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The Atheists

"don't mess with religion!"
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Read Time 4 min
Published 9 years ago
Raphe Gillet's atheist based stand up tour, "Down with Godders", sold out in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US where several shows were subject to vehement heckling.

Roland Dawson's collection of Atheist essays, "Religion vs Citizenship", became a best seller across the English speaking world and was quickly being translated into a number of other major languages.

This double pronged attack pierced the god fearing world and the media attention which followed knew no precedent.

Current atheists had found a crutch. Nervous agnostics took the final step to shed their theist chains. Some of the previously most pious believers and preachers fell from their pulpits.

Filled with new vigour, atheist groups advertised meetings on Twitter and Facebook and gathered in bars and cafes.

At first, the meetings were social. People could eat pork and tell funny anecdotes and highlight the contradictions of religions.

Then the talk became more serious. They discussed the roles of religion in government. They grumbled about religion impeding their freedom of speech. They vented the injustice of having to cater for religious rituals. Why should they have to work weekends just because the Christians and the Jews demand Sundays and Saturdays off? Why do the Muslims get an extra hour off for prayer on a Friday?

Some of the more animated in the groups supported Gillet's call for action. They wanted to lobby for equal rights so that atheists weren't used to take up the slack left by theists at work. They wanted to have the right to publically criticise religion without being accused of bigotry. They wanted the right to draw a picture of Allah or Mohamed if they wanted to - not that they would.

The less vocal agreed with Dawson's view that simply leading by example would gradually show the believers that religion wasn't necessary to be a good citizen and that the two don't go hand in hand.

As a result, the meetings separated. The Dawsonists tended to meet in smaller numbers and the tone remained tolerant and light hearted, or cowardly as the Gilletists would deride.

The Gilletists meetings grew in popularity so that they needed to hire venues. To fund this, members gladly donated the recommended amount. In the earlier meetings this was used to hire Raphe Gillet to speak at the meetings.

He didn't say as much because he was glad of the publicity - the demand for his DVDs was exceeding production - but he felt that the gatherings were taking on a kind of militant undertone.

Because of their broadcasts on social media, the details and the content of the meetings were no secret and soon, religious groups gathered to protest outside the venues. This led to clashes with the Giletists and eventually the meetings called for a police presence.

One newspaper reported that a couple, on their way home from a Dawsonists meeting in Philadelphia, had been brutally beaten by a religious group and were in critical condition.

On Facebook, a global 'Atheist Day' was announced and local atheist community leaders organised their particular activities.

On the day, the demonstrations were heavily policed. Their attendance exceeded expectation and organisers feared that things might get beyond their control.

TV stations across the world focused their lenses on the larger gatherings. New York's Times Square accommodated some hundred and fifty thousand seated demonstrators swaying in harmony to John Lennon's, 'Imagine'. London's Trafalgar Square bulged with a similar number standing and singing their own particular anthem, 'Your God's a Fucking Wanker".

The numbers of believers of all faiths, protesting on the periphery grew and eventually the police numbers were impotent. The violence brought city centres to a stand still as Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hare Krishnas united in arms against their common enemy. Burning images of Gillet and Dawson lay crumpled on the ground as national guards were called to disperse the crowds.

In Los Angeles, Raphe Gillet was woken up by chanting and shouting. The angry crowd amassed in the distance at his house's perimeter were forced to squint as the midday sun reflected celestially off his pristine, white pyjamas as he stepped onto the balcony.

As he tried to make sense of the scene before him he raised his arms outstretched before him. The crowd fell silent in anticipation of his response.

"What the fuck ....?" he said.

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