Penn and Glenn

There was a fascinating discussion earlier this month when atheist Penn Jillette was asked to appear on Glenn Beck’s show. They have an interesting relationship in that they are both libertarians, but otherwise complete opposites.

Beck, who pennglenndiscusses his Christian faith all the time, actually held up Penn’s new book, Every Day is An Atheist Holiday, while stopping well-short of actually recommending it.

Later on, Beck decided to ask about what he sees as attacks on religion around Christmas.  His single example was local: The illegal nativity on the courthouse lawn in Ellwood City (not mentioned by name, but clear from the context).  Beck makes his strongest case and Penn does not give him an inch.  It is a wonderful discussion and Penn makes it clear that it is the nativity supporters that are the bullies and not the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

You can skip over Beck’s opening monologue that has little to do with the interview.  The Ellwood City debate starts at 24:44.


About SamStone

A Steel City Skeptic who thinks science and reason is the light that we should follow to find our way in this world.
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9 Responses to Penn and Glenn

  1. sk8eycat says:

    I may be naive, but I think Penn Gillette’s appearance on Glenn Beck’s show probably reached a lot of people who would never have watched him being interviewed by Rachael Maddow or Al Sharpton on MSNBC. Maybe a few fence-sitters discovered that atheists are not wild-eyed, devil-worshipping commies.


  2. revelmundo says:

    Why would Penn want to discuss anything w/ a known, certified lunatic? He may as well have called Bellevue and asked to hold audience w/ anyone claiming be to be Jebus or Napoleon. If he’s that desperate to share his ignoramus, self-centered, destructive libertarian political tenents I would have much preferred to hear him pontificate on his tripe w/ Ted Kazinsky.

    I immediately loose all respect for anyone who would dare to try having a rational dialogue w/ a known mental case, particularly a deranged and dangerous mental case like Glenn Beck. The man is sick. He’s poison.

    I watched the entire video. I was just waiting for Penn to claim that slavery was OK if that’s what you believe and consent to practicing it in your own home, without his dime. He said everything but. What an asshole.

    • Dan M. says:

      I’ve never been more than lukewarm with Penn’s take on things. And you’re spot on with Glenn’s carcinogenic lunacy. But, the simple fact that this aired on Beck’s show – Penn’s offense at the nativity and Beck permitting him a podium to define its unconstitutionality, was one small step for a secularist, one giant leap for secularism.
      I can’t help but wonder if this interview would have even aired had the November presidential election had a different outcome.

      • revelmundo says:

        I have never been a proponent of the notion that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Just because a person identifies as a secularist (or in PG’s case, an atheist) does not immediately qualify him as a member of the Rational & Egalitarian Gang.

        I become immediately distrustful of people who advocate for “less government and more personal liberty.” Aside from being the most stupendously simplistic political notion that one can utter, it’s also the most naive and perniciously dangerous idea floating around our national political landscape. It’s these people who advocate for the abolition of the EPA, the FDA, federally sponsored education and nutritional programs, equal pay for equal work rules, sensible gun control legislation and the like. Rand Paul (PG’s soul mate) even advocates for the right of restaurant owners to re-establish “no coloreds allowed” rules at their lunch counters. I have not heard PG support Paul’s utterance but I strongly suspect that he does. These people are cranks and wackjobs.

        These people are not champions of democracy, egalitarianism or expanded personal liberty. They are, in fact, its enemy. We should be very careful when contemplating welcoming such dangerously naive minds fully into our tent simply because they help to rationally articulate one of our most cherished tenants – constitutionally mandated Church/State separation.

        Their naiveté poisons everything.

  3. revelmundo says:

    I look upon the libertarian political perspective as extremely naive and have almost zero respect of it. It’s near-sighted, harmful, and and on most important social, cultural and political issues, just plain stupid.

    I’m starting to view at Penn through the same lens. He’s ridiculous. His willingness to sit down and talk to a known ignoramus and delusional asshole is the first hint that a neural pathways has severed itself in his brainial cavity.

    Watching the video was akin to listening to two jackasses braying at each other.

    • SamStone says:

      Penn is a performer first and one with a very odd sense of humor that takes some getting use to. I find it interest that he can talk with people like Glenn Beck, without Beck going off on a tirade.

      He is one face of atheism in the popular media, along Ricky Gervais, Bill Maher, etc., and I would not dismiss his influence or insights. At the same time, I would still go to Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss, and others for deep scientific discussions. The movement needs both sides.

    • SamStone says:

      For those that want to hear Penn’s view of appearing with Glenn Beck, you can hear it starting at minute 46:46 of his weekly podcast, Penn’s Sunday School, at “”. Click play, give some time to load, and then click ahead to hear the second half.

      Not recommended for the good Rev. It will definitely drive him more crazy.

  4. revelmundo says:

    Lost hyperlink. Cannot access the video.

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