March 27, 2012

Photo Essay: Reason Rally 2012 – Photos Of A Great Day

The “Reason Rally” was promoted as the largest single gathering of secular people in the world – ever. As the day got closer it became clear (thanks to the always improving science of meteorology) that the weather would vary from raining hard to barely raining, with the ever-present threat of lightning all day. (Of course, the constant threat of lightning bolts is pretty much assumed at a gathering like this, right?!) The good news is, in spite of comedian Eddie Izzard’s taunting the sky gods to deliver some indication of their presence, no lightning (or even a distant rumble of thunder) ever came. And in spite of the rainy day that everyone knew was coming, an estimated 25,000 people still came. Just imagine how many more would’ve been there if it had been a continuation of the beautiful week of sun and upper-70′s that had preceeded it!

Yes, the Reason Rally on March 24, 2012 was definitely a success for everyone involved, and for the country in general. The primary purpose of the Rally was to promote separation of church & state and one of the main methods of doing this was to encourage people without religious convictions to “come out of the closet” and let their voices be heard. With more and more non/anti-religious books becoming best sellers over the past few years, and the growing movement of people across the internet promoting a more rational, science-based worldview, the numbers of people identifying themselves as religious worldwide, and even in America, has been falling. So a rally like this was meant to help people take the step from “not religious” to “actively” not religious, to get their voices heard and taken seriously by government.

As a supporter of science and reason, I was excited to attend this event. Both to “say I was there,” and to see the phenomenal lineup of speakers and musicians who braved the weather (in spite of the blowing rain drenching them on stage). I was there for the full 8 hours, and from what I could see, it was clear that a good time was had by all, and nobody on or off stage really complained about the rain.

What follows is a few photos I took throughout the day to document the festivities. It’s far from complete, due to the frequent heavy rains, but whenever the rain would let up a little I snapped a few shots. Here are some of my favorites. Hope to see you there next year! :)

 

3 of the many banners around the Mall describing what the movement is about

3 of the many banners around the Mall describing what the movement is about.

 

Shelley Segal came from Australia to perform some songs from her great new album

Shelley Segal came from Australia to perform some songs from her great new album.

 

Greg Graffin (lead singer of punk band Bad Religion) sings the National Anthem acapella in front of atheist members of all branches of the military to officially kick off the day

Greg Graffin (lead singer of punk band Bad Religion) sings the National Anthem acapella in front of atheist members of all branches of the military to officially kick off the day.

 

Today was a day to bring non-believers out of the closet, as indicated by many signs in the crowd

Today was a day to bring non-believers out of the closet, as indicated by many signs in the crowd.

 

Another great sign.

Another great sign.

 

It's still early, but the crowd is huge - especially for a rainy day!  Lots of different types of people were standing side by side for the cause.

It’s still early, but the crowd is huge – especially for a rainy day! People from many walks of life were standing side by side for the cause.

 

The great atheist blogger & author Greta Christina spoke eloquently about why atheists are often angry

The great atheist blogger & author Greta Christina spoke eloquently about why atheists are often angry.

 

Comedian & musician Tim Minchin really got the crowd riled up with one of the best performances of the day

Comedian & musician Tim Minchin really got the crowd riled up with one of the best performances of the day.

 

To most people's amusement, there were fundamentalist protesters also in attendance.  The police were (ironically) there to keep things peaceful.

To most people’s amusement, there were fundamentalist protesters also in attendance. The police were (ironically) there to keep things peaceful.

 

This shot says it all.

This shot says it all.

 

All the protesters were fundamentalist Christians. Each sign was held by a person who had had no trouble finding people to talk to him.

All the protesters were fundamentalist Christians. Each sign was held by a person who had had no trouble finding people to talk to him.

 

A typical example of how a crowd would form around each sign-toting fundamentalist . Some were there to debate, some were there to watch, and some were there to photograph it.

A typical example of how a crowd would form around each sign-toting fundamentalist . Some were there to debate, some were there to watch, and some were there to photograph it.

 

Nate Phelps, atheist son of Fred Phelps (whose Westboro Baptist Chruch was among the protesters), delivered a great speech against everything his family stands for.

Nate Phelps, atheist son of Fred Phelps (whose Westboro Baptist Chruch was among the protesters), delivered a great speech against everything his family stands for.

 

Many Bad Religion fans were in the audience.  Their logo certainly lent itself well to the day's message.

Many Bad Religion fans were in the audience. Their logo certainly lent itself well to the day’s message.

 

Sean Faircloth, author, politician, and activist delivered an inspiring speech.

Sean Faircloth, author, politician, and activist, delivered an inspiring speech.

 

Another apt sign, with Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, speaking in the background.

Another apt sign, with Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, speaking in the background.

 

Arguably the day's headliner was Richard Dawkins.  He did not disappoint, delivering a typically Dawkinsesque speech. (Notice the towel on the podium - the speakers (and their notes) were getting drenched when the rain would pick up!)

Arguably the day’s headliner was Richard Dawkins. He did not disappoint, delivering a typically Dawkinsesque speech. (Notice the towel on the podium – the speakers (and their notes) were getting drenched when the rain would pick up!)

 

Pharyngula author and outspoken atheist P.Z.Myers talked about how being nice hasn't gotten us very far in the last few centuries, so it's time to stand up to the close-minded bullies, like those fundamentalists over there...

Pharyngula author and outspoken atheist P.Z.Myers talked about how being nice hasn’t gotten us very far in the last few centuries, so it’s time to stand up to the close-minded bullies, like those fundamentalists over there…

 

Reason is coming out to chase away the haze that's settled over Washington...

Reason is coming out to chase away the haze that’s settled over Washington…

 

Greg Graffin returns with his band Bad Religion to finish off the evening with flare.

Greg Graffin returns with his band Bad Religion to finish off the evening with flare.

 

Thanks for a great time everyone! :)

-Steve

more photos: Photo Essay: Reason Rally – Washington D.C. – March 24, 2012

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