Atheist Rally in Texas Recap September 11, 2007

Atheist Rally in Texas Recap

Over the weekend, a Texas rally for state/church separation occurred.

There wasn’t a huge turnout (is there ever?) at the rally — only about 100 people — but American Atheists Texas State Director Joe Zamecki says this:

The old joke used to be “Atheists held a picket today, at which all 12 Atheists in America attended.” Well that number has had to be upped a little bit many times in the last few decades. It still takes a lot of guts to go public with this perspective, and obviously it’s easy and safe to say you’re a Christian… Not so impressive.

We Atheists are coming of age in American society, and I’m glad it’s all being done through safe and peaceful means, with an inclusive and positive goal. Peace for all through VOLUNTARY secularism. :o)

There is one article on the rally in The Daily Texan (a publication that serves the University of Texas at Austin population) that quotes a number of the people who attended:

Over a dozen speakers took the podium on the Capitol steps to speak about separation of church and state. The participants, from atheist leaders to regular citizens, said they saw the state Senate as biased in favor of religion.

Patrick Greene of San Antonio called the pro-religion stance of the state legislature an infringement of his liberty.

“Freedom based on the Bible would be a dictatorship,” Greene said.

Terry McDonald, chairman of Metroplace Atheists, criticized the state legislature as being dominated by religion. (***See comment***)

“This senate stands for Judeo-Christian values,” McDonald said.

Nick Lee of the Freethinkers Association of Central Texas told the crowd in his speech that atheists should stop accepting the negative image associated with them since they only want fairness.

“We come here not as an anti-religion rally but to protect civil liberties,” Lee said.

McDonald said he wanted to make atheists more accessible as members of communities.

“We want to show that we live normal lives as patriotic citizens,” he added.

It’s frustrating that more people from all different faith/no-faith backgrounds weren’t joining those who were there protesting. There is some talk that the heat was an issue. I’m just not sure how large of an effect it had in keeping people away.

(via NoGodBlog)

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • The Daily Texan completely misquoted Terry McDonald from the Metroplex Atheists. He was quoting Senator Dan Patrick when he made his comment about the Senate being based on Judeo-Christian values.

    It was a good rally. I got to meet a bunch of new people. And speaking on the steps of the State Capitol building was pretty cool.

  • It’s frustrating that more people from all different faith/no-faith backgrounds weren’t joining those who were there protesting.

    Was it billed as an atheist rally or just a general separation of church & state protest? I can imagine that many religious people who support the separation of church & state might not have showed up because they were under the impression that it was only an atheist get together.

  • It was a general church/state separation rally, but put on by atheist groups. I don’t think it was advertised much outside of the those groups.

    I know they are wanting to do it again. I can suggest to Joe that we may want to invite some theist church/state supporters to speak in the future and to advertise it among sympathetic theist groups.

  • If you do so, look into churches like the Mennonites and the non-conservative Baptists. They’re the ones who invented the concept of the “separation of church and state” in the first place (Jefferson got the phrase from a bunch of Baptists actually).

    I’m sure you’ll find some supporters in many of the liberal mainline churches around there too.

  • Karen

    You should also let people in Friends churches (Quaker), Unitarian-Universalist and Episcopal churches know about it. They’d be likely to be supporters, along with certain Methodist and Presbyterian congregations (though there are conservative congregations within those umbrella categories).

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