What do Penn Jillette, Bill Nye, Andrés Roemer, Johnny Depp, Maryam Namazie, and Killah Priest have in common? Two things: They all want reason — not religion — to guide public policy and they will all be speaking at Reason Rally 2016.
That the man who made science cool to generations of kids, the Mexican consul in San Francisco, in-demand Hollywood celebrities, an Iranian civil rights activist, a rapper — and more — are headed to Reason Rally 2016 on June 4 indicates the reach of the event’s message: Nonreligious voters cross all demographic lines and are coming out as a force to be reckoned with in upcoming elections.
In fact, 56 million people identify as “nones,” just a shade fewer than those that identify as evangelicals and more than those who identify as Catholic or mainline Protestant. Yet exit polls focus on how evangelicals voted and campaign strategists still court them.
“No longer hiding their lack of religion, ‘nones,’ atheists, and secular voters are demanding that their voices be heard and their votes sought,” says Lyz Liddell, executive director of Reason Rally 2016. “And those votes will go to candidates who base their policies on science and facts.”
Iranian civil rights activist Maryam Namazie adds another level of concern to the value of reason-based policy: the destabilizing effects of policies guided by religion. “I am excited about Reason Rally because the demand for reason, secularism, and universal rights in the age of ISIS is an historical task and necessity,” she says.
Joining her and other “nones” at Reason Rally 2016 will be scientists, such as Lawrence Krauss. “The Reason Rally is important precisely because it demonstrates for all to see that people who care about reason, rationality, and empirical evidence as the basis of public policy are not alone. We are far more prevalent than the media makes out,” Krauss says.
Reason Rally 2016 is a Voting Bloc Party to celebrate both the growing number of “nones” and their willingness to speak up for reason, with entertainers — Margaret Cho, Penn Jillette, Baba Brinkman, Julia Sweeney, John de Lancie, and Mark White — joining scientists —Carolyn Porco, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott — in a four-day extravaganza of lobbying, comedy, music, and serious discussion about how to impact this election.