Trevor Noah, the replacement for Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” was recently found to have made some tweets a few years ago that some people have interpreted as misogynistic and anti-Semitic. There has been much news coverage of this controversy, but the mainstream media missed the harmful tweets that Noah aimed at atheists.
Various secular bloggers unearthed and promulgated many of Noah’s 140-character criticisms of atheism last week. Unfortunately, these tweets were neither humorous nor thoughtful critiques — the posts merely lambasted atheists.
For example, shortly after the famed journalist and atheist social critic Christopher Hitchens died in 2011, Noah wrote that atheists “worship him” and therefore,
“#WeAllNeedAGod.” He also claimed that “Without God, atheists wouldn’t exist” and asked why “atheists don’t spend as much [time] questioning satan’s existence.”
While I do not believe that we should censor comedians because of political correctness, I found Noah’s posts to be quite problematic. Atheists in the United States and around the world are marginalized. Here at home, atheists are distrusted as much as rapists. Only 54 percent of Americans are willing to vote for an atheist running for office, compared to 96 percent for a black candidate, 95 percent for a female contender or 68 percent for a gay candidate. Noah’s rhetoric only serves to further stigmatize atheists.
Looking toward the future, let us hope that Noah doesn’t use his new platform to spout more anti-atheist bigotry.