Atheists gather in Minneapolis for national conventionby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Hundreds of atheists will spend this Easter weekend in a downtown Minneapolis hotel, attending the national conference of the group American Atheists.
The group's president, Ellen Johnson, said the conference will also focus on making atheists more visible during this year's presidential campaign.
"We are a huge voting block and yet the politicians ignore us, and that's a really important issue to atheists. Why does every other group get more attention than we do? Groups who are smaller, by far, as a voting block than we are," said Johnson.
A recent survey from the Pew Forum suggests that 16% of Americans are unaffiliated with an organized religion. But that figure includes atheists, agnostics and others; specifically, atheists are less than two percent of the population.
The fact that the event starts on Good Friday, one of the holiest days of the year for Christians, is just a coincidence, added Johnson.
"The hotels are empty this time of year and atheists aren't doing anything anyway, so the hotel industry vies heavily for our business."
The weekend's lineup includes a speech and book-signing from noted British author and atheist Richard Dawkins.