Thousands of Atheists and Secularists gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Saturday, June 4 for a “Reason Rally” aimed at boosting the political power of the millions of non-believing Americans who form a fast-growing bloc of potential voters in the United States.
Major issues of the rally included such topics as the importance of a secular society and the continuation of the separation of church and state; as well as climate change, reproductive rights and LGBT equality.
Lyz Liddell, Executive Director of the Reason Rally, said that the gathering was “absolutely“ a political event, adding, “That’s the reason we’re holding this in an election year. We want to see reason taking precedence over religious-driven ideology.”
Doc Gregory, from Hagerstown, Maryland—a rally attendee—added to the message: “We are here, we are one, we are joined and we are celebrating our secular movement and we want more of this in our government.”
Among those making an appearance included Bill Nye, magician Penn Jillette, The Amazing James Randi, Lawrence Krauss, comedians Lewis Black and Julia Sweeney, Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, Dave Silverman from American Atheists, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker from Freedom From Religion Foundation, activist Maryam Namazie, and members of the hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan.
The significance of the site of the rally was not lost on the participants, since it was the site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech, among other historic events.
Lawrence Krauss: “I have a dream that some day children are encouraged to reach their full potential by providing them with the tools they need to learn and encouraging them to question everything.” Krauss is a theoretical physicist and an atheist activist.
NASA scientist Carolyn Porco told the crowd that the only way to address political problems is not to “pray the problems away, but to think the problems away.”
Thousands of attendees crowded the National Mall bearing signs with slogans like “I Think Therefore I’m Atheist” and “Impeach God”. On the fringes, a small group of protesters gathered with signs reading “God doesn’t believe in Atheists”.
The organizers were hoping for about 30,000 attendees. Actual turnout was slightly less.
Photo Credits: Joe.My.God