On March 24th we Atheists will rally in Washington D.C. to seek parity in a nation that mostly marginalizes nonbelievers. Some people may wonder: How are Atheists a persecuted class? How are Atheists discriminated against? We have the right to vote, we can sit in the front of buses and we can get legally married.
If you do not believe that Atheists suffer from real prejudice, then you must explain why the vast majority of us remain closeted and dare not let our Atheism become known in our communities or workplaces. If you believe that we are represented by our government, then you must explain how that is possible when it is virtually impossible for any Atheist to gain public office. If you believe that our secular-humanist worldview is not under attack by religious zealotry, then you must explain why we are forced to defer to religious intrusion into many social and personal aspects of our lives.
We Atheists can and must stand up and speak out so we can no longer be ignored by lawmakers and demonized by religious evangelists. If we do not, if we fail to speak for ourselves, no one is going to speak for us. If we do not rally in solidarity with fellow Atheists, we have no right to complain when religious fundamentalists trample upon our civil rights and intimidate us personally.
But this rally is far, far more important than merely a bid to gain social influence for our vastly underreported and underrepresented demographic. It is far more important than someday electing a rational Atheist President who can actually admit to believing in evolution. It is more important even than protecting our right to fundamental services such as contraception or a woman’s right to choose. It is not called the “Rally for Atheism” but rather it is called the “Reason Rally” because it is part of a far greater struggle for reason itself. It is a rally for the future of a planet literally threatened by religious destabilization and non-scientific thinking about crucial global issues like climate change.
This is not a battle merely for Atheists and for secular rights, but for a future enlightened by reason, not held hostage to superstition. I urge everyone who is concerned about protecting the Separation of Church and State to join us in solidarity. I urge everyone who is concerned about the overreach of religious fundamentalism to join us in Washington.
If you consider yourself agnostic and don’t want to see religious ideology eclipse reason, join us. If you are a reasonable Christian who understands that the Separation of Church and State is a very good thing for you, join us. If you are a member of a minority religion who doesn’t want to suffer under the tyranny of a religious majority, join us. If you fled from another country with an oppressive theocratic government, join us and lend your voice.
Don’t sit on the sidelines, making excuses and criticizing the efforts of those who put themselves out there. You may feel like a mere a drop of water, but without every drop the glass can never be filled. One grain of sand is all it takes to tip the scales.