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Atheist rally continues in spite of rain; students highlighted throughout
March 24th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Atheist rally continues in spite of rain; students highlighted throughout

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN)– Billed as a watershed moment in the atheism movement, a gathering of atheists, agnostics and humanists drew large numbers of non-theists to the Washington Mall Saturday despite bad weather.

Put on by a coalition of atheist and humanist organizations, the rally was touted as the largest gathering of non-theists in the history of the world. Headlined by a number of high-profile speakers, including Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion,” organizers said the event shows that atheism is a powerful minority in American life.

“We will never be closeted again,” said David Silverman, the rally’s head organizer. “In years to come, the Reason Rally will be seen as the beginning of the end to the religious right’s grip” on American life.

With thunderstorms moving through the area, rain had threatened to dampen the event. However, Silverman and other organizers said they were elated by the turnout, especially in light of the rain.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

The idea of thousands of atheists gathering drew the ire of religious groups. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial group known for picketing and protesting at funerals of U.S. service members, were in attendance and chanted at the rally-goers.

In large part however, protests were rare and not aggressive.

Silverman had said prior to the event that the rally would not be an exercise in “religion bashing,” but in a number of instances, religion and the belief in God was, in fact, denounced.

Taslima Nasrin, the author of “Shame,” categorized the Muslim prophet Mohammed as a charlatan, a pedophile and a rapist. A wooden cross was constructed in the middle of the crowd and a sign that read “Banish the 10 Commandments to the dustbin of history,” was hung from it.

An iReporter takes on the Reason Rally

Under umbrellas and ponchos, college insignia and fresh faces dotted the rally crowd.

For many of the students in attendance, the event was more than just a large gathering; for them, it was a coming-out party.

“The reason why events like this help is because of the confidence people get in seeing other people that think like you,” said Mark D. Hatcher, founder of the Secular Student Alliance at Howard University in Washington. “It is important to realize you are not alone.”

Hatcher and other atheists have co-opted much of the same lingo used in the gay rights movement. “Coming out” and “in the closest” are both terms regularly used because, according to Hatcher, telling people you are an atheist is comparable to telling people you are gay.

“Being younger, you are especially exposed to being labeled a pariah when you come out of the closet,” Hatcher said.

Rebecca Cunningham, a graduate of the University of Michigan, said that her freshman year at college was that moment for her. Cunningham was raised in a Christian family, but a few months before leaving for school, she started to doubt her belief in God.

Shortly after arriving at Michigan, Cunningham went to a Secular Student Alliance meeting.

“It helped me come out,” Cunningham said. “It was the first group of people that I met who weren’t religious in some form. They taught me that it was OK; they taught me that I was OK.”

Jesse Galef, the alliance’s communications director, said stories such as Cunningham’s show why his group tries to mobilize on campuses.

“One of the biggest things we do at the Secular Student Alliance is connect them [local groups] with a larger movement that is supporting them and giving them a grass-roots presence,” said Galef.

Jessica Ahlquist, a 16-year-old high school student who won a lawsuit against her city for a prayer banner that was displayed in her high school, was also a speaker at the event.

She touched upon the need for more student groups in high schools and colleges during her remarks. After the speech, she told CNN that students are a critical place for the atheism movement to focus its efforts.

“This community is all about bringing people together and talking about a secular future,” Ahlquist said. “I think that future comes from the students.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism

soundoff (1,305 Responses)
  1. Understanding

    There was a time when everyone believed in God and The Church ruled. We call this era The Dark Ages.

    The first settlers to America came to the New World to escape from being governed by someone else's interpretation of "God's will". That is precisely (and all) these people are asking for. It is time to get religion out of politics once again. I wish them every success.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      There was a time when the Church no longer ruled and we had World War One, World War Two, Communist Purges, Jewish Holocaust, and we killed in excess of 100,000,000 people in less then fifty years. And we called it the Light Ages.

      March 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • mitch

      that had nothing to do with religion. No person would say I want to kill because I am atheist. Religious people have someone to blame, a way to hide from their own inherent evil. only 1% of ppl in jail are athiest.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • J.W

      They were atheist before they went to jail. They just became religious while they were in jail.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Bran93

      Many of the English people moving to the Americas were Puritans. Puritans sought to "Purify" themselves from the English Church. They still readily believed in the Christian God. So no, people coming together in America is not some metaphor for people coming together to escape religion.

      I also agree 100% with the separation of Church and State, but most people view it wrong. They see it as the Church should not become involved with governmental affairs. It works both ways. The government should stay out of Church affairs as well.

      Oh, and the bit about the Dark Ages. The fall of the Roman Empire and the miniature ice age that followed were two contributing factors to it. Yet the Catholic Church was among the contributing factors that led Europe out of it. If Europe had not been under a unified religion and still worshiped the many pagan deities of the Roman Era, things would probably have remained much as it were a thousand years prior.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  2. lynda

    The protest was non-violent as there was no one there to protest the protesters.
    These people can have their day of protests but when a religious group goes to support their religion these same people will be there to condemn them. So, they would not be peaceful if they were with people of faith or people who support organized religions. In the end however, I know I will be in another place where they will NOT be and that gives me strength and hope and more faith. I will lose nothing for believing in God and Jesus as my Savior but these people will lose everything. Go ahead and protest all you want people WE know what comes at the end of life.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • reverenddon

      I'm so sorry that you have bought into a form of Christianity that is judgmental, exclusionary and thinks of God as punitive. There are other ways to read both Scripture and the traditions of the Church that both expresses God's love for all humanity and the unfailing of God's wishes for all to receive life eternal, even those who do not believe in "God" as you and I might.
      Blessings...

      March 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Barrett Wolf

      Apparently your reading skills are suspect, as there WERE protesters from an assortment of religious groups including the Westboro Baptist Church.

      You simply ASSUMED that if there were protesters, it would become violent, which it did not. Funny that the supposed religious person jumped to the conclusion. OK, maybe no so funny...

      March 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • RockAndRollah

      Do you also believe in Santa Claus?

      March 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Jake

      lynda – why can't people like you be honest? There were plenty of protesters there. They told me and others there that we were going to hell. I argued circles around them. So did everyone else. Fish in a barrel.

      March 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Otto

      "I will lose nothing for believing in God and Jesus as my Savior but these people will lose everything. Go ahead and protest all you want people WE know what comes at the end of life."

      If Jesus was so smart and moral why did he not condemn slavery?

      You will lose everything if you believe in the wrong god and you have no evidence you have the right one. If your god exists he is an immoral jerk and deserves noting but scorn.

      March 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  3. reverenddon

    It's not just atheists and humanists who want to loose the grip that the Religious Right has in our society. Many Progressive Christians, who can embrace atheists without requiring a confession of belief in "God" join along with them.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  4. Keith

    Wow! It looks like there could be 2 or 3 hundred people there! Big whooptie do.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Keith

      The "atheists" holding the "Impeach God" banner; are they at wrong rally?

      March 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Can't you just feel the love Keithie? Oh Kumbaya!

      March 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Barrett Wolf

      Estimates were between ten and twenty thousand.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor Keith.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Jake

      Keith – you are even less intelligent that the protesters I argued with at the rally. Me and the 20K other people there. This was the inaguaral Reason Rally. Even with terrible weather, attendance far outstripped expectations. But, you know, don't let facts get in the way of your unfounded derision.

      March 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  5. Ungodly Discipline

    They should have invited the Pope. Then we could have spent millions on religous art, venues and useless weirdness that the five families could have really turned some coin on.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  6. Urafkntool

    I have to admit I don't see much point in a "rally." Maybe that's because, other than for white interests, I barely if ever get involved in the political arena. Marching around yelling, "we believe in NOTHING!" doesn't seem like much fun especially in the rain.

    I will say, being an agnostic, mine would be even worse. I'd be marching around yelling, "I don't know!"

    March 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • AGuest9

      LOL! That's a funny way of looking at it.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      yeah I can see it now.. walking around with a signboard held up in the air with a giant question mark, and chanting, "I don't know!" over and over again. I'd feel like a bloody idiot.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • mitch

      There is a rally to show support for the athiest community. Whats the point of a religious rally, id feel like an idiot holding a sign saying we believe without any proof much more then saying we believe there is no proof. From your unintelligent perspectives maybe it makes no sense, but we are a community and are going to be heard whether you like it or not.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Otto

      "I will say, being an agnostic, mine would be even worse. I'd be marching around yelling, "I don't know!"

      Agnostic:

      "a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. Synonyms: disbeliever, nonbeliever, unbeliever; doubter, skeptic, secularist, empiricist; heathen, heretic, infidel, pagan."

      you are an atheist and don't know it.

      March 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Not an atheist or a theist

      This is a rally being held by people who do NOT want religious zealots controlling the destiny of this country. People who have the conviction that government should not be influenced by anyone's religious beliefs, particularly extremist beliefs. All Americans should be smart enough to agree. Sadly, that's not the case. And please don't anyone go into "This country was founded on Christian beliefs and principles blah blah blah" because that just is NOT true. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the "Founding Fathers" would know that.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  7. Ungodly Discipline

    Rallies are useless. The evil of religion can only be confronted on the front lines. Hey, I love those folks for standing in the rain and pointing out to America that there are intelligent people left in the world, but it won’t change anything.

    Atheists have to ADMIT they are atheist at work, at home and at school. Sure, you feel safe at a rally, but one on one with your boss, co-worker or teacher, family, not so much.

    Atheists, DON’T BE ASHAMED OF WHO YOU ARE.. Being smart is not a bad thing!

    Hey, this is cool and a nice step, but it is up to each of us as INDIVIDUALS, to spread the word. Enough of this religious nonsense.

    Does that mean be intolerant? NO! tolerate them and INSIST that they tolerate YOU.

    Secular country. End of story.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  8. Tyler

    Very happy to hear about this, wish I had been there.

    I'm sorry to all of the religious supporters if they are offended by these actions, but quite frankly, this is the future, you're going to have to deal with it.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  9. Jim

    I will pray for these people.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • starman

      Yes, pray for us, we will *think* for you.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  10. PrimeNumber

    "Jessica Ahlquist, a 16-year-old high school student who won a lawsuit against her city for a prayer banner that was displayed in her high school, was also a speaker at the event." It was a "humanist" group who gave her a scholarship for getting the prayer taken down. I wonder if the same humanist group was also south of the tracks working a soup kitchen. Probably the Christians already had that covered.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • AGuest9

      They very likely were. Judgmental much? Casting "the first stone?"

      March 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Peter

      I gotta ask, being someone who opens my heart, wallet and house to less fortunate people. Why is an invisible friend in the sky required to do good things? I see why it's required to do crazy unreasonable things but why to do good when we all have to live here?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • AGuest9

      @Prime: This week, I spent an hour at the Red Cross helping sort items for the Food Kitchen, volunteered at the hospital one night, and volunteered two hours at the local library history desk. You?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Really? Gee, friends of mine spend every Christmas Day at a soup kitchen. They're Jewish.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Keith

      Now we know you must be lying-there's NO WAY you have any friends.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Kim

      As a matter of fact I will be running a soup kitchen next week and was at the rally today. Being atheist does not make me a bad person. In fact it makes me more tolerant because I don't judge. Each religion believes in only their god and believing all others will burn in their hell. I don't think that's a very nice view on anything. Besides ignoring the facts you choose to judge me? I am a good person because I choose to believe in humanity not out of fear of anyone's god.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor Keith.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  11. Reality

    A money-making scheme by the Silvermans (the atheist version of the Graham family)?? Probably. Internet media networking is doing the same job at no cost and no trip to Washington and $1000 front row seats required.

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS–

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    And then augmented by the following:

    Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Mormonism:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ========================================================================================

    March 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Jeff

      This rally was a waste of time and money. Resources that could have been better spent on humanitarian causes.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • AGuest9

      That comment is ironic. It makes me think of all the money spent on those big prayer rallies. Cast that stone.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How much money did it cost, Jeff?

      March 24, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Kim

      At yet no one at the rally asked me to put money in a collection plate. Hmmmmm.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  12. Searching..

    say what you want about people that believe in God but some of them like Gregor Mendel, Martin Luther King Jr, and MANY others actually DID something that benefited humanity!!!! Their belief in God influenced their actions. I tell you, the way some of you on this post are talking, you would think all believers are a bunch of idiots. Shame on this generation for not honoring those whose belief in God emboldened them to comfort the widower and to serve those less fortunate. Geesh!

    March 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      What did MLK do other than beat up h-o–o-k-e-r-s, plaigerize his doctoral thesis, and go on coke binges while making certain he ruined this country for the rest of us?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Lol

      Religious people did positive things due to having their own strength, intelligence, and goodness within them, IN SPITE of their contradictory belief in a monster in the sky who says they're worthless vermin who can only amount to anything by groveling and licking his shoes.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And Bill Gates is giving millions to charity. So is Warren Buffet. So what?

      Good people do good things, bad people do bad things. Religion has very little to do with it.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." —Steven Weinberg, Nobel-winning American physicist

      March 25, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  13. Fredericka

    That's supposed to be thirty thousand people? What a joke.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • JD

      Are you under the impression you can fit 30,000 people in a photograph at that angle/distance?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Do you see what I see?

      Fredericka, How nice that you are entertained.

      "Silverman told CNN on Thursday that he expects somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people."
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/22/atheist-rally-billed-as-coming-out-moment-for-nonbelievers/

      "... the crowd, estimated at between 8,000 and 10,000 people - a sharp increase over The Godless March on Washington, another atheist-themed rally held 10 years ago in the same spot that attracted about 3,000 people."
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/24/atheist-rally_n_1377443.html

      March 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Do you see what I see?

      p.s. your 30,000 figure was only what the Parks Service allowed for.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Fredericka

      Do you see what I see? wrote: "p.s. your 30,000 figure was only what the Parks Service allowed for."

      It's not my 30,000 figure, I got it from the puff piece they did on NPR. I don't see where NPR did any follow-up, after it turned out to be such a fiasco. They shouldn't call it the 'Reason Rally' but the 'Cargo Cult Rally.'

      March 25, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor Fredericka.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Not an atheist or a theist

      You're pretty transparently afraid of the growing atheist movement, Fredericka. When we fear something, we minimize it.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Fredericka

      Not an atheist wrote: "You're pretty transparently afraid of the growing atheist movement, Fredericka. When we fear something, we minimize it."

      Hi Not an Atheist. It's three percent and it's obviously not growing. I think this fiasco puts the head-stone on it.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Huh?

      "It's three percent and it's obviously not growing. I think this fiasco puts the head-stone on it."

      You probably don't realize that only 30% of people on this planet actually believe in Christianity. So it's great you're not any part of the majority. LOL!

      March 26, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  14. PrimeNumber

    "In large part however, protests were rare and not aggressive. "
    Surely the atheists were hoping for some display of mean-spiritedness from the protesting theists.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • AGuest9

      It's ironic that that's where the bulk of the aggression is from. So much for "turn the other cheek."

      March 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  15. gina

    WHAT KINDA DRUGS IS EVERY ONE ON BECAUSE SOMETHING IS CAUSING PEOPLE TO GO BESURKE

    March 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Mr Chihuahua

      I DONT KNOW LOL!

      March 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Mr Chihuahua

      YOU SPELLED BERSERK WRONG LOL!

      March 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  16. Colin

    I hope this is the begining of the end for mainstream acceptance of supernatural nonsense. My dream news story from 50 years in the future.

    LAST CHURCH IN THE USA CLOSES.

    Reuters AAP – The last place of worship the USA officially closed its doors yesterday. The Church of Christ Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama held its last service at 10:00 on Sunday morning and was promptly shuttered by its pastor. “While I will be sorry to see a tradition pas.s, I guess it was time to move on,” declared Pastor Kevin Smith, “It saddens me a little, but I can no longer preach things I no longer believe in myself. Also, given that my congregation is elderly and poor, donations are down to a trickle.”

    The closure marks the culmination of a dramatic surge in secularism in the USA following the Catholic Church scandals of the early 21st Century. After phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network revealed that the Pope and virtually all Archbishops were acutely aware of the depth of the pedophilia problem since the 1950s, sweeping new policies were implemented under President Gibbs’ administration (2040-2048).

    Under his “No Mind Left Behind” policy, children were taught science, history, psychology and critical thinking from their first year of school. It was not until they were in their early teens and had a grounding in healthy skepticism and independent thought, that any supernatural belief, such as astrology or religion was allowed to be presented to them. Such beliefs were, of course, almost universally rejected by them.

    As interest in the supernatural has dwindled, the vacated churches, synagogues and mosques in the USA were sold off and the proceeds invested in a fund which, under the XXV Amendment to the US Const.itution, could only be used to further scientific education and environmental awareness and protection. Already the fund has been responsible for returning vast swaths of land to their natural state, in the USA and elsewhere and has largely been credited for ensuring the survival of the tiger, cheetah and mountain gorilla.

    Bibles and The Book of Mormon, which once graced virtually every hotel room in the USA, were replaced with Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.”

    As people have increasingly realized there is no sky-being looking out for us, donations to the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, the Red Heart (f/k/a “Red Cross”) and Doctors Without Borders are at an all time high. “Looking back, it’s weird to think of some of the nonsense people believed as late as the early 21st Century,” commented Pastor Smith, as he locked the doors and walked nonchalantly from his church. “I guess you can’t judge them too harshly, though. When you’re taught it from such an early age and then told it’s immoral to even question it, I guess you are easy prey.”

    March 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • pams

      Wonderful!!!

      March 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • hamboy

      I wonder why this is your dream?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      @Colin "I hope this is the begining of the end for mainstream acceptance of supernatural nonsense" You'd better hope the issue stays in the "hoping" mode. The disappearance of "supernatural nonsense" will be like drawing aside a curtain. And what's behing the curtain? For the first time you'll see human nature face to face. A mature atheist would have to admit the horrors of which people are capable. Example: human scientists created the nuclear bomb, and human politicians and militarists first used it, with no religious motivation. Your disillusionment will be awful when religion is gone.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • AGuest9

      It's interesting, Prime. The man who ordered the development of the atomic bomb (technically, it's an electric bomb, but I digress), was FDR – an Episcopalian. The man who ordered it's use – Truman – was a Southern Baptist. But, you're afraid of people who are atheist. Interesting, and a bit disturbing.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Freethinker Seeking Reason

      Absolutely beautiful!! Thank you for at least giving us hope!!

      March 25, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • mitch

      You don't realize how happy that made me to read. I think it would honestly bring tears to my eyes to see our society move forward and not be bound by a book from the bronze age.. What a great read, it will truly be a world to live in 🙂

      March 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • W247

      So, you are stating that you will rejoice when a group of citizens are stripped of their rights, in a sense, calling for a genocide of all religious people. They will only be taught but the goverment deems acceptable to teach, and anything beyond that will be illegal. Hmm..sounds a bit like you really admire how China runs their country, dream of communism much? Church buildings may be closed down, they are just a building, but the real church lives within the believers. You are advocating that US citizens hide their beliefs, forced underground to hide from their own goverment. Nice dream you have there.

      March 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      W247, no where in the article above is there anything about stripping anyone's rights. Of course, if you can believe in the bullsh!t of god and religion, you can hullucinate anything.

      March 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  17. portland tony

    A friggin' rally of folks against something they say doesn't exist! This makes perfect sense to me! Next, somebody will hold a rally against nothing and the same idiots will show up.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Colin

      Against BELIEF IN something they say doesn't exist.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Ogden lafaye

      portland tony...you missed the point deliberately...thanks for NOT showing up...learn to go away, not show up and stay home...you might make some friends.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • portland tony

      @C My point exactly. It's not there.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Michael

      Portland Tony, it was not a rally against something that does not exist. It was a rally against the irrational formulation of laws, policies, education, etc. BASED ON something that does not exist. It's a pretty obvious distinction. Believe in whatever fairy tales you want, but when you want your fairy tales to dictate what our kids learn in school, who can get married, what we can say or wear, then it's time for your fairy tales to go.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Over It

      portland tony – "rally of folks against something they say doesn't exist"

      This imaginary supernatural being's 2-legged yellers and brushbeaters sure do exist, though.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Tony, religion exists. Religion exists and it tends to try to silence dissenting voices. Sort of what you are trying to do with your rather stupid mockery.

      Atheists and humanists have spent a very, very long time being silent, because history shows that religious organizations are more than happy to kill or destroy those that don't believe the same things they do. We have finally reached a point in history where being silent is no longer needed or tolerated. Welcome to the 21st century, Tony.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  18. AGuest9

    I applaud Rebecca Cunningham's comments. College and being outside and on your own is the time for a young adult to experience life on his/her own terms. Carefully examine your belief and values and how they mesh with those of your parents. You might find yourself surprised.

    March 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Guest

      Taslima Nasrin, the author of “Shame,” categorized the Muslim prophet Mohammed as a charlatan, a pedophile and a rapist.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • SPA Knight

      Hopefully her parents didn't dish out $120,000 only to have her explore her beliefs.

      March 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  19. Mr Chihuahua

    From what I can see, not a very popular event with the brothas lol!

    March 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Guest

      Like

      March 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  20. Chad

    God loves every person that attended..

    March 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • GCUZ

      the same god that kills hundreds of thousands in one day in a tsunami? How loving...

      March 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • TC

      Wow.... Cuz if there is no God, the Tsunami never happened and it wasn't the blind pitiless forces of nature that Richard Dawkins talks about that actually killed them, right? If there is a God, they are dead. If there in no God, they are still dead. Completely irrelevant, except as barb from someone who can't think of anything more complex.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Ogden lafaye

      Chad...thats mighty mighty mighty mighty mighty mighty mighty mighty mighty mighty mighty NICE of god.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Zeus loves them too. As does Odin. And maybe even Vishnu. There were also invisible unicorns dancing in the audience. All of these claims have exactly the same evidence to support them as the claim made by Chad.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Chad

      @GCUZ "the same god that kills hundreds of thousands in one day in a tsunami? How loving..."

      =>we arent in Eden anymore...

      March 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.