The first Thursday in May is the National Day of Reason. It was created as a response to the National Day of Prayer held on the same day. the National Day of Reason is to celebrate reason – a concept all Americans can support – and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government when it takes sides.
Why we need a National Day of Reason:
With the religious right’s influence in Congress, and with the threat to our Judiciary looming large, there has never been as important a moment in which to affirm our commitment to the Constitutional separation of religion and government, and to celebrate Reason as the guiding principle of our secular democracy.
During the past year we have witnessed the intrusion of religious ideology into all spheres of our government, with such assaults on the wall separating church and state as:
Faith-based initiatives in federal agencies that give preferential treatment to religious organizations which proselytize and employ discriminatory hiring practices;
Restrictions on important scientific research on the basis of religious objections;
Attempts to introduce biblical creationism and its alter-ego “Intelligent Design” into our public school science curricula;
The appointment of judges who willingly place their religious beliefs above our laws;
Battles over the display of the Ten Commandments and other overtly religious icons in schools and on courthouses;
Religiously motivated restrictions on access to reproductive services and information;
As in previous years, this year’s National Day of Reason is scheduled to coincide with the Congressionally-mandated and federally-supported National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 2, 2013. We invite all who value the separation of religion and government to join us in commemorating the Day of Reason, and in building awareness for this important cause.
This year it is even more important to have a day of reason after what happened at the Boston Marathon and its aftermath:
(Washington, DC, April 30, 2013)—Two members of Congress are offering encouragement to those taking part in National Day of Reason events on May 2, an observance that promoters see as a more inclusive alternative to the religiously focused, government-sponsored National Day of Prayer.
“The National Day of Reason celebrates the application of reason and the positive impact it has had on humanity,” Rep. Michael Honda (CA) declared in the Congressional record. “It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the Constitutional separation of religion and government.”
“I encourage all citizens to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to the resolution of human problems for the welfare of humanity,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) said in a statement.
This support takes on a new meaning this year in light of the recent controversy over the refusal to include secular representation at the official memorial service honoring the victims of the recent Boston bombings. The National Day of Prayer Task Force openly admits that its purpose is to represent “a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance.” Supporters of the National Day of Reason find this practice exclusionary.
“Our elected officials dishonor their office and their constituents when they promote and attend divisive events that tell a growing minority of Americans that they aren’t worthy of full citizenship,” said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “Our secular government has no business endorsing expression of some beliefs while excluding others.”