I want to say it’s because Doug Stanhope was too busy sticking up for his best good pal, Johnny Depp, to be there that I didn’t go, but that’s not it. NO, even if my spirit animal had attended, I would likely not have gone.
I was reading Atheist Revolution this morning and Jack was speculating on the reasons why there was such a poor turnout to the Reason Rally compared to the Rally held in 2012. While he, Hemant and a Twitter poll have all leaned towards blaming travel costs and time, I’d like to point out that those applied back in 2012, too. Given a good enough draw, people will make it happen whether travel is expensive or not.
I don’t think that’s the reason. Here’s what I do think are the reasons:
1. It’s an American event, aimed at showing the numbers of American voters who are godless and promoting secularism in the American government. It was held in Washington, D.C. and included visits with American politicians. This was all about the interests of American atheists being represented in their government. I didn’t feel it was my place, as a Canadian, to go. I’d venture to guess many non-American atheists around the globe avoided the event for the very same reason.
2. It had virtually the same lineup as last time, and the same lineup as most atheist conventions, save for the Wu Tang Clan. We didn’t feel we were missing out, because in a few months, there will be another godless event with Krauss and Dawkins, Silverman and Mehta, and the gorgeous musical stylings of Shelley Segal. I do love the idea of seeing these people speak and perform, but I know it was nowhere near my last shot at it. There will be a ton more events just like it before the end of the year.
3. Atheists are a polarized bunch these days. Making the wrong move as an atheist can unleash a toxic tsunami of hatred ravenous for your flesh. You say you find one interview interesting…
4. The attempt to try to tie other issues into the effort to normalize atheism or push secularism. Other issues such as LGBT rights, feminism, racism, etc. Some factions of atheists have been trying to absorb these fights as atheist causes and it’s dividing atheists down several fracture lines. The focus at a secular event should be promoting secularism and proving atheists can be good without god. Pulling in everyone else’s causes only makes the water murky. Of course, support those causes, as much as you want. I myself will fight until the day I die to see same-sex marriage legal everywhere in the galaxy, but that’s best fought at an LGBT rights rally. If you want atheists to come to your event, make it about atheism.
These are the four main reasons I didn’t go. I also couldn’t really afford it, but there’s always a way around that if it’s something you really feel strongly about. I would say the biggest reason for me, was that I am a Canadian. If the event had transcended American politics and been about the global image of atheists, I probably would have done what I could to make it happen.
I’m sad to hear that there wasn’t as big a turnout as last time because these issues are important ones in the U.S.A. especially. I also think we’re trying to take on too much, though. We should be focussed on pushing secularism, bettering the image of atheists, showing atheist numbers and proving we are not going anywhere. Anything beyond that is another event altogether.
Did you attend the Reason Rally? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.