An Invitation to Exorcise an Atheist


By Herb Silverman


The phrase “More Catholic than the Pope” usually refers to someone who is more religiously strict than the Catholic Church requires. Gordon Klingenschmitt, Republican nominee for Colorado House of Representatives District 15, is not Catholic, but I’d add him to the club.

Klingenschmitt was upset when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling against a Wisconsin public school district that had been holding graduation ceremonies in a local church. He assumed that atheists were responsible, and responded, “I have a solution. Let’s do an exorcism and cast the devil out of them and then they’ll feel comfortable when they walk into church.”

Klingenschmitt had previously claimed that President Obama’s support for gay marriage showed that Obama must be possessed by demonic spirits. He’s also said that Jesus will eventually rule against gay marriage and toss all gays into hell. It’s bad enough that Pope Francis and other Catholic clergy perform exorcisms on the gullible faithful in their own Church, but Klingenschmitt wants to exorcise the devil from everyone who disagrees with his theological and political views.

I rarely feel I can speak for all atheists, but I’ll make an exception for Gordon Klingenschmitt: Dear Gordon, I don’t know what your problem is with atheists, but it won’t be resolved with exorcisms. Any attempt to cast the devil out of atheists would be about as effective as my attempting to cast the Tooth Fairy out of you. We atheists can easily get rid of any evil spirits you dream up by simply not believing in them.

Theology aside, Klingenschmitt is wrong for a number of other reasons. I’ll list only three.

  1. It’s not just atheists who support the separation of religion and government. See, for instance, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, headed by a United Church of Christ minister, the Rev. Barry Lynn. Would Klingenschmitt support holding public school graduation ceremonies in mosques? In a Satanic Temple? Or in gay churches? If Klingenschmitt is opposed to public activities in those other venues, then he should understand why atheists and other secular Americans oppose our government favoring one religion over another or religion over non-religion.


  1. Klingenschmitt might try his best to drive evil spirits out of me, but I can assure him that only the finest single malt whiskys ever enter my body, and then very occasionally. No “devil” involved, only the product of highly skilled humans. Isn’t it strange that “whisky” in Gaelic means ‘water of life’, whilst in Cognac the local spirit is also called ‘l’eau de vie’. Another coincidence is that “fou” in French means mad, crazy, whilst in Scotland it means drunk, tipsy.

    In my opinion, Klingenschmitt is a “fou” king idiot.

    (For any pedants here, ‘whisky‘ is used only for Scotch. Any other whiskey comes from somewhere else. )

  2. Perhaps I should ask Klingenschmitt what the holy spirit is doing about all those dastardly atheists ? Nothing as usual, he leaves it all to His lackeys on Earth. Just as this same holy spirit lets 20,000 children die every day of poverty related issues, and does nothing. Nor does He intervene in wars nor prevent them happening, nor does He stop natural disasters. A pretty dam useless holy spirit, indeed an evil one, given His claimed omnipotent powers.

  3. Mr DArcy Jul 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    (For any pedants here, ‘whisky‘ is used only for Scotch. Any other whiskey comes from somewhere else. )

    There can be interesting confusions over a “common language”!

    “Scotch” may be an exclusive term for local whisky in Scotland, but in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, it is a term for McEwan’s ales. (From the Edinburgh brewery of Scottish and Newcastle).
    Some years ago a friend of mine was entertaining an American business acquaintance, who on being offered a drink in an hotel, said he would have the same as his host.
    My friend ordered “Two pints of Scotch” (ale), producing a stammering, “We d dd d d don’t drink it in pints in the States”, from his acquaintance!

    Ah! How the spirit moves in mysterious ways!

  4. So that’s why I feel uncomfortable in a church!

    I always thought it was the crushing boredom that made me feel uncomfortable. Now I can be relieved of the devil and sit comfortable through hours of pontificating bullshit!

  5. cast the devil out, … , you won’t have that squirming, torment inside

    That sounds more as if I’m an ‘Alien’ host, lol. Cleanup in pew 47!

    Mr. Silverman, have a trusted third-party tape anything you do. If memory serves, RD did not tape a certain exchange, and it came back to bite him.

  6. I am happy to volunteer to be exorcised by Klingenschmitt. He can give it his best shot, with his best priest and see if it has any effect. If we could get a hundred atheist volunteers, it may have some statistical significance.

  7. Religious sneering is the hallmark of the perpetual adolescent. Silverman’s mockery of Klingenschmitt’s religious convictions proves that much.

  8. harry Jul 18, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Religious sneering is the hallmark of the perpetual adolescent. Silverman’s mockery of Klingenschmitt’s religious convictions proves that much.

    Communication needs to get down to the level of the (non-) listener.

    Religious delusions, with magic miracles substituted for systematic planning of research and deductive reasoning, are a sign of arrested development at a pre-adolescent stage of mental development.

  9. Elvis is alive sneering is the hallmark of the perpetual adolescent.

    I never sneer myself and this article by Silverman is not sneering either. It is a full out belly laugh at the perpetual adolescent behavior of god bothers. Just as the Elvis is alive crowd god bothers must expect ” to pay a social price in ill concealed laughter ” ( Harris ) and be mocked into the bargain in the 21st century.

  10. As a Scot, if you ever asked for scotch in a bar here you would get just about as ridiculed as an antivaxxer at a scientific conference

  11. Oh dear harry ! No humour ? No reason ? No science allowed ? Mockery is too good for the likes of Klingenschmitt. Evil spirits and Satan, my backside ! This is 2014, time to move on and away from the reactionary views of the likes of him.

    So harry thinks we are adolescent in our views ? Well here, this atheist included, is how some others view his religion

    A barrel of laughs for an adolescent like me !

  12. Chris Jul 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    As a Scot, if you ever asked for scotch in a bar here you would get just about as ridiculed as an antivaxxer at a scientific conference

    Mr DArcy Jul 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm
    A barrel of laughs for an adolescent like me !

    Exorcising an adolescent spirit?

    12 year old malt anyone???

  13. While everyone else is discussing the finer points of Malt Liquor, I’m wondering where the other two points are. Only one point is given and Mr. Silverman said he has three points. Now, I could be mistaken and my browser is only showing one point, but I doubt that because I’ve tried on Safari and Firefox.

  14. Hate to burst your bubble, but Canadian whiskys also spell it “Whisky”. Might be something to do with the volume of Scottish people that landed here over the years.

    I remember a few years ago the Scotch Whisky Association, spent 9 years and at least one appeal trying to stop a distillery near by where I grew up from using the name, Glen Breton for the whisky they’d started to sell. They felt that dispite the words “Made in Canada” and a rather stylish red maple leaf laid on the label; that it would “confuse Scotch drinkers.”

    They even claimed this was the intent and the only reason they used the word glen at all in the second case. The defence pointed out, the name came form the name of the distillery. The Glenora Distillery, which took its name from Glenora Falls, which feeds into the large brook distillery takes all its water. Glenora Distillery is in Glenville, 20 minutes south of Inverness, in Inverness county, in New Scotland (Nova Scotia). Hilariously, the judge tossed the case out.

    Funny little side story for ya. Slàinte! (mmmmm rye whisky)

  15. He’s welcome to try to exorcise the demons from me if it helps me shed a few lbs. Do demons weigh anything? Just so long as the exorcism doesn’t look anything like the “Lebanese Gay Test” 😛

  16. Dan

    Hate to burst your bubble, but Canadian whiskys also spell it “Whisky”.

    Yes, point taken, but now even the upstart English now have a St George’s “Whisky” made in Norfolk of all places. Probably used to strip the paint off all those boats on the Broads !

  17. Reminds me of the Billy Connelly joke.
    Two scots are in Rome out for a beer or two. The bar the are in doesn’t serve their normal tipple of “heavy” so they say “when in Rome… hey bar man what does the pop drink?”
    The bar man says “I hear he likes creme de menth”.
    “Ok they say give us two pints of that”.
    The next day they wake in puddle of their own sick in an alley way.
    One exclaims to the other. “thats what the pope drinks!? no wonder they carry him round on a chair…”

  18. They must be holy. After one shot of Macallan, I had to violently throw up into a convenient receptacle. I suspected at the time this could be meaningful. I am either allergic to grain alcohols, or Satanic in nature. Communion crackers make me kinda sick also.

  19. But the holiest spirit of them all comes from Northern Ireland of course where they take their spirituality very seriously. Bushmills 10 year old single malt is the perfect compromise (that’s why the peace process worked, sort of, in NI) between the kind of harsh firewater (Presbyterian?) Scotch that made “xenubarb” (below) sick and the southern Irish (Catholic?) whiskey that’s way too smooth and slick.

  20. don’t be so keen, i was subjected to an excorcism this morning. it’s not pleasant.

    2 apes come along and talk all softly with promises of reward then one grabs you and holds you down while the other one annoints the back of your neck right under your fur so you can’t lick it off.

    I was rewarded with a handful of treats afterwards and I’m reliably informed I haven’t been posessed for ages but do have to go through this ritual every 3 months apparently.

    As for churches I love them. beautiful old buildings some of them it’s just the christians that are the problem. I’d probably feel the same way about ancient stone circles if every time I visited one I’d have to listen to a bunch of druids talking nonsense at me

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