Author Topic: So how was the Reason Rally?  (Read 510 times)

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Offline Quesi

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So how was the Reason Rally?
« on: March 25, 2012, 04:37:17 PM »
Would love to hear updates from folks who attended and braved the rain. 

Press coverage is not ample, but it seems... ummm... reasonable.  I'm reading 30K in attendance?

Google news had a link to this video.  I'm sure there is better stuff out there.


Offline Historicity

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 05:29:20 PM »
Would love to hear updates from folks who attended and braved the rain. 

Press coverage is not ample, but it seems... ummm... reasonable.  I'm reading 30K in attendance?

The Westboro Baptist Church promised to attend.
http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-scranton/westboro-baptist-church-to-attend-reason-rally-with-special-message-for-atheists?cid=PROD-redesign-right-next
Quote
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church were invited to the Reason Rally by Jim Klawon, Deputy Vice President of Administration of the National Atheist Party,

but today...

http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-national/reason-rally-30k-godless-undeterred-by-rain
Quote
And of course the much anticipated Westboro Baptist Church was there… sort of. They arrived very late and hung out blocks away from the actual rally. Many atheists I spoke with at the Reason Rally were constantly checking their twitter feeds to find out when the Phelps were coming and where they would be. But the notorious Christian sect keep a surprisingly far distance from the rally probably in order to avoid earshot of their estranged son Nate Phelps, an atheist and gay rights advocate, who spoke at the Rally.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 05:33:12 PM »
It was intermittently cold and intermittently rainy, which I realized shortly after I got there was probably preferable to a sunny day, at least for me -- no risk of sunburn.

I stayed in the audience until about four-ish, leaving shortly before Eddie Izzard took the stage to wander over to the protesters (didn't want to miss out on that).  I engaged a couple of young ladies, college students from Canada, for a little while, getting in only a few words edgewise since they were badly outnumbered.  After a while, one of them said to the other one, "You know, we came here to see the museums.  Let's go."  As they started to leave, I sang after them, "Brave Sir Robin ran away!  Bravely ran away, away!  When atheists reared their thinking heads, the Christians turned their tails and fled, brave brave brave, brave Christians!"

After amusing myself by with the protesters for a little while, and becoming so engrossed that I didn't notice for some time that it had started raining again, I headed over to the sponsors' tent, and looked around for a bit.  I met JT Eberhard and spoke to him briefly.  He said he liked my screen name (I was wearing a name tag, as I said I would), and I filled him in on some of the latest doings on Xanga, which he left some time ago.

I left shortly before Bad Religion took the stage, around 5 PM, since I was starting to wear out.  It was my first rally on the Mall, and I'm definitely very glad I went.  It was a good time all around, especially getting to see so many of the big names in the field.
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Offline Traveler

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 05:35:30 PM »
Thanks for the updates! It looks like it was a great time!!!
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Offline Quesi

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2012, 06:18:20 PM »
Thanks for the updates.  And thank you for representing those of us who were not there.

I hope the Canadian college students learned something during their museum visits!

Anyone else? 

Offline Jag

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 05:22:46 PM »
This was my first atheist event - what a way to start! I'm not really "out" as an atheist, but this may make me reconsider that decision, at least on a small scale.

It was moving, and inspiring. Jessica Alquist is such an impressive young woman, and Nate Phelps told his story with such emotion and candor it was hard not to be touched by it. Tim Minchin was a crowd pleaser and very entertaining. I could babble for paragraphs about it, but I'm brand new to this board (posting at least, I've been reading for months) and think that would be a bit obnoxious. I will probably have more to say about this event in my introduction (once I decide to write one, that is).

For perspective, my decision to attend was rather impulsive. I first heard of this about 6 weeks ago and mentioned to my adult son, very much in passing, that I thought it would be a great event to attend. About mid-March he asked if I was planning to go and I realized that I really meant that, and made the arrangements. I suspect this may prove to be a turning point in my life. It was certainly eye opening. There's something incredibly powerful about finding a group of thousands who see the world much the same way as I do.

At the very least, I'll be actively looking for Atheist groups and gatherings in Minnesota. Having found like-minded people who are thoughtful and intelligent, and actively working to make the world a better place, there's no way I'm going back to fuming alone.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 05:25:39 PM by Jag »
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Offline BaalServant

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 05:39:24 PM »
I could babble for paragraphs about it, but I'm brand new to this board (posting at least, I've been reading for months) and think that would be a bit obnoxious.

I wouldn't see it that way.  You have a good command of the language, and have already demonstrated that you know how paragraphs work.  I'm interested in reading more of your thoughts on what was said at the rally, so post away.

Oh, and welcome to the forum!
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Offline Quesi

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 06:42:03 PM »
Welcome Jag! 

Thank you for sharing your experiences both at the Reason Rally, and for sharing a few of the events that led up to your impulsive decision to attend.  Congratulations on this turning point in your life.  I look forward to reading more about your thoughts and your personal experiences and the changes happening in your life right now. 

Offline Jag

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 08:12:35 PM »
I'm a little concerned that I'm going to come off as a flake  ;)

It was wonderful. It was liberating. It was the most civilized group of people speaking out with incredible passion and energy you can imagine. Apparently the "Park Police" stated that it was the most well behaved crowd they'd ever seen on the Mall. Honestly, even the protesters were surprisingly calm - Westboro never came close to the actual crowd.

I didn't expect to spend so much of the rally laughing. Not only were the comedians funny, pretty much every one who spoke had a least a few jokes and got a few laughs. When you consider how many people spoke, suddenly I see a LOT of new stuff to laugh at. The feeling of being able to laugh out loud about some of the blatant hypocrisy of religion in a crowd of thousands was so unifying - it's completely outside of my experience.

To be in a crowd that large and have something in common with every one of them was kind of a strange feeling. I'm not a "joiner" by nature, so maybe this feeling is more common for other people - I've never experienced anything like it. Yes, there are noteworthy differences among atheists, and yes, those differences matter. But that's what makes it work - we can truly agree to disagree about all kinds of stuff and still join together to work for the good of all.

There was a call to action theme throughout the day. But for those of us who aren't out, it was still incredibly inclusive. There were so many suggestions of ways to participate, and frequent acknowledgements that each should participate as best suits them. Lots of talk about politics, lots of observations of the true number of us.

It rained more or less all day. It didn't matter. I didn't care. Obviously someone was handing out condoms in African and making Jesus cry. Or maybe it just rained, because it's March in Washington DC and that's a common weather event. Who can say?

One big complaint: Bill Maher had almost nothing for his video performance, he just did a brief intro to a segment from his show that aired right before the Superbowl. I know that's when it aired because one of the people in the segment mentioned it - there was no mistaking it. That was kind of ... irritating. If he couldn't be bothered to say something specific to that audience, why bother participating at all? That's my most negative observation of the entire day.

It's hard to be clearheaded about this, I'm still pretty wound up from the whole experience. It'll take a few days to get it into some sort of perspective and decide what to do with it. My lack of belief is not brand new,  but the desire to get involved is. I'm just overwhelmed by options right now - I'd have never expected to feel like I have more choices than I know how to evaluate about my atheism and my politics!

And that sentence just clarified why this is hitting me so hard. Suddenly it's like the world just opened up. Excuse me while I go shed a few more tears of relief...
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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 08:26:59 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Jag. Many thanks to you and pianodwarf for attending the Rally and sharing your experiences with the rest of us.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Offline Jag

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 08:45:41 PM »
And thank you to all for the welcome! I've been hanging around here for the last few months, and have developed a great deal of respect for the posters here. This is a very intelligent group of people, and it can be intimidating. I'm not interested in arguing about the existence of god(s), at least not yet, but I'm impressed with the depth of knowledge displayed here by those who are.

The critical thinking is fascinating. It's what drew me in - I was actually wandering around online following that particular theme when I stumbled in here, and I've been back almost daily ever since. You guys are interesting, to say the least. I struggle to keep my own thinking clear and watching the open exchange, even when it gets heated, is educational, and helps me recognize my own blind spots and flawed premises. If I get nothing else from this site (not that I expect that to be all I get from it  ;)), it will be worth being here just for the improved reasoning ability.
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Offline jetson

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2012, 09:06:35 PM »
Welcome Jag,

You hit a nerve with me.  You reminded me of the feeling of awesomeness that I experienced when I realized it was perfectly OK to be atheist.  I never felt more liberated, and true to who I am.  I'm still not completely out, but I'm out more than I ever expected to be!

I hope you find a way to participate, and even start your own topics!

Jetson

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2012, 09:12:33 PM »
Cooolio. I wish I had been there--I love Eddie Izzard and Richard Dawkins has me at hello.  However, there is often a dearth of color at these events....I end up being the raisin in the rice bowl. Or the caramel chip in the vanilla ice cream. Maybe I should go eat dinner now. Can you tell I am on the low-carb diet?
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Offline Jag

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2012, 09:40:22 PM »
@nogodsforme - you wouldn't have stood out at all, there was a great deal of "color" there. And a large number of women, which I'm told is unusual, but I have no basis for comparison so... I'm a white woman from the suburbs - what do I know about it, really?

Random groups were sending tweets to Paul Provenza and David Silverman throughout the day and they were reading them between speakers. There were lots of tweets from (I can't quite figure out how else to say this, so I apologize for the not-very-polite labeling) racially, former-member-of-religion-X, and/or gender aligned groups, and they all got shout-outs. Several speakers were people of color as well, along with the typical representation of various shades of pink (and the pale blue of we fair skinned northerners in late winter).

Also an encouraging number of student groups, come to think of it.

Eddie Izzard was great - he had a bit about Darwin's book "Monkey, monkey, monkey, monkey, monkey, you" that had me laughing pretty hard, given that it followed shortly after my brief chat with an xian evolution denier. Good times.

But hey, enjoy your dinner. Low carb is hard for me - all my favorite foods start out as some sort of dough.
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Offline kin hell

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2012, 09:55:13 PM »
Excuse me while I go shed a few more tears of relief...

....that would be the crying Jag ....yes?    ;)
greetings fellow earthling





...great to read about the rally you guys   I'm envious.
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all edits are for spelling or grammar unless specified otherwise

Offline Jag

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2012, 09:58:46 PM »
Ah, I see what you did there, clever kin hell!
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Offline atheola

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2012, 10:04:17 PM »
Hi Jag.. Thanks for the rundown.. I very much enjoyed reading your words and glad you enjoyed yourself....As Jetson told me.. I'm a littler outier. Either thst or he was calling me a weirdo. ;D
Impulsive is good as long as you're not trying to take up skydiving and chainsaw carving at the same time... take it from me..I know..not a good idea.  :-\
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Offline BaalServant

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2012, 10:09:25 PM »
I'm a little concerned that I'm going to come off as a flake  ;)

No sweats - I always have the same concern as well.

....that would be the crying Jag ....yes?    ;)

Their post did the same thing to me.  : )
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Offline Chronos

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Re: So how was the Reason Rally?
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2012, 10:13:31 PM »
Jag is really Pat Robertson incognito ....   ;D
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