It’s 5:30am, I’m boarding a flight in 10 minutes, and I’m typing this on my phone, so I’ll be brief:

What PZ said?

Bullshit.

Why?

Hemant nailed it.

I also can’t speak for the Rally as a whole, but I can speak from my personal experience. I’m on the board of the Reason Rally as the representative for the Secular Student Alliance. I’ve put hours and hours of volunteer work into making sure this event will be as fun and successful as possible. Did you read that? As possible.

And right now, it’s impossible to find the “perfect” atheist politician. Some of the celebrities are going to have said stupid or sexist bullshit. But the Reason Rally is about getting secular people who have never heard about the atheist movement to know it exists and to get involved. If we crossed off every name that ever said something wrong, we’d have no draw or media appeal.

So, am I jumping for joy that Penn Jillette, Bill Maher, and Lawrence Krauss are speaking? No. But you know what I’m going to do? Go use the bathroom during their talk.

You know what does make me jump for joy? The Parks Department estimates 30,000 to 50,000 people will attend the Reason Rally. Yes, you read that figure right. That’s tens of thousands of people who have never heard of an atheist movement or organization that will now know we exist. And that’s what this event is about. It’s not a science lecture, and it’s not an attempt to convert people to atheism. It’s making our numbers larger and motivating our existing members so our movement grows stronger. So that in the future we will have skeptical atheist politicians, and will have celebrities that don’t make us occasionally cringe.