What is Reason Rally?

I met with my banker—the quintessential charismatic too-tall banker who always wants to shake my hand several times and give me another line of credit—and for the seventh time, I got a blank stare when I said I am going to Reason Rally and need to budget. In most of my conversations, with atheists and theists alike, I have mostly encountered questions about the rally and its origins.

What is Reason Rally?

Reason Rally is an event that promotes secularism and religious skepticism in Washington DC. Speakers—everyone from Bill Nye to Margaret Cho to Johnny Depp—will take the stage to discuss secular ideas. There will be entertainment and music. Some notable atheists are not attending. For instance, Richard Dawkins is not attending due to health reasons. This year the rally will be held on June 4th at Lincoln Memorial with a whole program of events around that time.

Does this rally happen every year?

Nope. The last Reason Rally was held in 2012, and it has been considered the largest secular event in world history to date. However, the reports on how many people actually attended are unofficial.

What is the purpose of the rally?

Attendees have different ideas about what the purpose of the rally is. Everyone will likely be attending for slightly different reasons. Some of the topics at the forefront of the rally will include LGBTQ equality, climate change, and women’s reproductive rights. One of this year’s goals is to promote effective sex education rather than abstinence-only sex education, which has been correlated with increased teen pregnancy.



Someone might say the purpose of the rally is to question and celebrate secularism. Another person who is attending the rally may say that the purpose is to make politicians cater to reason as much as they cater to the irrational ideas of theists.

Is there religious backlash at the rally? Or is this a dangerous event?

There are religious protesters, and I feel like most secular events have the possibility of danger. Nonetheless, some people consider Reason Rally a child-friendly event. In that regard, the rally is not dangerous.



I do have some reservation about traveling alone as a young woman. Many of these fears have been worsened over the years, because of a negative experience at the American Atheists convention in 2015. Reason Rally does have a Code of Conduct that lists information for anyone experiencing harassment, but that won’t necessarily stop men from disrespecting my “no.”

Why are you going to Reason Rally?

There are a number of practical and logistical reasons for my attendance. I try to go to one atheist event every year. It’s tremendous fun and always intellectually challenging and satisfying. As the rally is approaching, I find myself becoming both increasingly nervous and excited. Here is to my hoping my poor car is up for the trip.

More questions? Leave me a comment in the section below!

The Crazy [Atheist] Card

I have been reading comment sections about atheists, and I have noticed something both surprising and unsurprising. Male atheists are less likely to be called “crazy” than a variety of other derogatory adjectives. For instance, Richard Dawkins is much more likely to be “stupid” rather than “crazy.” On one secular blog, a writer contrasted a prominent male atheist with a female atheist to examine the differences between a new atheist and an apologist atheist. When I searched for the word “crazy,” it was used seven times in the 26 comments, not appearing once in the actual body of the article, and the word was used in reference only to the female atheist.

Crazy is a word commonly associated with emotion. Since women are stereotyped as being more emotional and emotion is considered irrational, the opposite of what atheists strive to be, and irrationality is lethargic, incorrect, crazy, this makes crazy a convenient word to keep handy in one’s rhetoric. For some women, crazy is one the worst things you can be, like bitchy, slutty, or my personal favorite—bossy.

We need to figure out how to argue against the crazy card, especially when it is used by theists but also when talking among fellow atheists.


The crazy accusation is a form of gaslighting. Telling someone that their feelings or thoughts are incorrect, that they don’t have the right to feel or think a certain way, is a form of manipulation. Minimizing another person’s thoughts is an attempted method to control that person. If that person is no longer able to rely on their own mind, then that person must rely on someone else to determine how they are supposed to feel or think.

Calling someone crazy is a direct attempt to control that person—the way that person thinks or the way that person feels.

I suspect many people do not know what they are implying when calling a woman crazy. It’s an easy card to play. Reflexive, even. People also accept the crazy explanation as adequate without much question. Sometimes, calling a woman crazy is how a person communicates one of the following: “She felt a certain way, and I did not want her to think that way.” or “She was upset about something, and I did not want to deal with it.”

It’s more difficult to use introspection and specific language to communicate the issues at hand. Let’s look at some examples.

Instead of: “Person X is crazy!”
Try: “Person X is a born-again Christian who opposes gay marriage and the study of evolution in the public school system.”

Instead of: “Person Y is crazy!”
Try: “I cut off Person Y in traffic, and Person Y followed me home and shit on my porch.”

Instead of: “Person Z is crazy!”
Try: “I am not voting for Donald Trump.”

What communicates the issue better? What creates a more productive dialogue? The speaker loses nothing by thinking critically about the words used. Furthermore, the speaker’s friends, who might be mentally ill or bipolar or autistic, are less likely to be hurt by the use of specific language. As advocates of rational thinking and skepticism, should we not always attempt to create more productive dialogues?

Crazy is also a highly effective way to argue with a person, because it completely changes the topic at hand. The topic is no longer about what the person is saying. It’s about how the person is saying it. The crazy card redirects the conversation.

To bring this home,

If you want to call someone crazy, don’t. Use introspection and specific language instead.

If you hear another person call someone crazy, be skeptical, and ask them for specific language. Card denied.

If you are called crazy, recognize the speaker’s attempt to control you and redirect the conversation. Do not be persuaded.

I am jealous of these male atheists who are called so many creative derogatory names. I want something of my own. Call me godless. Call me shortsighted, wicked, a hell-bound harlot, Satan’s spokesperson, an arrogant cocksucking heathen, anything but crazy.

Be Reasonable

rally1 - Edited

I am happy to announce that I will be at Reason Rally in June, and I swear that Johnny Depp had little to nothing to do with this decision. I just want to hug Bill Nye. Anyone else interested/attending this year?

Easter Aesthetic: Undead and a Creme-filled Center

Perhaps no other holiday quite creeps me out as much as Easter. While searching online, I have found few accounts of atheists talking about how unpleasant the holiday makes them feel. Surely, I am not alone in this sentiment though? Last year, I was at the American Atheists convention partaking in what some dotingly called “the war on Easter” in downtown Memphis. This year, I am left to my own observations.

Easter, like many holidays in the US, is a compilation of strange traditions, symbols, and origins—dead Jesus, sex goddess, milk chocolate—that have achieved a widely consumer-based bend. If you were to search for how unnerving the holiday is, you would find Buzzfeed articles with photos of people from the 1950’s dressed as white, wild-eyed rabbits holding inscrutable, and other times screaming, children. The thing of nightmares, certainly. The holiday makes me uncomfortable for more conscientious reasons.

For kicks, let’s review the top 5 creepiest Easter sightings I saw in Tennessee this year:

5. Crosses, crosses… everywhere!

Leading up to Easter, theists and churches publicly decorate their yards with crosses, one of the best-known symbols of Christianity, and large-scale representations of the crucifix. Here’s one:


People in the south already have crosses all over the place. While driving down the highway or interstate, in between all the fear-mongering religious billboards, it’s not unusual to see a large cross that spans multiple acres of land. The fanaticism of Easter, however, breeds a whole new superfluous countryside scene. In my hometown, I doubt you can drive five miles without seeing such a display, and even that estimate of five miles is likely too generous.

In an attempted fairness, however, the hundreds of crosses dotting the countryside are appropriate for the holiday. An often overlooked line from the New Testament indicates that not only was Jesus “risen” on that day, so too were thousands of others. It was a good ol’ fashioned zombie walk. One theologian estimated that nearly 12,000 people rose up from their graves and walked the earth, which provoked Christopher Hitchens to make the claim that resurrection was, in fact, “commonplace.”

4. Risen (2016)

To celebrate the holiday this year, some Christians watched Risen, the latest biblical drama on the Hollywood market. It’s no secret that I find religious drama as fascinating and prescriptive as I do equal parts disturbing and insane.


Risen is a film about the resurrection. Some have praised the movie for following a new lead character named Clavius. Spoiler alert: Clavius is a non-believer who gets to see Yeshua’s ascension into heaven. Guess what happens next?

3. Undead Jesus Sings Gospel in Florida

Alongside all the pastel-colored selfies and egg hunt testimonials, I saw several video and audio uploads of Easter church services. (Some churches have sunrise services. That’s dedication!) One of my family friends uploaded a video from his church that featured a congregation of people inside this mega church cathedral. They are watching a musical performance with their arms and hands outstretched above their hands. And the lead of this contemporary gospel group? A dancing Jesus! Baffled by the video, I even messaged this family friend to ask if that was really someone dressed as Jesus dancing on stage and singing into the microphone. His response, unadulterated: “Yes! He HAS Risen!!”

2. Crucified Jesus Cookies

A family favorite?


To stress the absolute cringe-worthy quality of these cookies, if it isn’t already apparent enough, let me say that I actually made these exact cookies when I was a child. I remember making these cookies, not because of their horror or raspberry-jam shortbread tastiness, but because of the downright annoyance of them. The fingers would stick to the cookie cutter if not properly floured and produce these goblin-like elongated atrocities.

1. Indoctrination of Children

The indoctrination of children is one of the most toxic and necessary elements of Christianity and its survival. In my eyes, all the services and child-friendly activities are but another baited hook and cyclic opportunity.


Support Women, Drink Coffee


Happy International Women’s Day, readers! Earlier today, I tweeted about a charity called Grounds for Health, an organization that provides women’s healthcare in Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Peru, and elsewhere. Their program centers on reducing cervical cancer among women in developing, coffee-growing companies.

For awhile, I struggled to promote or donate to charities of any sort. After learning the ins and outs of a powerful and politicizing “charity,” I became more skeptical about the not-for-profit sector. I now meticulously research charities before donating or serving them. Admittedly, my research often leaves me feeling rather bruised. I am particular about which charities I choose to support. (It makes me uncomfortable to support any charity with a religious message or tone, for instance.) I used to have a difficult time convincing myself to support programs that didn’t seem like long-term solutions to certain societal problems or infrastructures, but I have come a long way from that line of thinking.

By focusing only on endgame prescriptivism, I realized I was neglecting the humane core of altruism. Particularly, my thought process was challenged by Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams. We absolutely do need long-term solutions to poverty and global healthcare for women. However, when I choose not to support a charity that is a “short-term” solution rather than a long-term solution, I am forgetting the people who are still trying to live in the short term. I am forgetting the people who are dying from cervical cancer, the people who need to eat, drink clean water, wear shoes, receive medical treatment in the short term. Ignoring the short term while talking about long-term solutions is a conversation one can have from the too comfortable vantage point of privilege. Keep the conversation about the long term alive, but I more often advocate that we leave our leftism at the door and think about people too.

Berning Bright



It has been interesting to watch my more progressive Christian friends excuse Bernie’s lack of apparent religiosity. Some friends have taken to calling him “a spiritual man” instead. Here is one comment a friend posted online:

Each to their own. Trump has the racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, and narrow-minded ignorance and greed that would suit this nation to its demise. But each to their own. Many people probably recognize Bernie Sanders as a passive, tree hugger, atheist, but I have to disagree. He is much more than just some atheist. I am glad to hear from you though, even if it is on political disagreement!

Let the record show that I am just some atheist.

Bernie is not openly atheist. He is openly humanist.

Unless there is some better source stating Bernie’s atheism? I am shamelessly delighted that a video from Jimmy Kimmel Live! is all we have to discuss his religiosity.

All this begs the question: Why are Christian democratic voters excusing his lack of religiosity? In short, atheism has a negative appeal. Supporting an atheist in an election is inconsistent with their worldview, and so they choose instead to simply dismiss the lack of religiosity rather than confront and rationally assess it. It’s much easier to ignore than to an accept someone’s deviance from religiosity. Just ask my parents; they’re experts.

From what I have seen, secular groups are endorsing Bernie. They never quote Bernie as an atheist, but they are apt to quote some of Hillary Clinton’s more religious remarks. For instance, in 2014, during an interview, Hillary said: “At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking. I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it. I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement. [1]” It’s enough to make my skin crawl. Hillary has made anti-extremist statements, but secular groups are painting her with a particular brush at the moment. Humanist groups have also quoted and supported Hillary in the past. Even their social media has taken a dramatic tern for the bern.

No matter who is elected, I imagine atheists can expect to see much of the same congressional ritual, the same Bibles passed along and used as ceremony, just one more token piece of evidence that fanatics cite when claiming that the United States is a “Christian nation.” We in a period of unhealthy nationalism, and we have been here for a long time.

The Meanest Scientist I Ever Knew

Whether I am reading a book on the history of bees or looking at a particular map of the United States, traces of Charles Darwin continue to swell into conversation. For those who have a predilection for visually compelling forms of communication, here is an infographic on Darwin created by Charles Trujillo that has proven to be good reference material as of late:



Last summer, for admittedly the third time, I picked up On the Origin of Species and read it alongside The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. Reading On the Origin of Species wasn’t necessarily a transforming experience, but there are passages that still surface:

“It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.”

When I read Darwin, I found philosophies referencing body positivity and anti-nationalism. Even the perhaps more boring paragraphs of the book did not compare to the outright tediousness of passages in the Old Testament. Tonight, I hope you look at your bodies and smile, because you are the vision of perfection. Or at least, you are in maddening pursuit. Happy Darwin Day, friends!