(Editor’s note: The author of this article, Malgorzata Koraszewska, is associated with the Polish rationalist website Racjonalista.pl. According to the site, “RACJONALISTA.pl is currently the biggest center for publicizing free-thinkers and rationalists in Poland“. We are pleased to hear about the growing rationalism movement in Poland, and to publish Malgorzata’s report on a recent atheist event in Krakow.)
In the town of Krakow in southern Poland a few young people decided that just because in this country they are not allowed to ride on a bus with the slogan “There Is Probably No God”, it is not reason enough to not go by foot. They threw a call into cyberspace and asked the authorities for permission to go along a certain route through the town over which the spiritual power had been, once upon a time, in the hands of Karol Wojtyla, later known as Pope John Paul II.
The response was above all expectations because the first who answered were religious fanatics. They stated that giving such permission would be wrong and dangerous for the religious feelings of the god-fearing inhabitants of Krakow.
A lot of hostile articles in the press gave the story some nice publicity, and numerous volunteers from all over Poland began to announce that they were willing to travel a few hundred kilometers to walk a few hundred meters together with their fellow atheists.
The organizers modestly expected around 150 people. On the 10th October 2009, five hundred came, or at least such was the police estimate. Young smiling faces prevailed, along with equally cheerful banners.
Other banners carried slogans such as: “Live without sin, be an atheist”, “I do not kill, I do not steal, I do not commit adultery, I do not believe in god”, “People disbelieving in ghosts, you do not have to hide”.
I was cold, it was raining, but it didn’t spoil the mood. Participants promised similar marches in other towns.
To maintain the balance of Nature, a contra-demonstration of believers was organized and they were saying prayers for atheists.