quick to note Biden’s comment that FDR appeared on television when the stock market crashed.
Maher also, in his rant against Sarah Palin, labeled the Alaska governor a "bimbo," but very quickly added a bimbo can be a man or a woman. In an attempt to recover more, Maher also called Dan Quayle a "bimbo."
Relevent portions of the transcript follow.
BILL MAHER: It’s very unnerving when the secretary of the Treasury was on his knees in the White House.
JOY BEHAR: That’s usually Monica Lewinsky.
MAHER: If Joe Biden had made some of the comments she made to Katie Couric, we would think he had brain damage.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: He did.
MAHER: If Joe Cocker had said those things-
SHERRI SHEPHERD: Joe Biden actually did make- I mean he made the comment about Roosevelt and the TV comment and, you know, we laughed it off and said "that’s just Joe Biden."
BEHAR: Don’t underestimate- because look at George Bush, W. He was idiotic in the thing and they won. Dan Quayle, moronic, and they won.
HASSELBECK: Are you saying Sarah Palin’s moronic?
MAHER: Right, because-
BEHAR: Moronic, Dan Quayle-
HASSELBECK: No, no, are you equating Sarah Palin-
MAHER: I will.
[laughter and applause]
BEHAR: I’m not going there.
MAHER: Let me tell you, this Repu- this Republican party is so cynical, this is the third time in 20 years, Bush, Quayle, and now Palin, they have nominated a complete bimbo, which is a man or a woman.
HASSELBECK: You say that in case-
MAHER: They have bimbos, like Dan Quayle I remember in the debate, that asked him something like, I forget what the issue was, but it was like "what would you do if it was nuclear" or something catastrophic. And he of course, started to crap himself and had that look in his eye. And he went "well, first I would say a prayer." Yeah, that’s right, talk to your imaginary friend while the world is full of death, because that would really effectively do something.
HASSELBECK: You said before that George Bush is a religious fanatic like Osama Bin Laden. Equating the two I think is strange. But why do you feel this way just because he believes in God or because he, he does pray?
MAHER: Well, it affects his foreign policy. He says that.
HASSELBECK: But what about John F. Kennedy do you feel the same way about him because he’s said, you know I have right here, asking his blessing and his help here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own, FDR used similar comments, Lincoln-
MAHER: Of course, it’s, it’s a religious country, unlike every other civilized western democracy in the world, this country is still extremely religious because we’re young and dumb.
MAHER: And this movie- one reason why it got such good reviews- and even religious people who watched it liked this movie is, we don’t judge. We don’t point fingers. We’re not making anybody feel bad. I’m just asking questions that nobody asks because this is the last taboo subject.
SHEPHERD: How do you feel about faith, because there are a lot of men, great men, who during times of trouble relied on their faith, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mandela when he was in prison? How do you feel about faith, not organized religion?
MAHER: Well faith, faith, if you mean believing in something with no reason to, I’m not a big fan of that. Faith means lack of critical thinking. Every politician in this country says "faith guides me." And I go, why is that a good thing in your job?
HASSELBECK: Do you think someone with faith is then stupid and irrational automatically?
MAHER: I don’t because this is what we were saying, neurological disorder, it’s just because there are intelligent people who are religious. They just walled off a part of your mind.
SHEPHERD: Because I know in believing in God you have to suspend a lot of logic in believing in God. But when you did this movie, you talked to a lot of people about God. Have you ever just talked to God and asked God what does He think?
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: You better answer quickly baby because we’re running out of time.
SHEPHERD: Because God will talk to you Bill if you-
MAHER: The question is, the question, did he answer you?
SHEPHERD: Did he answer- he answered me? Absolutely.
MAHER: We should call Bellevue if you think-
SHEPHERD: No, we don’t need to call Bellevue.
MAHER: Because that’s just a voice in your-
SHEPHERD: No, it’s not a voice.