Are Reason Rallies Analogous to KKK Rallies?

Victor Reppert links to an article at the Catholic League website entitled, “Atheist Rally Draws Haters.” Reppert writes:

OK, as Ricky Ricardo would say, splain. Explain to me the difference between this and a KKK rally, other than the fact that, primarily, Christians were the targets, as opposed to Blacks and Jews.

Because I have so much respect for Reppert as a philosopher, I find it hard to believe he cannot tell the difference between a KKK rally and a Reason Rally. If I didn’t know him better, I would assume his post as a “troll.”

I did not attend the Reason Rally, so I am basing my comments solely upon the Catholic League’s report.

What are the similarities between KKK rallies and a Reason Rally? Let’s see:

  • They both have the word “Rally” in their name.

Here are the differences:

  • The KKK committed acts of violence against African Americans and Jews, whereas none of the organizations involved with the Reason Rally have ever committed violence against Christians. 
  • If memory serves me correct, the KKK opposed court rulings and/or legislation which supported racial equality. None of the atheist organizations at the Reason Rally suggest  that Christians should have less rights than non-Christians, much less than atheists.

It also interesting that, for the most part, the Catholic League article mainly describes what some atheists wrote on their signs; given the Catholic League’s purpose, it is safe to assume that the Catholic League focused on what it considered the most extreme signs. It’s far from obvious the signs mentioned by the Catholic League are even representative of all the atheists who attended. (For the record, I disagree the sign mentioned in the third paragraph of the article.) Also, with the exception of a very brief paragraph about Richard Dawkins, the Catholic League said nothing about the content of the speakers at the Reason Rally.

Probably the most accurate thing the Catholic League has to complain about is the overall tendency to mock or ridicule religious beliefs and the people who hold them. I disagree with the so-called “new atheists” about this. Not only is it adversarial, I don’t think mockery and ridicule is an effective public relations strategy for a minority group who is already viewed negatively by a large segment of the population.

Returning to Reppert’s post, none of this justifies the comparison to KKK rallies, however.