I spent the weekend at Gateway to Reason in St Louis, and I’m sorry, Iowans, but the worst part of the event was Iowa. I had to drive through it.
It was like Minnesota, only worse. Long drives from nowhere to nowhere through endless tunnels of corn, decorated with anti-choice signs, anti-government signs (Iowa farmers really, really hate the government — they must not get any subsidies at all), pro-Jesus signs, and nothing but Christian/far right talk radio being broadcast. It’s bizarre that this place is the first stop on the presidential campaign trail, and it’s no wonder we’re screwed up if this is the atmosphere of our politics.
It’s a bad sign when you feel relief the instant you cross the border into Missouri.
The conference was excellent. It was very well attended — they filled a large auditorium on the Washington University campus. The talks were diverse, and everything moved smoothly.
The press coverage was surprisingly good, too. That’s a substantial article in the Post Dispatch, and I read the comments: of course there’s the usual small group of know-nothings babbling about atheism being a religion, and of course a few of my chronic harassers show up, but for the most part there are a fair number of commenters being open-minded and expressing an interest in finding out what these atheists are all about.
That’s a good result.