Atheists across the country are turning up the volume, gathering openly and advertising their lack of faith, the New York Times reports. Their goal isn’t to win others over—“The most important thing is coming out of the closet,” said one activist—and win acceptance for their beliefs. And their numbers may be growing: A recent survey saw “no religion” as the only group that grew in every state.
The demographic’s growing presence is in part a backlash against the weight of the religious right under the Bush administration; a secularist surge on college campuses has also boosted the movement, as have new books which treat atheism as a cause as opposed to an argument. Ten national groups have formed the Secular Coalition for America, which plans to lobby Washington for separation of church and state.