Atheists and freethinkers gathered in Washington D.C. at the Reason Rally 2016
The Lincoln Memorial located on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., last Saturday, saw thousands of atheists assembling to take part in the 2016 Reason Rally. Tagged by the sponsors as a celebration of fact-driven public policy, the value of critical thinking, and the voting power of secular Americans, the rally saw participation of prominent personalities like Bill Nye, the American science educator and T.V. personality popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, Julia Sweeney, an American actress, comedian and author who is a cast member on Saturday Night Live, Penn Jillette, an American magician, comedian, actor, musician, and inventor, Senator Jamie Raskin of the Maryland State, and Carolyn Porco, a NASA scientist.
Lyz Liddell, the executive director of the Reason Rally Coalition, stated that the 2016 rally could be tagged as a political event. The reason why they decided to hold it in an election year is because they would like to see logical reasoning taking precedence over ideology driven by religious thinking, in the coming years.
Carolyn Porco, addressing the participants during the rally, said that the only way to address the nation's problems is by thinking them over, rather than trying to solve them through prayer. The only way to arrive at the right answers is by crafting the government laws based on scientific guidelines, by respecting the truth and following logical reasoning.
The rally also saw the speakers addressing various topics, including science-based sex education in schools, responding to climate changes based on evidence, Obama administration's Transgender Bathroom Rights Initiative, and dialogue with lawmakers in Congress.
Larry Decker, the executive director of Secular Coalition of America, an advocacy group representing the interests of atheists, said that the non-religious people in America outnumber the religious people in the nation, however, the government still favors the religious people, most often caving in, to their demands. It is time for the non-religious people to stop playing defense, and take action in guaranteeing their Constitutional rights, for the sake of their children and grandchildren.
According to Senator Jamie Raskin, the freedom of thought and the freedom of worship could be protected by simply separating the Church from the state.
— Sarah Haider (@SarahTheHaider) June 6, 2016
To all who spoke, performed, organized and attended @reasonrally: thank u for an indescribably beautiful, joyful, life affirming experience!
— Paul Provenza (@PaulProvenza) June 6, 2016
According to the U.S. Representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district, Tulsi Gabbard, the first and only American Hindu ever to be elected to Congress, the only way to ensure an individual's religious freedom is through a secular and pluralistic government.
The rally also saw a small group of protesters, consisting of people from various faith groups, standing nearby, holding signs that said God does not believe in atheists.