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Thousands of young men and boys began streaming into Stagg Stadium at 7 AM on Saturday morning to attend another media-slick “Promise Keepers” pitch. Despite going bankrupt last year, the PKs are back again with their same threatening plans to control women, families and governments.

Outnumbered about a thousand to 1, just 20 stalwart Atheists stood bravely across from the entrance to protest those dangerous PK goals.

In contrast to the lockstep young male PKs, Atheists were delightfully varied -- young and old, male and female, from San Francisco, San Jose, Redding, Modesto, Stockton and even Oregon. Atheists carried signs, passed out flyers, waved to traffic, and chatted with passersby. There was no violence, and Stockton police were most cooperative.

During the 4-hour demonstration, hundreds of PKs walked directly in front of the Atheists. Many took flyers, and several stopped to chat or argue. Some sang hymns loudly as they passed, a few offered prayers, and many others said “God Bless You” and kept walking. One man called himself a “former Atheist” but spent most of his morning agreeing with the Atheists. Another PK never made it to the PK meeting at all but spent the whole morning debating one Atheist after another. Some passing drivers provided very un-godly obscenities, gestures and threats to the Atheists, as was expected.

But the public clearly was not completely taken in by the PK message. A surprisingly large number of drivers cheered the Atheists, stopped to take literature, expressed fear of the PK threats, and shared stories about their own Atheism.

Once again, a small group of Atheists made a major impact, assuring local citizens, PK members and leaders that the dark threats and dangerous fantasies of the Promise Keepers will not go unchallenged.

Sample Atheist signs at the demonstration:

Keep your promises to yourself
Keep cults out of government
Democracy, not theocracy
Atheist and proud
No medieval government
Question authority
State-Church Separation Keepers
Love the Christians - Hate the Ignorance
Don't keep women off the team
Hell is full of Christians - They invented it

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