Ray Comfort’s Plan to Evangelize to Atheists at the Reason Rally Has Been Thwarted

May 31, 2016

By Hemant Mehta

I know all of you were very excited to see Ray Comfort at the upcoming Reason Rally. He announced last month that he would be training hundreds of Christians to preach at (and hopefully convert) atheists, adding that he would give away 5,000 copies of his new book and $25,000 worth of Subway gift cards.

Sad news: It won’t be happening anymore. At least not with the 1,000+ Christians who had already registered for the event.

“To the D.C. police,” Comfort reported, “that constituted a protest and therefore we needed a permit to gather. We would have to stay at the other end of the National Mall, and they said that if we persisted to approach atheists to speak with them we would be arrested.”

The best-selling author then decided to cancel the outreach event, though they would still be filming at the Washington Monument. He added, “Our crew is only 17 people, so we don’t need a permit if we go there as individuals. The Reason Rally is free and open to the public, so if any other groups of individuals show up on their own initiative they won’t need a permit either or be arrested if they approach atheists.”

The idea here is that atheists have the space reserved. So if Christians want to oppose the event as an organized group, the police can require them to follow certain rules.


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61 comments on “Ray Comfort’s Plan to Evangelize to Atheists at the Reason Rally Has Been Thwarted

  • @OP – He announced last month that he would be training hundreds of Christians to preach at (and hopefully convert) atheists

    Ah! The self-deluding wish-thinking of evangelising faith-thinkers!

    Converting educated atheist to states of ignorance, is a rather challenging task, but the profoundly ignorant would be totally unaware of this, due to their lack of understanding of what they do not know about reason, evidence, science or history!
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  • From above:

    The Reason Rally is free and open to the public, so if any other groups of individuals show up on their own initiative they won’t need a permit either or be arrested if they approach atheists.”

    This is worrisome. If these brainwashed proselytizers show up in high numbers and start hassling atheists at the rally I really don’t think this will go well. The strategy is dishonest. They don’t like the rules that are set up for very good reason and so they will use a sneaky tactic because they intend to push their agenda on us no matter what the authorities decide.

    Sneaky troublemakers have a talent for knowing where the line is between free speech and incitement. They walk right up to that line and lean over it. I really hope there won’t be trouble there this Saturday.
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  • This is nothing to do with converting atheists. It’s all about rallying the depressed troops of the believers. It is a public relations exercise to show the “faithful” that the battle is engaged and with creative editing will convince them that it is being won. Expect a planted convert or two saying that a Damascene recognition of the snot dripping from Comfort’s nose, proved the existence of god beyond any doubt. Halleleulia!
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  • The Controversial Poster Philoctetes #4
    Jun 1, 2016 at 7:57 am

    It is a public relations exercise to show the “faithful” that the battle is engaged and with creative editing will convince them that it is being won.

    As giving reasoned answers to ranting faith-head hecklers, is a waste of time, speakers should have a ready prepared list of comic put-downs of expected chants!

    (You know: “Jesus saves” – * but [insert name of local football star] scores on the rebound!* Jesus saves” *but gets a very poor return on the contributions of the faithful, at current interest rates. etc.)
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  • Stephen of Wimbledon

    I’m going to the R. Rally on Saturday and I’m happy to know that these people may be mingling in the crowd. At least I won’t be taken by surprise. I deal better with deluded ranters if I can prepare myself in advance that this is the situation that will take place. It’s useful information.
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  • Hi LaurieB [#7],

    I suppose that’s fair enough.

    Personally I’d welcome the opportunity to try out some Street Epistemology. Your so lucky in the States you have so many to choose from – and now they’re coming to find you too!

    Talk about an easy life.

    Peace.
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  • I wish someone would pretend to be converted so that Ray gets all excited and then it turns out to be a hoax. Poor old Ray. He should go and visit Ken. Help build that ark. I hope he know show to operate a crane or pour concrete though!
    lol
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  • I am going to take the bible and every one if I can. I need starter paper for my fireplace.
    Some one at the rally should offer to take the bibles for a discount for their book?
    And I could surely use the Safeway gift certificate.
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  • Stephen of Wimbledon #11

    Personally I’d welcome the opportunity to try out some Street Epistemology. Your so lucky in the States you have so many to choose from – and now they’re coming to find you too!

    Ugh! If you’d really like the opportunity then come on over! No shortage of deluded nitwits crawling the sidewalks here. I’m so damn sick of street epistemology. It’s like an open air lunatic asylum some days. I want them to leave me alone! I was so looking forward to finding myself at the rally surrounded by thousands of atheists (granted, they’re not all atheists. Some “spiritual” people will be there as it’s just statistically probable and to be expected.) But now look what’s going to happen! Crowd infiltration by the Goddy bunch. This wrecks my personal atheist nirvana. waaaaa

    Talk about an easy life.

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence/pond. 😀
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  • Lestes #8
    Jun 1, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Christians turning up at a reason rally? This can only be a good thing.
    Hopefully they learn something.

    I have to admire your optimism!

    Ray Comfort has been on a horizontal learning curve for years!
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  • 19
    Pinball1970 says:

    Ray comfort is a joke, I would relish his followers trying to attempt to disrupt an atheist rally by trying to talk about heaven and Jesus.
    It would be gloves off.
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  • @OP – link – He announced last month that he would be training hundreds of Christians to preach at (and hopefully convert) atheists, adding that he would give away 5,000 copies of his new book

    I have no problem with Ray giving away copies of his new book to atheists, just as I have no problem with the local Jehova’s witlesses, giving me copies of their science denying magazine as I head for the bus station in town.
    It really is no hardship to thank them for it, “hurry for my bus rather than talk”, and carry it the 100 yards or so to the litter bin.
    At least in there, it is not corrupting the mind of some child or innocent bystander!
    In recent weeks different distributors, have given me six copies of the same magazine one at a time on different days!
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  • What a pity it was thwarted. Atheists generally know more about the bible than the believers (who can generally quote about half dozen verses from New Testament-John and have not read the bible at all)…so sending them to convert us would have been laughable….but not much of a contest. To quote PJ O’Rourke…like “hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope). Sad thing about debating with believers…they are generally decent people…but debate them about the bible and within 6 statements they will be forced to defend disgusting and disgraceful acts in support of their belief.
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  • Note to Rally-goers: If Ray Comfort or one of his Christian mind slaves starts preaching to you, all you have to do is say something like this:

    “One reason why you will never convert me or the other people here is because no one likes buying something from an obnoxious jerk. You are nothing more than a slimy, pushy used car salesman. Your arrogance, your presumption, and your disrespectful attitude towards my beliefs is completely repellent. I don’t go to your church every Sunday yelling passages from The God Delusion, so don’t you come to my rally spouting your nonsense.”
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  • laurie B: ” Ugh! If you’d really like the opportunity then come on over! No shortage of deluded nitwits crawling the sidewalks here. I’m so damn sick of street epistemology. It’s like an open air lunatic asylum some days”

    I have the Jehovahs coming to my door every other weekend. I have stopped being nice to them. I know they are young men so I just open the door, don’t say anything and just stare at them. Then shake my head and close the door. Once one of them tried to hold the door open. He got chased off the property.

    BTW, take anything the fundies will give away. Everyone who can get a free copy of the book will be invited to the Comfort Book burning party after the books are gone.
    And you can use the Safeway gift certificate to buy hotdogs!
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  • @OP – I know all of you were very excited to see Ray Comfort at the upcoming Reason Rally. He announced last month that he would be training hundreds of Christians to preach at atheists.

    So expect a crowd briefed with a new definition of the word “reason”!!!

    (You know – “theistic reason” – a heap of verbiage which beats around the bush in obscure rambling semantics, and then arrives back full circle, at “god-did-it-all” so Jesus is wonderful and THE Bible is troooo!)
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  • alf1200

    I don’t blame you for wanting an event on the West Coast! What’s needed is an organizer…maybe a nice retired West Coast atheist…hmmm, trying to think of someone…. 😉

    I had J. Witnesses on my porch a few weeks ago. I can always spot them right away in the neighborhood. Dressed excessively formal and carrying those stupid briefcases. This bunch had a boy of about 8 in tow. Felt so sorry for him as they worked their way down the street with one rejection after another. With all of the better things this kid could have been doing. But no, just going around bothering the good people here in suburbia.

    I’ll try to post comments here when I’m at the rally. Some description of the situation from the crowd. I plan to get there early to get a seat up front. That’s what I did last time and it worked out great. Happy we’ll have cool cloudy weather. Slight chance of rain but I’d rather get rained on than to have killer blazing sun with 90+ heat. I hate heat.

    I’m just really miffed about T. Minchin not on the list this year. What the hell happened?!!!
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  • It would be nice if he had gone to get respective stats on this stuff. Fundamentalists rely heavily on ignorance of what is actually in the Bible, and many fundamentalists are bright, intelligent people albeit deluded, brain washed or misinformed. I’d be willing bet there would be some sizable proportion of those attending the rally who would come away with a lot more questions. Mormons highest rate of loses to church are from returning missionaries. These young men having been thrust into an uncomfortable role of proselytizing are for the first time in their lives exposed to the other point of view. During their mission they are treated with mistrust and frankly taken advantage of and at their own expense, kept away from outside influence, except when going door to door, suddenly coming off an 18month to be confronted with the hypocrisy and corruption within their own church is a double whammy that many cannot reconcile. I suspect if Ray tried this on he would have much the same effect.
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  • @ Laurie

    (Personal comment)

    I want to go to the rally, but no one wants to go with me. I don’t want to go to DC alone. I know what you’re going to say: “you won’t be alone: there’ll be thousands of like-minded people there, all of us!” Thanks a lot.

    Now how do I do a sad face? I can do the winking guy and the smiling guy; that’s it. Get back to me on that.
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  • Dan
    There are plenty of people who go to the rally alone. Last time I saw them all over the place there.

    Sad face – so just create a happy face but replace the parenthesis on the 0 key with the other one on the 9 key. If you’re feeling adventurous then try putting a teardrop in there (apostrophe) for upset crying face :’-(
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  • bonnie2 #33
    Jun 3, 2016 at 11:58 am

    new book

    @link – There are no customer reviews yet.

    This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed.

    Warning! May contain nuts, – or be totally bananas!

    Kind of like peer-review in reverse!! 🙂 – Promote the sales to those with “faith”, BEFORE the reviewers get to it!
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  • At university, I was friendly with the “God squad” and we had friendly stimulating discussions now and then. However, I remember one guest cleric at a dinner party being offended, not because I was explicitly rude (or any ruder than any other 18 year old know-it-all) but because he suddenly realised the implication of what I’d been saying in a roundabout way; that we can’t both be right, and therefore at least one of us was completely wrong (and by implication somewhat stupid). He might have caught the whiff of an implication that I didn’t think it was me.

    Outside those hallowed halls, the last time I was doorstepped by a Jehovah, or whatever he was, I had just finished reading one of Barbara Thiering’s works, and my mind was chock-full of bible quotes and apocrypha. I found the middle-aged gentleman to be pleasant enough, but quickly discovered he was barely literate and he conceded that I knew more about the bible than him (based only on reading it second-hand, as it were). He quickly excused himself.

    I often wonder if my personal experience is typical; that even those who are quite learned on the source material of their religion have difficulty with simple logic; but the majority are barely literate and are almost completely unfamiliar with the book that they have deified. [That certainly seems to be case on the internet, I am talking about real life encounters.]

    The idea that a bunch of semi-literates are going to gatecrash a gathering of atheists – and a self-selected group of committed, motivated atheists at that – and win any conversions is hilarious. From their POV, the best outcome is they cause a fight and the cops have to break it up (and then the Comfort contingent can blame it on the atheists). But if it stays peaceful, they may find the outcome is an net increase of atheists in the building.
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  • I well remember the discussion last time between Phil Mason (Thunderfoot) and Ray Comfort. at the last Reason Rally ?2012, when it was pissing with rain. Unfortunately the sound quality is not good and it was an impromptu conversation well away from the stage. Both interrupting each other at times with loads of interjections from those watching. Of course Thunderfoot wiped the floor with Ray Comfort. I will look up the link if anyone wants, but it’s there on YouTube.

    Unfortunately this year Thunderfoot won’t be going to the Reason Rally , as he has fears about the SJWs apparently having control about not offending people’s views. Censorship before anyone has said anything.

    We’ll see how it turns out, but I for one would welcome the ‘well primed’ Comfort Christians, before I blew their ship / Arc out of the water !
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  • Alan4discussion #18
    Jun 1, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Ray Comfort has been on a horizontal learning curve for years!

    I have come across some research in the journal Nature Communications, which might explain his very slow learning and why he stays within his fundamentalist bubble-shell! 🙂

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-36443264

    Snails use two brain cells to make “complex decisions”, a team of scientists has found.

    Researchers at the University of Sussex said one cell told the snail if it was hungry while the other cell told it if food was present.

    Step one – recognise evidenced challenges to indoctrinated pre-conceptions.
    Step two – dispute and deny them. 🙂
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  • I’m sitting in the gate waiting to board my flight back to boston now. Posting from my kindle so apologies for writing. Reason rally was inspirational as expected except for several of my personal favorites who were missing.

    While Richard was mentioned a few times, and they played a video clip (“b I t c h e s) his absence was noticed and awkward.

    Speakers were all good. Robyn B did wonderful speech. Flight boarding now!
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  • LaurieB #39
    Jun 5, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Reason rally was inspirational as expected except for several of my personal favorites who were missing.

    So were their swarms of Ray’s evangelical proselytizers to be seen putting on their comedy act for atheists, or was this just wish-thinking and self publicist activity on his part?
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  • Alan4discussion #40
    Jun 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    No there were no swarms of Ray Comfort’s minions! I arrived at 8am and there were several angry ranters there already with signs threatening us with burning to a crisp in hell. They were there for about an hour and then I noticed everyone around me turned around looking at them while they were escorted out by the park police.

    The only other ranters there were in a completely separate part of the park and I think this must be where the park services assigned for them to stay. I saw them because we had to pass through that section on the sidewalk to get back to the metro. At that point there was only one guy left with a colossal sign (and I mean it was about ten feet tall!) all decorated in bright orange and red with explanations about how I was going to roast in hell for my horrific sins and he was loudly explaining this to everyone who passed him as well. (As if we couldn’t read it for ourselves!)

    Oh yeah, and I just remembered the guy who at about the half way point in the rally, set himself up in a primo spot just to the left of the main stage and started to rant at very high volume through a double megaphone. I could hear him very well along with whoever was speaking at the time. It was a very effective rabble rouser at top volume but he lasted about ten minutes and was escorted out of the area by park police.

    Also on the way out was a middle aged guy, tall and dressed in authentic looking clothing straight out of the Middle Eastern Iron Age. Dirty long brown robes. Long beard and holding a wooden staff. His expression was severe as I would guess he was pretty pissed off about the whole atheist-having-fun type of event. He wasn’t causing any trouble but was holding his HOLY BIBLE right out front and having a very serious talk with a passer by.

    By the time I left the event after the last speaker, the Ray Comfort bunch had totally fizzled out and left. Only a few stragglers in the distance could be detected. On the metro going back to the hotel a guy who had been at the rally said that he had been offered one of those Subway cards and another guy sitting next to us on the grass had said that he saw R Comfort checking into the hotel where he was staying. If they meant to disrupt us it was a dismal failure.
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  • Laurie, They didn’t come to the rally because they are afraid of the devil horns and baby eaters. And Alan thinks he is some kind of snail mutation, so crawling, even though comes natural for him, isn’t very fast. He missed the train.
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  • “Also on the way out was a middle aged guy, tall and dressed in authentic looking clothing straight out of the Middle Eastern Iron Age. Dirty long brown robes. Long beard and holding a wooden staff.”
    And he was saying to thee,,,,,Follow the shoe! (monty python)?
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  • alf

    Whether or not Alan is a snail, his mutation being advantageous, benign or detrimental, it’s no difference to me. I just don’t like snails. Once when on a ski vacation I thought I’d put on some woman of the world airs by ordering escargot. I spent the night barfing my brains out after dinner and couldn’t ski the next day.

    I’ll have nothing to do with those slippery little bastards even if they are my evolutionary cousins.

    Alan will put some distance between himself and those slime balls if he knows what’s good for him.
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  • Laurie, I didn’t mean to say Alan was a snail. We were talking about the two brain cells snails have to make decisions.
    We came to agreement Ray Comfort is indeed a snail mutation.

    So I guess you are never coming to the Pacific Northwest where we have Banana Slugs half a foot long?

    “The Pacific banana slug is the second-largest species of terrestrial slug in the world, growing up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long,[5] and weights of 115 grams (4.1 ounces).[6”
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  • alf

    And Alan thinks he is some kind of snail mutation,

    ~choke~

    ~sputter~

    Oh jeezis. Ok so I offer all apologies to Alan for insinuating that he is a slimy snail. 😀 Just because I’m laughing while delivering this it doesn’t mean I’m not sincere. ~snort~

    alf, I think you need to take some responsibility here. That phrasing of yours was a set up for my disaster. GGGRRRR.

    In my own defense, I have just returned from a weekend in protest against many people who are downright delusional and the statement that “Alan thinks he’s some kind of snail mutation” fit right in with the whole delusional thinking theme of the past three days! 😉

    Banana slugs are not welcome in Boston 🙁
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  • Sorry Laurie,,,,,,,my bad………..And I personally like snails, they have never uttered a word of religious nonsense. And unlike crayfish, I have never been bitten or attacked by one.

    I think you owe all gastropods an apology. I’m waiting………………………
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  • alf
    Oh all right then. Since you did apologize then I suppose I should do the same. Still, I honestly do consider gastropods to be inferior to cephalopods. Just sayin, they need to own that.
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  • Laurie. Just don’t try eating one live. They tend to fight back.
    I got one confused with a bagpipe once. I’ll never do that again.
    That octopus is still following me around.
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  • Back on the topic of the Reason Rally, I just wanted to say that Maryam Namazie was a force for women’s rights with her speech and I really mean she had the force of a hurricane. I encourage everyone to watch her on a recording of the rally. She has stated our priorities strongly and directly. I can’t say enough about her message. I feel the greatest admiration for her after this weekend.
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  • alf1200 #47
    Jun 6, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    We came to agreement Ray Comfort is indeed a snail mutation.

    My original suggestion was just looking at the possible number of brain cells required for YECs to produce the conclusion “god-did-it” in answer to all complex science questions!
    The work on snails suggests not many are cells needed! 🙂

    So I guess you are never coming to the Pacific Northwest where we have Banana Slugs half a foot long?

    Have you noticed how well Banana Slugs are adapted to the rich diet of bananas. Perhaps Ray could pick up on this!! 🙂
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  • alf

    Looks like you dodged a bullet on this one. Alan has maintained his cold as surgical steel equilibrium and is apparently oblivious to your insinuation of his being a member of the class Gastropoda.

    heehee.
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  • Laurie,

    I am delighted Namazie proved a force to be reckoned with. I think she has consistently got things right in the UK and Iran. Not cerebral enough for some, but its her passion and sense of values that connect where they need to.

    As for Mr Banana, I think an enthusiastic hoarde wielding bananas might usefully pursue him with the intension of proving that God possibly designed the banana to fit an entirely other part of the body than the hand….

    “See, Ray, it fits! This is why God made them this size and shape.”
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