So, we went to the Reason Rally Yesterday. We got there around 7:30 and got excellent space about 10 feet back from the VIP section with a clear view of the stage. We got to hear a lot of great speakers and great Music. My six year old daughter loved Tim's boob song. She and my wife tours a few of the museums during the speeches.
The tents were of course too crowded with peeps avoiding the rain, so unfortunately I couldn't get to the AN booth or any of the others. We also had to be back in town by 8, so we couldn't make the after party either. :(
We had a great time. To me, the rain just solidified the experience. People were there from all over the world, there was no way they were going to let a little precipitation keep them in hotel rooms.
Fred Phelps's merry band of ass-hats were there too of course. Which I am thankful for. I think most other religious organisations stayed away to avoid being confused for them. You would hardly know they existed if it weren't for their ignorant signs poking up from the horde of atheists that surrounded them to debate or otherwise drown out their stupidity. It was awesome to hear from his son Nate, who had an inside perspective of the cult. Ask him if religion is harmless.
When I got there, I checked in on facebook, without any filter. I decided that I would not betray the spirit of the "coming out event for atheist" by hiding in the closet at all. I'm a little too old to be hiding who I am from anyone. I've had the atheist tag in my profile for some time now, but I've never made any open declaration. So of course, this sparked a discussion with a theist friend that pointed to the rain as a sign of God's disapproval of the event. She was half-kidding and not at all judging me. But of course, other chimed in that they were disappointed and did not find this funny. The truth is, I only have one other openly atheist friend on facebook and she is my wife. However, I am certain there are more. The closet is very crowded after all, you'd just never know it in the dark.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I am very appreciative for AN for being there as a "facebook for atheists", but this should not be necessarily. FACEBOOK should be the facebook for atheists. Everyone you know that hates atheists is unaware that they love at least one. This was one message of the rally. We have to let them know this. So don't hide in the shadows anymore.
The Reason Rally was a good start, but we have to keep up the momentum. Help your friends on facebook and in other facets of your life that could be closeted atheists know that its OK to come out because they are not alone. Like one of the signs I saw at the Rally said, "we aren't the ones who are crazy".
Anyway, here are a few pics from the event. Sorry about the quality, I don't pretend to be a photographer:
Cool, you saw Tim Minchin. Jealous! Thanks for sharing.
Yeah, he did "Confessions", "Storm", "The Pope song" and "If I didn't have you". As always, he didn't hold back. No filter. I don't know that Fuck has ever been uttered so many times in such a short period in the history of the Mall.
Tim Minchin was beyond awesome.
"...the rain as a sign of God's disapproval of the event."
Actually, it was a sign that the science used to predict the weather got it right days before the event. We all trusted that science, and came prepared… ponchos and umbrellas everywhere.
But, …no god(s) in evidence.
Absolutely. We bought ponchos and an umbrella days before not to mention zip-lock bags and saran wrap for the electronic devices. And in the rain, we still trounced Beck's insane rally according to the Park Service (reported +20K half way through) . I would say that constitutes a success given the marketing was limited to social media, a few billboards and David Silverman hitting just about every atheists podcast out there. I can only imagine what it would be like with a broader campaign. But this one was for us. We are not alone.
One of our group even brought a towel, …at the end of the day I pointed at the towel and said, "Ahhh yes, I forgot about Douglass Adam's advice."
He just nodded and said:"If you're going to survive out there, you've really got to know where your towel is."
~ Ford Prefect, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
I really hate that you can't "like" comments here! LIKE!
This was very evident at the rally. A huge number of the attendees were college aged. I think of course part of that is having a little more freedom at that age to travel and not be hampered by children or prior commitments. But I think more than that is we are talking about a generation of people that don't know of a time before the internet. The free exchange of ideas is the order of the day and bullshit is checked and dismissed almost immediately. There used to be a time when we just had to wonder about stuff.
While I totally agree that we need to keep up the momentum and stay in the public eye, please remember that it is a very scary transition for lots of people. Even months of deliberation, I took me a lot of strength to say, even just to myself, "There is no god". I also have had the "Atheist" tag on my "Religion", but it wasn't until just a few days ago that I changed my profile pic to FSM and posted an excerpt from Adam Savage's speech at the rally, but I still haven't worked up the courage to post it openly as a status message. I am not, in any way, saying you're wrong, but it's not easy, for a lot of people, to just pop onto Facebook and say "Here I am!"
No, I agree completely. Not everyone is in the same circumstances or in a position to simply come out. My transition literally took years. No one I have known in my life has ever been an out atheist. Because of this, I hung around in the closet for about 5 years before even coming out to my wife. a few more before anyone else knew.
No one can tell you when you are ready to come out of the closet. Its up to the individual how and when they do it. I understand completely that some people have more at stake than others. My only message is that of encouragement.
I just allowed it to be known by everyone else that I am an atheist. And I haven't have any monumental status update or any such public proclamation. I don't want to put it in anyone's face stating "Hi, I'm an atheist" or such, rather if the subject of faith comes up, I let them know where I stand.
As it so happens, we will be visiting relatives tomorrow and I'm sure my mother has something to say about the news.
After reflecting on your post a bit, I found it gave me a bit more courage and I actually mouthed off a bit on my "public" Facebook account about the fact that the Rally had minimal media coverage. After a post like that visible to all my family and friends, I would normally feel fearful of the replies to it. Yesterday, I didn't care. You empowered me a bit, so thank you!!