What Can Atheists Look Forward to in 2012?

These are the big things that come to my mind. What would you change or add to the list?

1) The Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. on March 24th.

With a large roster of speakers already (and hopefully bigger names to come), this has the potential of being the largest gathering of atheists in our history. Hopefully, the media — and politicians — will take notice.

2) The Books.

There will be books coming out by Herb Silverman, David Niose, Darrel Ray, and Sam Harris.

I’m especially excited about the release of PZ Myers‘ book The Happy Atheist: Dancing on the Graves of the Gods. Mostly, I’m curious how it’ll appeal to a wider audience, how his own blogosphere dominance will translate to book sales, and if his book will make him as well-known to the general public as the other “New Atheists.”

And what about the women writers? As far as I can tell, there are no big releases planned for any of the prominent female atheists. Is that because publishers just aren’t taking a chance on them? Is it just coincidence that none of them happen to be writing books this year (including self-published ones)? Or did I just miss a press release somewhere along the line…?

(Incidentally, Susan Jacoby is working on a book called Conversions: A Secular History but there’s no word on a release date just yet.)

3) Rock Beyond Belief at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on March 31st.

After having to cancel the event due to restrictions by military officials last year, Sgt. Justin Griffith is trying again and this time he has the media on his side. Richard Dawkins will be the keynote speaker and this marks the first time (as far as I know) that military atheists will be honored for their contributions in an event of this magnitude.

4) The Conferences.

These happen every year, but they only seem to get larger and better as time passes.

Some of the notable events include:

5) The elections.

No matter who the Republican nominee ends up being, you can bet that religion will play a significant role in the elections. Will atheists be able to vote as some sort of bloc and be taken seriously? Will politicians support church/state separation? Will any openly non-theistic candidates be elected to public office?

As our numbers grow and more people come out, impacting elections has to be one of our movement’s long term goals.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • M Vanroy

    Obama and whoever wins the GOP nomination will at least claim to be a Christian. I can see voting as an atheist block if someone like Perry or Bachmann or Santorum gets the nomination but that looks unlikely.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    I can’t imagine who I would vote for if I were a republican, every candidate is as bad as the other. Thankfully I’m English so I don’t have to make any choices in this election. 

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

      PM Cameron isn’t much better.

      • Gordon Duffy

        He isn’t really elected either.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

          He is elected “indirectly”.

  • http://www.christianfighterpilot.com/blog JD

    After getting canceled by military officials last year…

    That statement is demonstrably false.  Even RBB organizers admit THEY, not the military, canceled the event on their own.

    http://christianfighterpilot.com/blog/2011/03/04/rock-beyond-belief-cancelled-weinstein-promises-lawsuit/

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Fair point.  RBB organizers canceled it on their own but not because they wanted to.  I’ve updated the post to reflect that.

    • Dan

      RBB organizers had to cancel it because the military was dishonest about what RBB would get for support and accommodations; they drastically cut from what they had promised (and what they gave for a Billy Graham rally), leaving RBB unable to put on the show they were planning.

      Incidently, JD (“Christian Fighter Pilot”) is a well known bully and supporter of denying free religious expression to non-Christians in the military, as well as supporting using the military to proselytize for evangelical Christian fundamentalism. He doesn’t support the Constitution, which he pledged to defend, so I wouldn’t trust much of what his blog says. Chris Rodda has a post about him titled “Atheist Army Sergeant Unleashes on the Bully Known as JD the Christian Fighter Pilot” over at her blog This Week in Christian Fundamentalism, on the Freethought Blog network. 

    • Rich Wilson

      The Soviet Union didn’t invade Afghanistan either.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

        Nor did the United States.

        • Rich Wilson

          Not sure if you mean the U.S.S.R. didn’t invade the U.S.A. or the U.S.A didn’t invade Afghanistan.

          The difference between the Soviet and US ‘activity’ in Afghanistan, is that the Soviets were asked to assist the government to oppose a revolution.  Of course that was a technicality, since the government that did the asking was a puppet put in place by the Soviet Union.  But from a pure semantic point, it wasn’t an invasion.  The US wasn’t asked to enter the country (by anyone in the country), they just invaded.

          The difference is really semantic, kind of like the semantics around who actually cancelled RBB

          [edit now I read that again, I'm not sure why I was confused. Seems pretty clear you mean the US didn't invade Afghanistan]

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

      I think you’re right. They cancelled because their 
      proposed rally had limitations placed on it that the 
      fundie rally didn’t.

  • Luther Weeks

    For sure it will be mainstream to ask Presidential candidates about religion and perhaps we will have debates on whose God is more real.

    But a debate on science including candidates views on global warming, stem cells, nuclear waste, evolution, star wars etc., unlikely.

  • http://donaldmorton.wordpress.com/ Donald Morton

    Don’t forget Skepticon in Springfield, MO. Over 1100 people were in attendance last year!

    http://skepticon.org/ 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Updated. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    One thing I’m looking forward to in 2012 is the end of the year.  It’s not that I’m particularly pessimistic about the months ahead. Just the opposite, in fact. With all the predictions of the world ending in 2012, I’m looking forward to 2013 so we have another reason to point and laugh at the ignorant imbeciles making these claims.

  • Anonymous

    I still don’t take Republican politicians’ religiosity seriously. They can say all the bad things they want about atheists; but they still offer to cut our taxes, deregulate our businesses and let us buy all the guns & ammo they want, and they’ll certainly accept our votes and campaign contributions.

    This shows that they don’t really consider us dangerous.

    Regarding the appearance of new books about atheism, the trend supports my view that “atheism” doesn’t mean some mysterious void in the universe called “non belief in gods,” analogous to “non stamp collecting,” but rather that people understand the term to mean something like, “criticism or skepticism of theism and related beliefs.” By extension, “atheists” mean “critics or skeptics of theism, etc.” Otherwise we would experience “atheists” as mysterious holes in reality with borders shaped like human bodies.

  • downtown dave

    One of the opportunities atheist have to look forward to this year is that it is still the year of the Lord’s favor.  As the song goes, “There is still room for one.”  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

    • BinaryStar

      I don’t want to curry favor from a genocidal, bigoted (against certain members of his own supposed creation, no less!), capricious egomaniac. Thanks but no thanks, troll.

    • JimG

      And what a coincidence: The all-powerful, all-knowing Lord of the Universe just happens to have EXACTLY the same likes and dislikes that you do! Amazing how that works out, innit?

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the link to the parody site. It’s a hoot! Reads just like something written by superstitious, closed-minded, bigoted fundies.

      But, whoever does that site could do better by including more grammatical errors, spelling errors, and random use of capitalization. Sure, it’s already stupid, but that would make it appear more authentically fundified.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    Alstefanelli.com has a recent update of the Rock Beyond Belief
    participants. An impressive group,indeed.

    ( That July Las Vegass gathering looks good,too.)

  • Godless Lobbyist

    The day before Reason Rally is the Lobby Day for Reason being hosted by the Secular Coalition for America. This is a free opportunity for all secular and nontheistic Americans to come and learn lobbying skills and then help flood Capitol Hill in record numbers as we visit Congressional offices! See secular.org.

  • mkb

    I’m looking forward to a summer of Camp Quests from sea to shining sea.

  • Stephanie

    It says the FFRF convention is in Portland, OR, but the link says Hartford, Conn. What a bummer, I thought I would be close this year :(

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Last year’s FFRF con was in Hartford, but the 2012 one will be in Portland!

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

        I suggested to them they rotate their conventions every three years between NYC , Chicago, and LA.The attendance and media coverage would be huge. Let the ‘small towners’ combine it with a vacation.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    It looks like Dale McGowan has a new book coming out in August:

    http://www.amazon.com/Voices-Unbelief-Documents-Atheists-Agnostics/dp/1598849786

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      It’s true! I didn’t include it here because it’s more of a reference book than one for the general public.

  • Dan W

    2012 looks to be an interesting year. I’d love to go to the Reason Rally, but don’t know if I’ll be busy that day or not yet. Even if I can’t attend, I’m sure there will be lots of blog posts and videos of it to see.

    Also you forgot to mention the moronic Dec 21, 2012 end-of-the-world nonsense. I’ve already encountered some Christians online who think Jesus is coming back then. I look forward to mocking this silliness when the world once again fails to end as predicted.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I’ll be at the Reason Rally, probably standing near the big elm tree. Look for me and say hello!  I’ll be wearing my hat!

    I’ll be at the American Atheists National Convention in Bethesda the Sunday and Monday after the Rally, probably standing near the coffee. Look for me and say hello!  I’ll be wearing my hat!

    I’ll be giving an astronomy presentation for the kids at Camp Quest Southern California in July, probably standing next to my telescope. Look for me and say hello!  I’ll be wearing my hat!

  • Dylan Blaine

    I can’t wait untill the “end of the world” takes place. Religions will SO stupid.

  • Dylan Blaine

    I can’t wait until this “end of the world” garbage takes place. Religions will look SO stupid.


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