This week a tide of reason swept the nation as freethinkers, young and old, came together to embrace a spirit of sense and sanity beginning to wake up the country.
It began with a true landmark event, The Reason Rally on the
National Mall in Washington D.C. on March 24. A powerful and famous group of Atheists, Humanists, Freethinkers and others who have cast aside religion came out onto the public stage in our national capitol to greet a crowd officially estimated at 25,000, a figure beyond all expectations.
The greatest surprise, looking out on the crowd, was the overwhelming majority of young faces. Today’s Freethought movement is driven by America’s youth. Tired of repressive and nonsensical superstition, they reach for a future based on thinking, science and sanity.
About halfway through the festivities, the clouds broke and the rains came, but it didn’t matter. The crowds stayed for more. There was something for everyone on the Mall that day. For the very young, a large team from Camp Quest, the new secular program for children of all ages, opened a huge tent to make learning fun. For all ages, there was the joy of being surrounded by the like-minded, the tolerant, and other open hearts unchained by tradition, sectarianism or dogma.
An astonishing phenomenon in recent years has been the growth of the Freethought community online, through Facebook and other social networks, and the thousands of passionate bloggers spreading the message of positivity, equality and visions of a bright future. For many old friends online, the Reason Rally was a first chance to connect in person. This was a rally forged in cyberspace that showed how easily this movement can move out with strength into the world.
In the crowd, the message was a clear and consistent one. This is a beginning, the surge forward of a genuine movement that will shape the future of our country in years and decades to come.
The Rally was organized by many groups from across the spectrum of Freethinking, Atheist and Humanist communities. The truth is those in this movement have far more in common than apart. Together they are becoming an important and growing social voice and voting block. This is a movement of the young and so a voice that is here to stay.
Groups such as American Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Humanist Association and especially the Secular Student Alliance, have seen their membership grow exponentially already this decade, and that trend looks only to continue. This is not just a movement against religion, though. Rather it represents a positive force of ideas for a positive future without repression.
Another large gathering of thousands is happening today (March 31), Rock Beyond Belief at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville. It seems this community will not tire of gathering by the thousands to express their opinions and call for a new wind of sanity. Our nation’s elected leaders should sit up and take notice.