Thousands of atheists and nonbelievers will gather Saturday on the National Mall in Washington for the Reason Rally, a daylong event featuring speakers, music and comedy to promote secular values.
The goal of the event is to "unify, energize and embolden secular people nationwide," said Jesse Galef, a Reason Rally spokesman.
"For this many of us to come together is hopefully a sign of things to come," Galef said. "Greater organization, greater cooperation and greater awareness nationally of who we are."
Organization and participation within the secular movement is growing. Atheists held their first mass gathering on the National Mall in 2002, with "The Godless March on Washington," an event that attracted 2,000 participants, according to news reports at the time. As many as 30,000 people are expected to attend this year's event.
The growing visibility mirrors the growth of secular Americans overall. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 15 percent of American adults identify as having no religion -- up from 8.1 percent in 1990.