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Please begin with an informative title:

Today I attended the Reason Rally on the National Mall in Washington DC.

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We heard from the podium that about 20,000 people were in attendance.  Those there had to put up with cool temperatures and occasional moderate rain.

It was an exciting day.  I am myself a professor of astronomy, and so I appreciated the calls for evidence-based reasoning in all we do.  I came to understand and articulate, though I have long known it instinctively, that nothing less than the Enlightenment is at stake in these troubling times.

There were many speakers who called for atheists and non-believers to come out to our families and friends.  Even though I have heard the saddest coming out stories from my gay relatives and friends, I was unprepared for the deep tragedy of cases like that of Nate Phelps, son of the infamous pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church (I will NOT link to that site!).  I was greatly moved by Taslima Nasrin, who is exiled from her country because of her writings about feminism and her criticisms of aspects of Islam.

On a personal note, I am in the process of coming out as a non-believer.  My family knows, as do a few of my friends, but so far I have not proclaimed it widely.  I post about the atheist movement often enough on my Facebook page, so people ought to have figured it out by now - but still, I know the pain it can cause people.  I would love to hear some of your stories, especially the positive ones - that would be a big help to me in my journey.

Other highlights of the day included Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, and (new to me) the wonderful Tim Minchin.

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