SANTA CRUZ -- When this year's holiday parade kicks off Saturday morning in downtown, one of the newest additions will be the Atheists of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, whose members will march down Pacific Avenue with a banner bearing the words "Reason's Greetings."Santa Cruz, for those of you who don't know, is a beautiful little town on California's north coast, about 80 miles south of San Francisco. We've had our share of notariety – a couple mass murders, a mention in a Beach Boys song (Surfin' USA), the home of the University of California Santa Cruz, and as a town that banned nuclear weapons! The town was also severly damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Other groups sponsoring the banner include Santa Cruz Brights, UCSC Secular Student Alliance and Secular Humanists of Santa Cruz County, a coalition of like-minded individuals who have banded together to publicly express their "non-theist" ideology.
Santa Cruz is an odd mixture of far-right conservatives and far-left liberals. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, it was a sleepy retirement town with the second-most retirees per capita of all U.S. towns. Then ... they built that bastion of liberal radicalism, the University! What a nightmare for the oldsters! Take a town of 40,000 people and drop 12,000 students into it, and guess what? Fireworks!
I'm proud of my home town today! (Pay attention at the 0:57 mark in the song...)