SEATTLE – Hundreds of people are gathering in Seattle this weekend to hear a strong message about faith – but no one in the audience believes in God.
The crowd of nonbelievers packed a downtown ballroom for the Freedom From Religion Convention.
The convention is sponsored by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a national group of more than 16,000 people who say faith in God is waste of time.
“Most of our members are atheists and agnostics who find the Bible to be ludicrous and dangerous, and we should say so in a free society,” said Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. “Why not say that?”
And they have been saying it all over town with bus boards that say, “Yes, Virginia, there is no God.” The signs are not just anti-Christmas, but anti-Christ.
“We all have our point of view, and we think other people are wrong, and we would like to say they are wrong, but it’s a respectful was of saying it,” says Barker.
The opening speaker at the Freedom From Religion event was radio host Ron Reagan – son of former President Ronald Reagan.
But Mary Larson, a Christian, says, “I just pray for them. I’m a big believer, so I can’t imagine not believing.”
Larson is staying at the same hotel, and she says the anti-religion bus boards go too far.
“Wow … I can’t even imagine that,” she says. “I’m a Christian, I totally believe in God. I wouldn’t be here, but for the grace of God. It just breaks my heart.”
Freedom from Religion says its biggest mission is to watchdog government, to keep religion out of law-making.
“With less religion, less God, less belief, there’s more opportunity for morality, more opportunity for knowledge, more opportunity for true human value,” Barker says.
But he’ll never convince Larson, who says, “I believe that the foundation of our country was built on God and the Christian values.”
Even though there are some things Christians and nonbelievers will never agree on, there is consensus on one issue, as Heather Oslin points out.
“I don’t agree with (the atheists) obviously because I’m a Roman Catholic. But in this country, that’s the beauty of this country, we allow it,” she says.
In other words, allow people to put their faith in God – or man.