Bill Maher was born in New York City to a Catholic father and a Jewish mother.

His family stopped going to church, however, when Bill was a young teen due to his father’s objection to the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control. Judaism was almost a non-issue in the Maher household and young Bill didn’t even find out that his mother was Jewish until his early teens.1

Most of the research for this article was done by watching Bill Maher’s film, Religulous. The film very clearly outlines Maher’s religious beliefs interspersed with him making fools of religious people (which he very effectively does), be they fundamentalist Muslims or barely-educated truckers at a truck stop Christian church.

Maher would be considered, in traditional terms, an agnostic, saying:

I’m saying that doubt is the only appropriate response for human beings.2

However, Maher takes it a step further, calling himself an “apatheist”3 because he thinks religion is so ridiculous that it’s not even worth thinking or caring about–even though his films, numerous comments and critiques, and his show “Real Time with Bill Maher” would indicate that he does, in fact, care quite a bit. This is certainly not the only case of hypocrisy in Maher’s mentality–as we will see later.

Don’t label me. Ok, label me a liberal. Wait, I don’t want no labels

Politically, Maher doesn’t want to be put in any categories. He’s said that he is politically “practical.”4 However, he seems to be quite offended by the use of the word “liberal” as derogatory.5

Let’s just own up to it, O.K. Bill? You’re a liberal. Seriously dude, you’re a liberal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

He sits on the board of directors of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA),6 he endorsed Kerry over Bush and President Obama7 (even donating $1 million to Obama’s 2012 campaign),8 and opposed the Iraq War.9

There is one interesting case of Bill Maher breaking with liberal tradition–the tradition of blind tolerance. Maher is an outspoken advocate of “Western Values,” which he defended after making a comment about being alarmed that the most popular baby name in England is Mohammed. He said:

And when I say Westerner, I mean someone who believes in the values that Western people believe in that a lot of the Muslim world does not. Like separation of church and state. Like equality of the sexes. Like respect for minorities, free elections, free speech, freedom to gather. These things are not just different from cultures that don’t have them. … It’s better. … I would like to keep those values here.10

Can’t really say there’s much to disagree about there.

  1. Bill Maher. Wikipedia. []
  2. Bill Maher. Churchofliberty. []
  3. Bill Maher explains his ‘apatheism,’ apathetic atheism. Cnn. []
  4. Bill Maher. Piers Morgan. []
  5. Bill Maher On The Superiority of Western Values. Wn. []
  6. PETA salutes celebs to celebrate its 30th birthday. Nola. []
  7. Down to the Wire. Truthdig. []
  8. CrazyStupidPolitics: Bill Maher Live on Yahoo! Yahoo. []
  9. Bill Maher Interview. Avclub. []
  10. Bill Maher on Mohammed, Islam Comments. Mediate. []