WASHINGTON — Thousands of professing atheists and agnostics from across the country descended on Washington, D.C. today for the “Reason Rally,” an event that is designed to discuss politics from a godless perspective.
“That’s the reason we’re holding this in an election year,” executive director Lyz Liddell told CNN. “We want to see reason taking precedence over religious-driven ideology.”
“The goal of Reason Rally 2016 is to showcase the presence and power of the nonreligious voting bloc, and to demand that reason be put at the forefront of our public and political discourse,” the website for the event also reads. “[W]e are preparing to exercise our power at the voting box to bring good sense back to government.”
The event opened this morning with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., and was soon followed by the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Speakers throughout the day include outspoken atheist and entertainer Penn Jillette, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, David Silverman of American Atheists, Bill Nye, “the Science Guy” and Tony Pinn of the American Humanist Association.
Several lawmakers were also tapped to speak at the rally, including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hi.), a Hindu, and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), a professing Christian, as well as Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, a progressive Jew.
Topics of discussion include climate change, abortion and homosexual and transgender issues, as well as increasing the atheist and agnostic voice in politics.
“We want reason to be the core of public policies rather than religious ideals,” Liddell told reporters. “This will be the moment where people start to see the secular voting bloc in the same way they talk about Jewish voters and Catholic voters. We’ll matter. They’ll realize we’re organized, they’ll realize we’re voting, and our perspective will be considered and taken into account.”
Larry Decker, the executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, told CNN that he was glad that Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the race as they had cited God as their reason to run for president.
“If you know that you can be a good person without believing in a god,” the event website reads. “If you think public policy should be based on scientific evidence, not religious beliefs … If you support the separation of church and state, then join us for the biggest gathering of nonreligious people in history!”
On Thursday and Friday, event organizers lobbied on Capitol Hill, requesting that lawmakers replace government funding for abstinence until marriage programs with sexual education programs that focus on birth control methods.
A number of Christians from across the country also attended the event—but for a different purpose: to share the gospel with those who deny their Creator as outlined in Romans 1. Some engaged in open-air preaching, some distributed tracts to passersby and some engaged in casual conversation with rally attendees.
“Atheists work hard against Christianity because they’re putting their hands over eyes and ears and shouting, ‘I refuse to see and hear truth!’ Their blind faith religion of natural processes is their way of explaining life without God—an anti-God religion,” wrote Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis in a recent Facebook post.
“The words of Daniel (5:23) describe today’s atheists: ‘The God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified,'” he said.