With the American Atheists

I’m in Des Moines for the weekend, at the American Atheists national convention! I was born in Des Moines but only lived here for a few weeks, but it seems to have worked hard in the interim to impress me for my triumphant 20-years-later return. Beautiful downtown, same-sex marriage, atheist convention…

The great thing about this con is that there are about 700 people in attendance (as of Friday night) — I’ve been able to actually meet a lot of big names in the online atheist community. Last night I was talking to a gentleman and realized it was Darrel Ray (author of The God Virus); today I attended PZ Myers‘ talk on positive atheism, and was mildly disappointed that the crotchety, vitriolic, militant polemicist is really a nice soft-spoken older guy who I want as an adoptive grandfather. Tomorrow I swear to God(!) I’ll get all fanboy with Matt Dillahunty.

And for comic relief, there are of course the protesters. The last thing you want to do at an atheist convention is to announce at the end of a session, “There is a provocative fundamentalist Christian protesting outside, DO NOT GO TALK TO HIM.” This means that half of the attendees will rush outside until Jesus returns.

To be fair, the protesters basically made our case for us…

A couple protesters outside the American Atheists convention

"Women should not be allowed to vote"? How very retro of you.

My only regret is I don’t have a picture of the sign that says “Godly men do not have long hair.” Especially a picture featuring the dreadlocked guy who went to stand next to him. I’m not sure if it was he or I who the protester called a lesbian, but he went on about sodomites, too, so me and my rainbow wrist band were pretty well covered.

And what do you know? Jesus really did come again:

Jesus standing under the "You KNOW it's a Myth" banner

And Jesus put on a really good show, too, especially considering he followed up an appearance last night by George W. Bush — both of whom appeared courtesy of the excellent comedian Troy Conrad!

Incidentally, next year’s American Atheists convention won’t be placed so provocatively on Easter weekend; it’ll instead coincide with the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. (date TBD). Depending on when that is, I and the other attendees from UNO’s Secular Student Alliance are gunning for a road trip. :D

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  • Comments (3)
    • Ju
    • April 24th, 2011

    Sounds like a good time! I would have gone with you if I could. :)

    • Chris
    • April 25th, 2011

    I have a present for you.

    Now, you have no regrets. :)

    Sincerely,
    “the dreadlocked guy”

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