It’s only logical that veteran L.A. punk band Bad Religion would be chosen as the musical headliner for Saturday’s Reason Rally in Washington, D.C., an event being billed as “the largest secular event in world history.”
Bad Religion has long railed in its music against superstition, prejudice and the kind of divisive factionalism that’s deeply entrenched in the American political system. When he’s not touring or recording with the long-running punk group, lead singer Greg Graffin, author of the book “Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God,” lectures on evolution at Cornell University, where he received a PhD in zoology.
“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,” Graffin said in a statement issued Wednesday. “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.”
The band will appear with comedians Eddie Izzard and Tim Minchin, comedian-talk-show host Bill Maher, author Richard Dawkins, “MythBusters” co-host Adam Savage and other speakers during the daylong gathering at the National Mall. The mission, as outlined on the Reason Rally website, is “to unify, energize, and embolden secular people nationwide, while dispelling the negative opinions held by so much of American society… and having a damn good time doing it!”
The rally is being sponsored by a coalition of more than a dozen secular organizations, including the United Coalition of Reason, the Secular Student Alliance, the Society for Humanistic Judaism, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the National Atheist Party.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo: Bad Religion in 2010, from left, Jay Bentley (seated), Brooks Wackerman, Greg Hetson, Brian Baker, Brett Gurewitz (seated) and Greg Graffin. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times.