» BRYAN TIDWELL
Last week I was lucky enough to travel with a group of APSU students and several citizens from the local community to participate in the Reason Rally.
With official attendance estimates upwards of 10,000, the Reason Rally was easily the largest secular event in history. On Saturday, March 24, atheists, agnostics, secular humanists and other brands of nontheists converged upon the National Mall in Washington D.C. to see a group of speakers including the likes of Adam Savage and Richard Dawkins as well as a full set from punk rockers Bad Religion.
While technically not an official school event, the official APSU group Students for Secular Humanism especially president Kate Cervantes put forth an enormous effort to lower the cost of attendance for interested students, many who otherwise couldn’t afford to go. Although the Reason Rally was free event transportation to D.C. is expensive. With the aid of bus coupons and funding from the Secular Student Alliance 13 students were able to get the entire bus fare paid.
In a country whose last president claimed that atheists cannot be patriots with a serious presidential candidate who claims to that separation of church and state makes him sick, a secular event of this magnitude is a sign-post for many nontheistic individuals many of whom feel alone and disenfranchised.
Many atheists like me are afraid to admit their lack of religious beliefs for fear of ruining relationships with family, friends and significant others. The Reason Rally sent the message that religious beliefs aren’t criteria for equal rights or a sound morality.
On Saturday, March 31, on the amidst the Washington Monument we gathered to advance that point that a lack of faith does not preclude a person from equal rights.
Atheists can be loving, patriotic, and moral individuals. The Reason Rally will hopefully serve as the first major strike at the unwarranted stigma surrounding non-theism in this nation and send the message that you can be good without God. TAS