At the Iowa State Capitol yesterday, there was a “Freedom to Believe” rally to show support for minority groups who have been victims of hate crimes and bigotry over the past few months — Muslims receiving hate-filled letters, Jews receiving anti-Semitic phone calls at their synagogues, immigrants dealing with intolerance from the Donald Trump crowd, etc.
Rocky Gissler, President of the Humanists of Linn County, was one of the speakers, and she gave a wonderful heartfelt speech about how her group would defend the rights of everyone else to worship freely, no matter their philosophical differences.
… I hope you’ll pardon me if I seem a little nervous because people like me rarely get asked to speak at occasions like this.
One of the reasons we often are left out is because there is a mistaken idea that Secular Humanists, atheists, freethinkers, whatever you want to call us, don’t believe in anything. And the truth is we believe in a lot of things, and we believe in most of the things that all of you believe in… Any rallies you go to, I guarantee you that there are people like me there. We’re your neighbors, your friends, your doctors, your plumbers. We have far more in common with religious people than we have differences. That is just true.
And I can’t stand up here and pretend to speak for all non-theists, but I can speak for myself, and for my organization, and for all of the non-theists in this state that I have come to know, and I can tell you this: We believe in human rights.
We believe in the inherent goodness and dignity of all people. We believe that bigotry in all its forms is contrary to what it means to just be a human being.
That’s just the beginning. Be sure to watch the whole video.
There’s absolutely no reason atheists should be left out of rallies like these, and we’d all be very lucky to have honest, decent, arms-wide-open speakers like Rocky at similar events.
(Thanks to Joe for the link)