When I was thinking about what the rally would be like, I expected there to be a lot hostility around, both within the rally (a lot of arrogant atheists saying things about how stupid Christians are and feeling really superior about it) and from religious protestors. Much to my amazement, there has been very little hostility of any kind.
The rally itself has had a very positive feel overall. The messages of most of the speakers have been inspiring and while they exclude those who have religion as a decision making force in their lives, the messages have been inclusive to all types of atheism/agnostitism and the general idea has been to band together to be a force of change and good in the world. The message has not been “we’re better than everyone else” (no matter how many of us might think that, har har).
In addition, the protestors have been really peaceful.
For every one protestor with a generic “Jesus Loves You” sign, there are 10 secularists crowded around them engaging in intelligent conversation. There’s not a lot of yelling or “you’re going to hell” or “you’re all fools” or any of that. I am impressed.
Not to say that punches are being pulled. People are saying lots of true things to a lot of supportive people. The speakers are making the point that critical thinking and reason should be the norm and that religion hinders the progress of that in children and adults.
It’s a beautiful thing.