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