Punk Legends Bad Religion Join Bill Maher, Eddie Izzard & Dozens More For Historic Secular Movement Rally

By Karen Bliss 3/21/12 | www.samaritanmag.com

Some people are vehement about animal rights; others walk miles to raise money for breast cancer research or volunteer at their local homeless shelter. The causes people are passionate about are numerous and wide. This March 24, at the National Mall in Washington DC, legendary California punk band Bad Religion will add its voice to Reason Rally, touted as the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history.

Bad Religion frontman Greg Graffin  -- author of Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God and whose latest album is titled The Dissent Of Man -- will sing the national anthem and the entire band will perform a one-hour set.

As Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz explained in a press release put out by the band's record label Epitaph, "People often ask whether I think music makes a difference; whether it's a force for change.  Bad Religion's invitation to appear at the Reason Rally for me affirms the notion that art has the power to transform social norms, that over the past 30 years our band, through its music and message, has contributed to a real and very positive trend toward secularization." 

The eight-hour event (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) includes more than three-dozen speakers, including comedian/political commentator Bill Maher; comedian Eddie Izzard; author Dr. Richard Dawkins (The God DelusionThe Greatest Show On Earth); Myth Busters co-host Adam Savage; gender equality and human rights activist and author Taslima Nasrin; Nate Phelps, the long estranged son of Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps; and James Randi, creator of The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.

The rally is sponsored by the top secular organizations in the United States and is intended to give secular Americans an opportunity to unite under a banner of "reason and community," at a level never seen before. 

Said Graffin in a statement: "We thought it was a good gathering of people who want to stress that reason should characterize the citizenry of this country, not affiliation with some religious group or socioeconomic stratum or any other criterion besides the willingness to engage in reasonable debate that is informed by rational knowledge. All I've ever heard from fans -- and that includes parents and their kids alike -- is that they have been inspired to learn more and care more by listening to our music. I think therefore, that the Reason Rally--like Bad Religion--can be very inspirational."

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