Trip report - Reason Rally
Posted: 26 March 2012 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I won’t discuss the Reason Rally performances in detail since you can see/hear most of them for yourself on YouTube (one such LINK)

My wife and I arrived on Thursday and stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bethesda.  After getting in a couple of great runs on the beautiful trails near the hotel and finding some good food, we went to the CFI reception Friday evening. It was my first time standing within three feet of Dawkins. As a Humanist I felt some of the star-struck stuff but as a realist I didn’t act goofy. Ron Lindsay took the podium first. The room was small and uncomfortably warm but everyone was in a good mood and managed to smile while they clicked their cameras and drank there pop or five dollar beer. Ron briefly discussed the significance of the rally and the history that led up to it. He then introduced VICTOR HARRIS, a poet who recited a funny story about two great fizzy yet opposing religions called soda and pop. (I can’t find that on YouTube, but it really was good)

Then Dawkins took the podium. He said that he cannot believe that a country that is so well educated and leads the world in technology and science can have such a statistically significant percentage of its population that believes in the supernatural. He then went on to state that the statistics are likely wrong. He mentioned a survey that showed something like 72% of respondents claimed to be Christian. Those respondents were later asked why they checked the Christian square. They said that they just wanted to show that they were “good” people. They equated being Christian with being good. That’s what it comes down to for many, and we have to change that.

My wife mentioned that she saw Jessica Alquist in the hallway and that Jessica was really nervous. I went to see her and to let her know that she was among friends. What an evil little thing she is, indeed! She was kind enough (evil enough?) to take a picture with me just before she headed out the door. Her nerves would not let her speak tonight. I was so happy to see that she recovered completely and gave a very nice talk at the rally. She said that she saw all of us as evil little things.  LOL

The protests were small and easily ignored and the hosts of the rally reminded people that we are here for the free hugs. What was more interesting to me was the passersby who squinted to read the signs that people carried. I saw one guy in particular who, once he realized that the sign said, “Good without God,” just rolled his eyes in disgust - like he was thinking, “Oh man, those people.” I felt a little insulted but realized that he had not likely considered the ramifications of what he must perceive to be benign. I wished he would stick around long enough to hear Greta Christina explain why atheists are angry - she had a compelling list.

I have to admit that one of the greatest acts of the day for me was Tim Minchin. What a friggin’ genius! My iPod has several new tunes.

Probably the saddest part of my experience came after the rally. I was very disheartened to see that the relatively puny little Tea Party rally against Affordable healthcare made the news but I saw nothing of the considerably larger Reason Rally. But I admit it was not a surprise. I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity last year. That rally was larger than the Mall could accommodate. Really - people were stuck in Virginia because the queue to get to the rally was so backed up. My wife and I were lucky to be very near the stage at that one. As huge as it was, it didn’t make any headlines. This one didn’t register a burp on the media seismograph.

Still, we had a lot of fun and it was great to see that we as a group are really nice people.

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Posted: 26 March 2012 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Thanks for that great report, Traveler. I wish I could have attended. I hope they do another one in a few years. I understand they don’t want it to be a regular thing.

traveler - 26 March 2012 07:34 AM

... [Dawkins] mentioned a survey that showed something like 72% of respondents claimed to be Christian. Those respondents were later asked why they checked the Christian square. They said that they just wanted to show that they were “good” people. They equated being Christian with being good. That’s what it comes down to for many, and we have to change that.

This is a HUGE point. It is especially a problem in the bible belt, but I’m sure it’s a factor everywhere. I was just discussing this with a friend. Most prominent people in our community, regardless of what they privately profess to, are “public Christians” simply because they can’t afford not be seen as “good people.” I really think the number one goal of Atheists & Humanists needs to be to convince the public that one does not need a god to be good.

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Posted: 26 March 2012 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes, thanks!

In another topic’s reply I listed links of all the significant news reports I found yesterday, to which I would now add an AFP article and the Atheism Examiner’s article (which inobjectively promotes an improbable 30,000 as a possible body count). Since you were there, what do you believe the turnout was?

It’s shameful of mainstream media to have paid so little attention to the Reason Rally. Is it predictable bias, or were they as pessimistic as I’d been? I expected only a few thousand to come in good weather, on the scale of the several hundred who attended the Godless Americans March on Washington in 2002. I couldn’t believe that individualistic freethinkers, only a tiny fraction of whom have found leadership in organizations that have often squabbled and schismed over the years, would gather nationally for this.

But more people were registered on buses to the Reason Rally than there were people at all of GAMOW, and thousands more came, too. The freethought community made me proud this weekend. For once, I’d been too skeptical. If the press had been skeptical too, they could’ve sent reporters quickly as the Rally proved itself.

Oh well, next year. Or 2022. Or something in between.

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Posted: 28 March 2012 04:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Great report Traveler. I’ve been looking for it with anticipation! We scanned the news the whole weekend and NO mention of the rally! The only show was the Chris Hays early show on Sun. featuring Dawkins in D.C. and a panel of guests including Steven Pinker and Susan Jacoby. They discussed the issues and the rally. Many thanks to everyone here who contributed pictures and reports. Fantastic signs! Loved the jesus riding a dinosaur!! LOL


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 29 March 2012 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Did Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson show up at the Reason Rally? I postulate that you could have found her by looking for the lone woman in the crowd with no one willing to get within about a 20 foot radius of her.

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Posted: 29 March 2012 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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AdvancedAtheist - 29 March 2012 10:31 AM

Did Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson show up at the Reason Rally? I postulate that you could have found her by looking for the lone woman in the crowd with no one willing to get within about a 20 foot radius of her.

LOL I did not see her. And I took an elevator to the second floor of the CFI reception Friday night.

But fuck I like boobs though! Tim dedicated the feminism part of “Confessions” to her and he commented that even we could be divided. It was funny - LINK

The mood of the rally really was positive and it was a fun time even though I confess I was freezing. But no rain while Tim was on stage - that was nice.

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Posted: 29 March 2012 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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AdvancedAtheist - 29 March 2012 10:31 AM

Did Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson show up at the Reason Rally? I postulate that you could have found her by looking for the lone woman in the crowd with no one willing to get within about a 20 foot radius of her.

I am proud to claim Rebbecca as a friend of mine, I met her through my son, who was also featured at both the Reason Rally and the American Atheist conventions. Here is a video of one of his Spoken Word performances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ3q98IlmwU&feature=share

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Posted: 29 March 2012 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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asanta - 29 March 2012 01:24 PM
AdvancedAtheist - 29 March 2012 10:31 AM

Did Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson show up at the Reason Rally? I postulate that you could have found her by looking for the lone woman in the crowd with no one willing to get within about a 20 foot radius of her.

I am proud to claim Rebbecca as a friend of mine, I met her through my son, who was also featured at both the Reason Rally and the American Atheist conventions. Here is a video of one of his Spoken Word performances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ3q98IlmwU&feature=share

NFW!!! NFW!!! That’s your son???? I LOVE HIM!

NFW!!! Damn!

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Posted: 29 March 2012 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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He spoke at the CFI reception too, as I mentioned in my trip report. I was within five feet of him and would have loved to introduce myself and tell him I know his mom through this forum. What a talent. LOVED his soda and pop poem - so did Dawkins, who might count a bit more.  smile

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Posted: 29 March 2012 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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asanta - 29 March 2012 01:24 PM

I am proud to claim Rebbecca as a friend of mine, I met her through my son, who was also featured at both the Reason Rally and the American Atheist conventions. Here is a video of one of his Spoken Word performances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ3q98IlmwU&feature=share

Awesome. That was a great performance. You must be very proud of him!

So where’s my fucking pony?  LOL

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Posted: 29 March 2012 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I am VERY proud of him. We met Dave Silverman at the Regional RAM celebrating the end of the world. At Greta Christina’s request, he recited a poem for Matt Dillahunty, who really liked it. We were at a party with Richard Carrier and Matthew Chapman and he was talked in to reciting another one. I can’t remember who brought it up to Dave, but he asked him to send a video, then asked him to perform when the Reason Rally was scheduled, and later added him to the Atheist Convention. He had to cut it down to 4min from 6min for time constraints. I will have to tell him Dawkins liked it, I didn’t know he heard him. You just made my day! I hope this has opened doors for more performances. His next appearance will probably be at the SF Atheist Film Festival in Aug. grin I’m glad you liked it! (you should see my face breaking from grinning!)

(I loved the pony sign too!)

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Posted: 29 March 2012 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Just want to say that I’m not really surprised you have a son like that Asanta. I have always thought your posts embody what a humanist should be.

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Posted: 29 March 2012 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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traveler - 29 March 2012 10:32 PM

Just want to say that I’m not really surprised you have a son like that Asanta. I have always thought your posts embody what a humanist should be.

Aw shucks, you’re making me blush! I just picked up my son from the airport, he says ‘hi’ and adds his thanks to mine!

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Posted: 31 March 2012 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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asanta - 29 March 2012 01:24 PM
AdvancedAtheist - 29 March 2012 10:31 AM

Did Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson show up at the Reason Rally? I postulate that you could have found her by looking for the lone woman in the crowd with no one willing to get within about a 20 foot radius of her.

I am proud to claim Rebbecca as a friend of mine, I met her through my son, who was also featured at both the Reason Rally and the American Atheist conventions. Here is a video of one of his Spoken Word performances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ3q98IlmwU&feature=share

I watched the tape.  You have good reason to be proud.

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