In Pennsylvania, the PA Nonbelievers have reserved space in front of the Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg this Sunday to hold their own 10th Anniversary Remembrance of 9/11.
Featured speakers include David Silverman, president of American Atheists, and Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. Silverman will address the actions of the passengers of Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, while Torpy will speak on the ethical dilemma of the wars resulting from 9/11. Additionally, local and regional guest speakers will talk generally about 9/11 from a rational and atheistic viewpoint.
For anyone concerned, this isn’t supposed to be a forum to push atheism or bash religion — and it would be counterproductive if anyone tried to use it for either of those things. It’s just giving voice to some atheists’ perspectives of the tragic events.
Justin Vacula spoke with Silverman about what he plans to talk about:
Silverman notes that the actions of Americans, especially those who combated the hijackers of Flight 93, rather than their prayers, made all the difference on 9/11 and, incidentally, it was religion in the first place, Silverman says, that was “the conduit for 9/11.” Silverman, when reflecting on Islam in the wake of 9/11, says that this 9/11 remembrance event will be a great chance for atheists to speak to ‘moderate Muslims’ and also notes that “people have to own what their religions do.”
While the Bible and Koran are full of calls for violence against people who disagree with what’s written in them, I hope Dave makes clear that most people who follow those faiths have no problem repudiating the extremists and dismissing the worst parts of their holy books. We can always use more moderates on our side and we can call them dishonest for cherry-picking which parts of their holy books they follow. But we can’t ignore that just about every church and mosque around the country renounce what the extremists in their midst do.