One of the most dishonorable aspects of aggressive atheism is that its proponents tend to take on easy targets. They protest a cross on a city seal, but ignore atrocities of Muslim radicals. Bill Maher is one aggressive atheist that doesn't display this cowardice.
A few weeks ago on his HBO show Maher took fellow liberal Tavis Smiley to task over the sexual assault against CBS News reporter Lara Logan. Unfortunately, HBO took down the Youtube video, but the exchange went something like this.
Maher asked why Muslim men have issues with women.
Smiley interrupted to say that we aren't in a position to judge, since American society still discriminates against women.
Maher berated Smiley for his stupidity. He replied that while the US is not perfect, he'd rather see women paid eighty cents against a dollar for a man than have their head chopped off. He went on to explain that in his view there is something wrong with Islam that is exhibited in it's treatment of women.
More recently, Maher had Keith Ellison as a guest in an interview that is accurately described as confrontational. Maher started out by introducing Ellison as a convert to Islam and joking that Ellison must have converted in prison.
He followed up by suggesting the Koran is a "hate-filled" book. He stopped Ellison in his tracks, preventing him from changing the subject to right wing militias, the KKK, and abortion bombers by suggesting that the scope of the threat from Islamic extremists was far greater. One quote of Maher's that I found interesting was:
Right wing nuts, they think they love this country and they are not trying to destroy this country. They want to get it away from the people that they see as hijacking it. That's different from Muslim extremists who want to destroy it.
I will give credit to Ellison, who not kept his composure despite the aggressive nature of Maher's interview. He had to know that Maher would not provide a sympathetic line of questioning, yet he had the guts to face his criticism. I don't necessarily disagree with his position that radical Islamic terrorism is a political and not a religious act. However, I think it's good to have a debate on this topic. Kudos for Bill Maher for refusing to follow the liberal orthodoxy and pursuing such debate.
Watch it for yourself: