PREVIEW: Reason Rally Mini-Con Offers a la Carte Menu of Speakers in More Intimate Setting

On Sunday June 5th, a group of leaders, scholars, and activists in the secular community will come together to present a mini-convention, as part of the Reason Rally in Washington DC.

George-Hrab-Broad-Street-Score-portraitThe day is shaping up to be a wonderful tribute to scientific and free thought. Hosted by multi-talented podcaster George Hrab, there is sure to be an air of wit weaved throughout. Representing secularism in positive, practical and awe-inspiring ways is the aim of the day, and it will include fascinating speakers and panel members such as Lawrence Krauss, Julia Sweeney, Maryam Namazie, Dave Silverman, Annabelle Gurwitch, and many more. They will all be there to discuss the virtues of humanism, science, education, and of maintaining a secular society.

The speakers at the Reason Rally’s mini-convention will be covering a wide range of subjects and will focus on the importance and value of secular life. The day will feature experts and their first hand accounts of how to apply secularism and free thought to many aspects of life — matters such as: how to become a celebrant, media tips, defending secularism, and taking on the Religious Right in courthouses and schools. Religion has long been a dominant voice, but talks such as these can help to broaden minds as well as position secularists for success.

https---img.evbuc.com-http%3A%2F%2Fcdn.evbuc.com%2Fimages%2F18884351%2F164164569842%2F1%2Foriginal.jpg?rect=0%2C0%2C800%2C400&s=84b46ff49f321d8ffcb2985de96a76e2The mini-con starts at 10am and has a single lineup in the Grand Ballroom of the Washington Court Hotel until after lunch.  The morning lineup includes a presentation by Sunday Assembly, a celebrity panel from the previous day’s main rally, and a conversation with Annabelle Gurwitch and Barbara Ehrenreich.

I think the best thing about this mini-con is that beginning shortly after 1pm, attendees will be able to pick and choose which speakers and workshops they attend among five different conference rooms in the hotel operating simultaneously.  One of the interesting things about this is that each lineup tends to have its own theme, seemingly providing something for everyone.

The Grand Ballroom will host two panel discussions with some prominent and famous names in secularism. The Springwood 1 room will have talks from leaders of three of the largest secular advocacy organizations: AHA, FFRF, and American Atheists.  Springwood 2 will host speakers focused on presenting secularism and humanism in a positive way, especially in regards to children and young adults. Speakers will include leaders from Camp Quest, Young Skeptics, and Secular Student Alliance. The Hermitage room doesn’t seem to carry a theme, but has a great lineup as well, including CFI, how to become a celebrant, and A Better Life panel discussion.

Once the breakouts are completed, the keynote will be delivered by Bonya Ahmed, widow of atheist blogger and activist Avjit Roy. This should be a fascinating insight into the non-acceptance of free thought in places such as Bangladesh, where non-believers are punished with prison and in her husband’s case, death.

The mini-convention will be interactive and is set to open minds and broaden world views. The main purpose of the day is to prepare those who attend to head back out into the world with the tools to spread positive messages of free-thought, skepticism and sound knowledge to others. All speakers will demonstrate that secular lives have both value and purpose.

Tickets for the Reason Rally Mini-Convention are still available here.  Will you be there? Let us know in the comments!

About Jenny Mason
  • Dr. Stephen Anthony Blount

    Are there only two perspectives? Creationism or evolution! Both limitations are exclusive of other possibilities.

    • http://twitter.com/jennymasonrocks jenny mason (@jennymasonrocks)

      The other perspective is agnosticism, I would say there is a spectrum of belief – one end is having faith in a God, who has purposely created humankind. On the other end is scientific belief, and accepting Darwin’s theory, that we have evolved. Whatever sparked the big bang is another question entirely. There is also the difference between Deism and Theism. A Deist believes God simply created the Universe and stood back, no intervention. Saying God must have done it, because we don’t know is to jump to a big conclusion.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

      I suppose it depends on what you mean by “only two perspectives.” Scientifically speaking, there is only one overwhelmingly accepted theory regarding the origin of species, and that’s evolution. If we’re talking about belief systems, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of mythical tales regarding the creation of the universe and everything in it. Only one stance is grounded in actual empirical evidence though, so it just depends on whether or not one wants to live in reality or not.