The Reason Rally
organizers hope that by holding this gathering, it will give "closeted" atheists the confidence to "come out" and to show the religious majority that atheism is alive and well in America.
The rally is being sponsored by several atheist organizations, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation
, the Center for Inquiry
, the American Humanist Association
, and the American Atheists
, which is holding its annual convention
in D.C. the very same weekend.
The Reason Rally has already attracted many speakers from the fields of science, literature, music, and entertainment. Evolutionary biologist and famous atheist Richard Dawkins will be the crowning jewel in the speaker lineup that includes PZ Meyers, author Taslima Nasrin, magician and professional debunker James Randi, writer/blogger Greta Christina, Mythbusters
host Adam Savage, and President of American Atheists David Silverman. Music will be provided by Australian comedian/singer Tim Minchin and legendary rock band Bad Religion, of which lead singer Greg Graffin is an outspoken atheist as well as a doctor in zoology.
Another noteworthy speaker will be Jessica Ahlquist, the 16 year old Rhode Island girl who recently fought a legal battle to remove a prayer banner from her school's auditorium. Ahlquist has been the subject of much harassment, death threats, and ostracism from her own classmates and community. Her own congressman, Democrat Peter G. Palumbo, went on a news talk radio show
and called her "an evil little thing", a nickname Ahlquist is embracing in irony.
With an election rife with religious undertones, the Reason Rally is being held at just the right time. In the past 12 years alone, America has had to endure wars that were started because, according to George W. Bush
, 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ." This rally aims to show that not all Americans agree with using God as a reason for war, and that religion and government need to stay separate.
The Rally also hopes to show that atheists are not the baby-eating, lecherous heathens they are made out to be by religious leaders, and that secular ideas should have equal presence in legislation.
In a related note, I will be attending the Reason Rally and will be reporting on it over the course of the weekend. I am also attending the AA National Convention. As an outspoken atheist myself, I feel it is my duty as an American and as an atheist to support and attend this gathering. Atheists, agnostics and those unaffiliated with a religion make up about 16% of the population, and are the second largest "religious" group in the country
. Secular Americans are tired of not having their voices heard, being discriminated against, and being ostracized from our communities and our families simply because we do not believe in any gods. I, as well as all the other atheists in the country, are hoping this rally will open some eyes and some minds to the religious tyranny that has pervaded our government.