Heard on the Hill

Secularism Supporters Speaking Out

Sen. Tom Harkin will air a video welcome for a secularism rally on the National Mall next week despite being a Catholic. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Beware, y’all. The National Mall will be getting all kinds of godless next week. Secularist groups will make like a revival March 24 on the nation’s front lawn with speeches and music to rally support for, well, secularism.

The groups behind the rally include American Atheists, American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance of America, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, Secular Student Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, Society for Humanistic Judaism and Washington Area Secular Humanists.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) will also mug for the cause — sort of.

“Just like the rest of his colleagues in Congress, Sen. Harkin, a lifelong Catholic, strongly endorses the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech,” Harkin spokeswoman Kate Cyrul tells HOH. “It was out of this conviction that he agreed to the invitation to send a video welcome to those exercising their constitutional right on the National Mall.”

Here’s an excerpt from the video: “This is Sen. Tom Harkin, and I welcome all of you to Washington. I also welcome you to our National Mall, which has hosted so many historic events, including the 1913 women’s suffrage march and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s great march for jobs and freedom in 1963. On the Mall, we celebrate America’s amazing diversity of ideas, beliefs and, yes, disbeliefs.

“We also celebrate the freedom, tolerance, nondiscrimination and right of dissent that are enshrined in our Constitution  — that define us as Americans and as a truly free people,” he continues.

“That is why, I welcome to the Mall all of my fellow Americans, including those who reject my beliefs — or indeed, those who reject all religious faith.”

Stark, on the other hand, is Congress’ only acknowledged atheist.

The Democratic lawmakers will join author Richard Dawkins, comedian Paul Provenza and the band Bad Religion, among others.

Somewhere out there, Christopher Hitchens is very, very happy.