Local atheist author to sign new memoir


When mathematician Herb Silverman retired from the College of Charleston in 2009, his wife, Sharon Fratepietro, encouraged him to write about his life. She had been listening to interesting stories about his upbringing in Philadelphia, his Orthodox Jewish family, his interest in baseball and his black sheep status.

“You should write your autobiography,” she told him.

So he did. Earlier this year, “Candidate Without a Prayer” was released by Pitchstone Publishing. It describes Silverman’s life as an atheist outcast.

And it recounts his adventure running for governor of South Carolina in 1990, not because he wanted to run the state, but because he wanted to knock down an anachronistic leftover law that forbade open atheists from holding public office.

The race thrust Silverman into the public eye, and in the years that followed, he became a vocal defender of the rights of nonbelievers, engaging others in public debates about religion and becoming a political activist.

Silverman will be at Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St., 3-5 p.m. today to sign copies of his book and perhaps answer a few questions about what it’s like for an atheist to live in the Bible Belt.