I attended the Reason Rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on June 4, 2016. The day was hot and muggy, but the shade was plentiful, and the program was delightful, educational, and encouraging. It was a secular Woodstock festival with music, short speeches, and sound ideas. The common decencies were celebrated, superstition was denigrated, and the Republican Party of Donald Trump was wittily excoriated. My kind of concert.
There were many themes; none emphasized the importance of diverse actions that ensure politicians know that secular Americans vote. Instead of myth, miracle, mystery, and metaphysics, Reason Rally celebrants want to have fun, be kind, treat and be treated fairly and well, and not have to endure theocratic rituals, displays, policies, etc.
Besides the music and speakers at the Lincoln Memorial, the four-day event included two days of lobbying at the Capital, VIP events, and mini-conferences. Three of the four REAL wellness dimensions, as you know, are related to mental well-being – and the three (Reason, Exuberance, and Liberty) were explored and extolled as much or more as ever occurred at a National Wellness Conference. As for the other dimension – Athleticism, that was left to the individual attendees.
Reason Rally Purposes
The Reason Rally was created to marshal the secular voting bloc to put Reason, a scientific, evidence-based consciousness, at the forefront of the American public and political discourse. This, of course, is a stunningly evident non-existent characteristic of U.S. politics. Rally speakers urged everyone to speak up at every opportunity and let friends, family, strangers, and politicians know that freedom from and of religion is equally important. The Constitutional provision that religion and state be kept separate should be honored despite a history of being ignored for so long in many ways. There are more secularists in this country than Catholics – the non-religious comprise 20 to 25 percent of the U.S. population. We are godless and proud of it; it’s time to commence wielding the untapped political power available, given our numbers.
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According to Pew polling, about a quarter of the population is not part of any religion. Some 7 percent of the people are atheists and agnostics – more than Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims combined. It’s a small but growing group coalescing into a political bloc. As noted, 300 Rally enthusiasts came early and met at the Capitol with their senators and congressperson representatives. I assume some of them mentioned their dismay that Congress annually spends $800,000 to support the clergy who open every session with prayers. We know too well the validity of what Robert Green Ingersoll observed more than a century ago: There can be little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.
There could be, but only if politicians and others did them worship in churches and other holy houses and otherwise amongst themselves – not in public schools, at government functions, or other general – and refrained from passing laws that impose faith-based policies on everyone else. A Reason Rally will no longer be necessary when the god word is gone from the currency, courthouse, and Congress, when it’s not in the pledge, and when religion is no longer privileged with tax subsidies and other favored treatments. At present, elements of theocracy cost all Americans, including those who find no evidence of gods or attractive in any religion.
The Rally was free, and everyone was welcome. It was designed to celebrate the secular, atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinking, and other non-religious segments of America. The desired outcome was to create conditions that lend power to the separation of church and state at the voting booth, one of the best ways to bring good sense back to the government. The Rally was a voting bloc party that captured a feeling of community and a shared commitment to growing political influence to reverse the slide toward theocracy.