Thank You!!

With a crowd estimated at ~20,000 people despite the intermittent rain and cool temperatures we’re extremely happy with the tremendous success that the Reason Rally was.  We could not have done it without you, without your support, without the word-of-mouth, the videos, the links, the donations, the purchasing of shirts, hoodies, VIP passes, and everything else you amazing and wonderful people have done to help us make this event such an amazing success.  Words fail me; I cannot express enough gratitude on behalf of us all.

We’re going to be gathering links to videos and pictures and posting as much of that as we can over the next few weeks as we gather all the material and footage together.  Please bear with us as we’re all exhausted and recovering from the event and the many related events.  It will take several weeks (at least) but we will have DVDs for sale.  Stay tuned.


  1. Thank you! I had a great time. Awesome speeches, comedy, and music. The weather could have been a lot worse. It turned out not to be a big problem. Also, the production values of the rally were really good, especially given the weather challenges. There weren’t too many technical glitches, and most were early on and it was smooth sailing after that. And of course Bad Religion was an excellent close to the rally.

  2. Ken Peters says:

    Note that the religious group “True Reason” seems to be trying to bend the wikipedia article on the Reason Rally ( to their purposes. All rally attendees should keep an eye on the page and edit it to make sure it stays accurate.

  3. ChuckV says:

    Thank for putting on the rally, I enjoyed being there, but I do have a complaint. All the F-Bombs. I brought my wife and kids to the rally, my wife became very angry and we had to bring our kids away from the speakers to the kid tent because of the Michin’s Pope song. I don’t want my 7 year old repeating “Fuck the mother fucker”.

    You can’t say on one hand atheism and the rally are family friendly and then have content suited for an over 21 club.

    • Siryth says:

      I’m sorry you felt bothered by the language in the pope song, but it was used for a very good reason. As he points out in the song itself, the f-bombs as you call them are used to express anger over a great injustice. That’s why we have expletives. He goes on to point out that if you are more concerned with his use of language than with the pope’s actions, you should seriously reconsider your moral priorities.

      • ChuckV says:

        Siryth, so now you are implying I’m immoral for not wanting my kids to hear “Fuck the mother fucker”? That I’m somehow supporting the pope if I want a clean language event for my kids? There is the concept of adjusting your message for the audience. The fact that I want a clean language event for my kids is wholly independent of my feeling about the pope.

        I would understand if the rally organizers suggested that I leave the kids home. Instead kids were welcomed. My youngest at 3 is not going to understand the nuances of foul language vs. covering up child rape. He is just going to get a gas out of repeating “Fuck the mother fucker”, and I have to deal with the situation.

        • SecularMom says:

          ChuckV, I’m a mom who attended the rally and I tweeted pretty much the same criticism. The replies I received were all like this, calling my morals into question. I’M not offended by curse words – my seven-year-old is.

          But, like you, I thought the rally would be less vulgar, and less angry, since I assume one of the goals is to show how normal and approachable we are.

          There are so many people out there who put their atheism last in their lives, and I hope they were as inspired by the rally as I was. However, I can easily see them shaking their heads at this kind of display and turning away.

          • Jon Cates says:

            Yea, F-Bombs are cool at the water cooler but not so much at a family event. If it wasn’t a family event it should have been.

    • Joe Smith says:

      @ChuckV I understand, I too am a father. Though my daughter was not there, I understood Tim Minchin’s songs were not proper for young ears. I think they should have at least warned about the heavy use of foul language before he came on. That way, if you stayed to listen, then that was on you, not him. Censorship no, but a forewarning sure.

  4. andrsib says:

    I took a video of Tim Minchin singing “Thank You God” on the Reason Rally and posted it on YouTube. A few hours later it was taken down with the notice:

    Dear andrsib:

    We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from Tim Minchin claiming that this material is infringing:

    Tim Minchin “Thank You God”

    Is that, like, normal and expected course of events?

    • twirlgrl says:

      andrsib, a lot of Tim’s stuff gets pulled from YouTube. It’s mostly his new songs like “Thank You God”. The older ones usually get a pass. Eventually, that one will, too. He tries to keep the newer stuff under wraps for awhile so that the material will be fresh for new audiences.

      • Mark says:

        twirlgrl: True, but they also said at the event that they not only wanted people to video the speakers/performers, but to also share it on YouTube and other social media. So, when Tim was being introduced, they could have said “Tim is going to use language some of you may not want your kids to hear, and if you post videos of his performance on YouTube, they’ll be taken down.”

    • ChuckV says:

      Well, he does own copyright to his material. I think he gets some advertising revenue by posting the videos to his own account. Many performers do this. Some let it go. They may want you to buy a copy of the rally DVD. It’s all up to the performer.

  5. Doug says:

    Regarding the language. Frankly, those words deemed offensive are just that, words. Much like the ancient words that we were all there (I assume) to take out of their position of import: the profanity used was just as harmless. The world is not a safe place for children, unless parents make it such for them, and teach them how to interpet what they find there. Couldn’t there have been a very simple discussion after the rally such as “a lot of the words used there are not going to be appropriate for children to use, do you have any questions about them?” Sanitizing the world will only result in sterility.

  6. ChuckV, although I’m a huge Minchin fan and am glad he played The Pope Song, I understand your concern and agree with Joe Smith that a warning would have been a good solution.

    andrsib, as for the “expected course of events” with Tim Minchin videos, while I can’t speak for him, I’ve noticed that certain ones he keeps off YouTube. I think (speculating) it is because he is trying to sell his Heritage Orchestra DVD, which contains the song, and also he is currently using it when he performs and may want to keep a surprise element for audiences who haven’t heard it.

    Since Paul Provenza told us at the start of the rally to record everything and “YouTube the fuck out of it”, I was hoping Tim Minchin would allow recordings of “Thank You God” even though he hasn’t previously. (Also for those concerned about language, it was coming from the emcee of the event too, so maybe there were not clear guidelines for performers?)

  7. Fred Simon says:

    For next year may be putting all the F-bomb toward the end of the rally and tell everyone about it will be great. This way you can bring the kids, leave around 5PM and let the funny good crazy talk go on.

    • ChuckV says:

      That is a great idea!

      • Siryth says:

        ChuckV, I wasn’t trying to imply that you yourself are immoral, nor do I think you are. I was simply pointing out the message of that particular song. As I said before, I’m sorry you and some others were bothered by it, and I agree that it wouldn’t have hurt to give a little warning at the beginning of the rally. I doubt it crossed their minds, though, since most secularists I know have long since abandoned the idea that any particular word can be inherently “bad”. But, anyway, that’s getting into a philosophical argument about the absurdity of profanity that, while interesting in itself, isn’t relevant to the point you were making. I understand that a big part of protecting your children is making sure they follow the rules of society, even if some of those rules are utterly ridiculous.

  8. Deanna says:

    Well, the comments section above does read: “Speak Your Mind”. I came to the rally with my 15 year old daughter. Overall, we had a great time. But, regarding the f bombs….yes, my daughter tells me she hears bad language at high school, but no one in our home speaks that way, and it’s not an environment I want her exposed to. I was disappointed in anyone with a microphone at the rally, including the emcee Paul Provenza as well as Tim Minchin. Before Minchin came on stage, I was wondering what material he would use and would he self-edit. The only word he didn’t say, which he does say in his shows, was “c*nt”. Instead, he encouraged the crowd to say it instead. Not really the best solution. Like the other parent who wrote up above, I was disappointed in the lack of good judgment shown by the adults. Two of the best speeches of the day were delivered by Adam Savage and Jessica Ahlquist, and they both showed you could connect with the audience without using words that need to be bleeped. I’ve been on the Mall many times with my family over the years, and I am embarrassed as a member of the Atheist community that so many families enjoying the cherry blossoms and the museums were exposed to the language. Those families didn’t share in the context of the discussion of the rally. They were bystanders and caught in the crossfire of f-bombs, not to mention the Atheist families who were encouraged to bring their children to the rally. The National Mall is different than an enclosed convention room. The one fortunate thing is that the Camp Quest tent, though it had a live feed, was unable to actually broadcast the sound and could only show the video of the Rally. I can only begin to imagine the outrage if the speeches had actually been heard within the CQ tent.

  9. Jeff says:

    I was disappointed also with the language at the event and I didn’t even have my daughter with me. I think Deanna hit the point, this event was outside in an open area with a lot of families walking around the Mall, it was very poor judgement by the producers of the event. Yes, you can play the “meaning” card, that any of these words mean nothing, but you’re not the person who has his young family there. Disrespect is disrespect regardless of your view of it. If it was promoted as a family event, then the producers should have made it perfectly clear to all involved on the stage to keep it clean during the show.
    Rain or shine I came to the event to make sure our numbers were known to the world. I was proud to be part of it except for the language and those that deemed it necessary to debate with the idiots on the side during the event. If you came to the event to talk to a brick wall, why come at all? You could have stayed home and done that on the internet! Sometimes it’s hard to understand what is going through people’s minds. Gotta ask yourself this, Did you come for the event or did you show up for a debate? If it’s the latter, please stay home the next event because you provided the best photos for those who are against our views.

  10. Jeff says:

    One other thing I’d like to mention, I was proud of all the middle age and older people who attended the event!! I know one of the speakers made a point that most were students at the event, but from my point of view standing in the crowd, there was just as many older people at the event and I want to thank each and every one of them that came to the event.
    Many theists look at the younger crowd as “children that have lost their way” or “they’re just troubled children” but it’s hard for a theist to say the same thing about the older adults!! All of it is a poor excuse for their beliefs.
    So I’m glad it was a mixed crowd at the event! Thank you for everyone that made the afford to show up even with the weather the way it was!! Also, thanks goes out for the producers/sponsors to make this event happen!
    I would definitely attend an annual event each year if they decide to do it. I would hope that the attending crowd would continue to grow and fill the whole Mall up!!
    Also, for those who didn’t show up who were within a state or two, I took the Amtek to the event and it only cost 63.00 round trip (Richmond) and it was a perfect way to get to the event and back home without fighting with traffic.

  11. Carissa Snedeker says:

    I was at the Rally too and enjoyed it very much. My tipping point came at the end with Jamie Kilstein’s second set. I’m no prude, but there is a time and place. We weren’t in a nightclub. We were in a public place and the event was pretty much billed our coming out party. There were still many, many children on the mall at that point, and I felt it finished off the rally on a sour note.

    Just my 2¢ but something for organizers to keep in mind for future public events.

  12. With regard to the language and it being “disrespectful” I would like to point out that many religious people in this country that knew about the rally probably thought the rally itself was disrespectful. I do sympathize with those who brought children but saying the language that was used is disrespectful sounds very similar to a religious person saying the entire rally was disrespectful. What if a religious family was walking past the National Mall? If this logic is to be used, didn’t we all disrespect this religious family?

    Bad words are only deemed off limits because we have been conditioned to think that way by society our entire lives — just as most people have been conditioned to believe religion is off limits as well.

    For full disclosure, I’ll admit that I like people who push the boundaries of what is acceptable and comfortable.

    • Deanna says:

      I never used the word, “disrespectful”, regarding the language spoken at the National Mall during the rally. It boils down to the appropriateness of the language. Let me ask you: if your child attended Camp Quest, would you want a camp counselor to sing Tim Minchin’s “F*ck the mother f*cker” song? Plus, would you want that same person to sing the song using a microphone/amps next to an elementary school while children are outside during recess? The language used by many speakers at the ReasonRally was inappropriate for the setting, the National Mall, where not only rally goers were listening but the thousands of people unaware that the rally was taking place.

    • Mark says:

      David K. Sutton: I guess you have no problem with words like “faggot”, “dyke”, “nigger”, etc., in general public discourse, right? Because, hey, they’re just words!

      In reality, it is not too funny when three-year-olds are using those words at their daycare because their parents took them to a rally billed as family-friendly that was not. Remind me to push the boundaries of what is acceptable around your kids; but, don’t worry — I won’t.

  13. Deanna:

    You didn’t say it, but somebody else said “disrespect” earlier. My comment was directed at all, not any one person.

    I don’t disagree with you. I realize that as much as we can analyze why things are the way they are, at the end of the day we all have to decide what we are comfortable with. And no, I would not be comfortable with a child attending Camp Quest and hearing that language but my comment is specifically about this event. I guess my expectations were different for the Reason Rally compared to someone who brought their children. I’m not sure I expected dozens of F-bombs but I knew there would be language at this type of event with a wide variety of comedians and guests.

    • Jeff says:


      I will direct it at you, yes it was DISRESPECTFUL to every family that attended with their children. It was promoted as a family event and should have been just that. You can call anything you want to religious BS if that helps you defined your view of it. I take it (and I hope I’m right) that you don’t have children, if you do then I’m truly sorry for them. Not everyone wants to hear your view of this type of language and it has NOTHING to do with religion. There’s a time and place for adult language and this wasn’t the time or the place for it.

      • Jeff:

        I didn’t say it was the same thing as religion. I was saying the argument about disrespect in this case is similar to the idea of disrespecting religious people. Meaning, it’s all language, words, communication. In the case of the religious family being disrespected, it was the very existence of the rally itself and speaking ill of religion and god, etc. In the case of the disrespect you are talking about it is particular words that you (and many) find objectionable, especially when children are present. But in both cases is is language and communication.

        No, I don’t have children, but that hardly disqualifies me from offering my view on this topic. Making an issue of whether or not I have children is an attempt by you to dismiss my viewpoint as less important. It’s not. As I said, I sympathize with those who brought children. I also think verbal warnings could have been offered. But I’m generally not for imposed censorship. If artists and acts want to use language it is their prerogative just as it is your prerogative to be angry that they did so.

  14. sheilacole says:

    I was at the Reason Rally with my 7-year-old. Hasn’t anyone heard Tim Minchin’s songs before? We don’t swear in our home and our son can barely tell the difference between a swear word and a “not nice” word like “stupid.” The way I see it is either they are too young to know the difference or old enough to be hearing it from other kids at school. Talking about what words are appropriate to say as a child is a simple conversation to have with your own children. Something like this… “Tim Minchin wrote a song using lots of swear words because he’s really really angry that the Catholic church (and the Pope) protected priests who hurt children. These are not words you should be using.” End of discussion. My son is still singing the “Thank You God” song. I think it’s important to note that the religious right and Fox News are focusing on the swear words in Tim’s songs to deflect attention from the actual point of the rally – that the non-religious in this country are growing.

  15. Fred Simon says:

    I just wanted to Thanks to all on stage and the audience. I had a blast:

    Hope to see you all next year :)

  16. SecularMom says:

    To all the folks saying, in essence, “Would it be too hard to have a conversation with your kids about appropriate word use?” I’m sure the parents at the Reason Rally absolutely discussed with our kids why Tim Minchin and the other speakers are angry, and what expletives are meant to convey. We’re logical, freethinking atheists; “would it be too hard” to assume we have frank discussions with our children and proactively attempt to prepare them for the world?

    The point of my criticism of the rally is not to say, “I expect everyone to shelter my kids.” It’s that gratuitous anger and gratuitous use of expletives make us, as atheists, sound exactly like the disrespectful extremists everyone expects us to be. Yes, it’s therapeutic for folks to bash religion, and yes, that bashing is warranted, and yes, I’m angry too. But I’m sure we’re loquacious enough to express ourselves in language that doesn’t make people cringe and children cover their ears.

    If the news media takes our criticism and runs with it, that’s regretful, but don’t blame the critics. We weren’t the ones screaming the F-word on the National Mall at the family-friendly event.

    • twirlgrl says:

      I have to wonder how many of you even listened to Tim’s song. The entire point of it is if you are more offended by expletives than by the church covering up child-rape, you need to re-assess your priorities. It is not a song about being angry at religion, it’s a song about ethics. Those of you here complaining about the offensive language, what have you done about child-rape today? Who have you mentioned it to? Are you upset enough about it to write a Facebook post? Maybe a blog post? Have you said anything about it to anyone since the rally? Because if not, you are the people he was addressing.

      • weirdload says:

        I have been scrolling down angrily for some time to post my opinion, but you said it perfectly and succinctly. Well done!

      • Tim says:

        RIGHT ON! Did any of the people who have posted their “offense” about “vulgar” language here make any posts ANYWHERE about the Pope’s cover up and support of child molesting priests? NO? Then Tim WAS RIGHT!!

        Selective outrage?

  17. Chris says:

    I want to thank all who helped create such a wonderful event. I know how much time and effort it took to make this event the success it was. I personally would have liked to have gone there but couldn’t.

    I’m wondering as to when the videos will be uploaded to the groups YouTube channel? All that is up there are pre-rally video clips. It’s been almost a week now, and many of us fellow non-believers are waiting to see and hear the event speakers.


  18. weirdload says:

    Just wanted to add that I am a proud atheist living and working in an Islamic country, and I would give a great deal to attend a Reason Rally here… But sadly they still put people to death for blasphemy and anal sex here. Wish I could have been there, guys. It sounds like it was a fantastic event. And to all those who took offense to the swearing, have a look at twirlgrl’s comment above. :-)

  19. Eric Grivel says:

    I assume the organization recorded the video stream they displayed on the jumbotrons. I was hoping that those recordings would be shared on this web site — there were a number of speeches I would like to listen to again, and definitely some that I would love to share on facebook! When will you be posting video links???


  20. Eric Grivel says:

    My photos from the rally, as posted on facebook:


  21. Jaz says:

    Having attended the Rally, I wish to point out that while the margins had some Christian Groups, and WBC marched solemnly a half a block away, I did NOT see ONE person from so-called “True Reason”. No one handing out little books or bottles of water. Anywhere. Did anyone else see them? We were all over and around the Rally, and did not see them anywhere.
    The reason I mention this is that the Wikipedia article says they were there, seemingly because articles beforehand said they would be. If anyone knows how to edit Wikipedia (I do not.) maybe you could question some of this. Did anyone see anyone from “True Reason?”.

  22. David says:

    I’m just curious when the DVDs will be shipped. I know they take a while to produce and manufacture.

    • admin says:

      Me too! Unfortunately I don’t know. I do know it will take a few weeks at the very least; there’s simply so much footage to go through, so many great moments to showcase.

  23. Fiona George says:

    I see that a lot of people/parents have been commenting and complaining about all the language and crude or rude things said, but, I have to ask, what makes it bad? Where does the basis for your morals come from???

  24. Bryan Poole says:

    Hello, I represent the Secular Student Alliance at The University of Akron and we want to show the Reason Rally DVD at our school but our school requires some proof of open rights to show any kind of media.

    Is there any way we can get open rights from those who made the DVD to show it publicly, and so that the school would not be liable? How can I go about finding that information?

    Bryan Poole

    • admin says:

      I’ll ask the upper-ups but I think the SSA, as a member organization, would have rights to do a showing.


  1. […] Christians, creating a dilemma for those attending. Some freethinkers who attended complained on the Reason Rally website that the event was dubbed family friendly, but once there, they found some of the language […]

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