Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pledge to send every MP a copy of The God Delusion

General pledge information
Creator J Christie
Date created 23rd January 2007
Date closed 31st March 2007
Status closed; successful
Number of signers 826 / 645 (128.1% of target)
Estimated signers by deadline 826 (128.1% of target)
if signup rate continues as in last week
Categories Democracy and government

Pledge “church-and-state”

Deadline to sign up by: 31st March 2007
826 people signed up (181 over target)

Country: United Kingdom

"I will arrange for my MP to receive a copy of Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" but only if 645 other people (one per UK constituency) will do the same for other MPs."

— J Christie

During February and March I was very active, with Peter Klaver, in promoting the Pledgebank pledge.

On 24th March we had some 520 pledges. After many phone calls, on Friday 23rd March 2007, a week before the pledge closed, I finally persuaded the BHA, NSS and to send a mailshot to their members asking them to pledge. The effect was dramatic - the target of 645 pledges was achieved on the 25th March at 00:52 am. Over 250 more pledges were made in that last week (see graph). By the closing date 31st March we had 826 pledges.

As a result the pledge, which looked like failing by 100 pledges (with only 30 pledges in the preceeding week), succeeded in the last week. Now every UK Member of Parliament has a copy of the book!

I got a phone call from James Christie from Africa (were he had been seconded for several weeks) on Sunday 25th March at 3pm congratulating me and Peter Klaver on our success in the pledge.

On 26th March, Richard Dawkins 66th Birthday, I emailed him a card of congratulations (below).

On 27th March I met Richard Dawkins in person after the wonderful "We would be better off without religion" London debate. He said he would be willing to attend the House of Commons with me to present MPs with the book. This event never happened due to difficulties in organising even one MP to receive the book (Parliament was in the Easter Recess).

On 28th March Richard Dawkins won the Galaxy Prize for Author of the Year for The God Delusion.

In the annual survey of MPs' holiday reading by the bookshop chain Waterstone's, a new mood of religious scepticism seems to have taken hold of Labour MPs, who have made The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, their first choice. This follows the loss of Tony Blair, who looked to God as the ultimate judge of whether it was right to invade Iraq.

For me the month of March 2007 was a time of extraordinary excitement. It seemed to me 'History in the Making'. It was touch and go that the pledge would succeed. I know that my efforts (and many others) and those of co-promoter Peter Klaver in N Ireland, James Christie (the creator of the pledge) and of course the 826 pledgers themselves - were directly responsible for bringing this important book to the attention of British MPs.

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