Most of them seemed
genuinely curious about us, many of them saying they had never met anyone
like us. Only a few PKs got very excited and irate. The vast majority of them
were polite and reserved. But a few of the varied dialogues got heated.
Security kept a very watchful eye, stationing at least a dozen uniformed and
plain-clothes officers nearby. Our people were the center of a great deal of
attention. By 1:00pm several PKs were telling the PKs arguing with us that it
was time to go back inside. Most said a polite good-bye, and turned to go
back inside, but many PKs stayed and lingered with us. I met several very
kind and curious PKs. I shook several hands and exchanged many smiles. Our
people all made a point of being positive about our protest, and I think the
PKs noticed that. The only time I heard anyone saying the Atheists were angry
people, was when the loudest PK was getting a little angry himself. His
co-horts seemed to ignore him, until his veins were becoming more visible.
Thankfully, since we were surrounded by a great number of them, no incidents
too place. By 2:00pm, the vast majority of PKs had gone inside again, and we
were all hoarse and tired. I had no idea they were going to have their lunch
in the parking lot of the arena right when were were going to be there, but
because of that, it worked out perfectly.
As is usual for most of our PK pickets, our group was a loose coalition of a
few groups interested in opposing the PKs. Among the groups represented were
National Organization For Women, Witches of the American Revolution (WAR), PK
Resistance, and an Interfaith Coalition. Yes, the conversations with the PKs
were as diverse they could be.
At this PK Picket, I'm confident that every single PK learned of our picket
one way or another. It was estimated that there were about 20,000 PK there,
and our picket was all the rage to them. I'm convinced that our message got
to them all. Everyone in our group seemed to really enjoy the picket, and I
know many of the PKs did too. The only problem I'd say we had was that only
one person from the media showed up. That person didn't seem to want to hang
out either, because I never got a chance to talk to them. At least the media
was alerted, and they may mention it in reports about the conference. High on
my list of priorities: we all had fun. :)
Some of the picket signs we used include:
Keep Religion a Choice, Not a Law
Liberate PK Wives
These heads don't bow, these knees don't bend.
One Nation Under the Constitution
Keep Cults Out of Government
PK ~ Cult! Cult!
Atheist and Proud
Religion Is Myth Information
Born Again Atheist
We got some great photos, and we'll post them online soon. I'd like to thank
Ellen Johnson for coaching me through the organizing and headache stages
involved in this picket. I'd also like to thank Dave Silverman, Ed Gauci, Ron
Barrier, and Conrad Goeringer for helping me get the word out. A big thanks
to everyone who came out. Also, thanks to the NJ ACLU, and the staff at the
Meadowlands for helping make this possible. Next NJ event: Winter Solstice
Brunch, Somerville, NJ, December 19, 2020.
E-mail Joe Zamecki at: AAJoeyJr@aol.com for details.
Union County, NJ Atheists,
© 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by American Atheists.