The rally united people with similar beliefs of different backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities. They came together to show their support and to hear a range of celebrities, intellectuals, elected officials, and other leaders in the secular movement.
“We have the numbers to be taken seriously,” said Paul Fidalgo, spokesman for the Center for Inquiry, which promotes the scientific method and reasoning and was one of the organizations sponsoring the rally. “We’re not just a tiny fringe group.”
According to the American Religious Identification Survey in 2008, the number of people who claim no specific religious belief was 34 million, which is 15 percent of the U.S. adult population. A survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted in 2008 yielded similar numbers.
“We are here to celebrate our belief in reason, science, and the power of the human mind,” comedian Paul Provenza said. “We are here to say to elected politicians … that there is a base for them to stand on to stand up to the religious right.”
“We are here to deliver a message to America,” David Silverman, president of American Atheists, one of the rally’s sponsors, and the rally’s head organizer told the crowd. “We are here and we will never be silent again … In years to come, the Reason Rally will be seen as the beginning of the end of the religious right’s grip on American life.”