June 23, 2018

Humanists Celebrate Secular Alternative to Prayer

For Immediate Release


Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, DC, May 5, 2016)—Today the American Humanist Association, with church-state separation advocates across the country, is celebrating the National Day of Reason, a secular, inclusive alternative to the National Day of Prayer.

“Reason is the bedrock of Enlightenment philosophy, upon which our Founders established a number of America’s most cherished freedoms,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Today as we watch the vitriolic, outlandish claims surrounding the presidential debates, we should remember that reason, logic and critical thinking are crucial elements of an informed democracy.”

This is the second year that a National Day of Reason resolution has been introduced in the US Congress. Introduced by Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) and co-sponsored by Del. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC-At Large) and Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), US House Res. 670 would recognize the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Reason in observance of reason as an American value. The American Humanist Association began celebrating the National Day of Reason as a modern response to a 1952 Cold War congressional act that declared the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.

Speckhardt continued, “While the National Day of Prayer excludes nontheists, the National Day of Reason promotes values that all Americans can support, while upholding Jefferson’s wall separating church and state.”

In addition to leading the national push for a secular celebration of reason, the American Humanist Association also encourages state and local resolutions and proclamations to recognize the day. This year, Delaware Governor Jack Markell; Iowa Governor Terry Branstad; Colorado Governor John W. Hickenlooper; Mayor James A. Throgmorton of Iowa City, Iowa; Mayor Quentin Hart of Waterloo, Iowa; and Mayor Michael B. Hancock of the City and County of Denver, Colorado, have signed Day of Reason proclamations. Other state and local efforts to observe the day are on-going. Humanist groups around the country will celebrate the National Day of Reason with rallies, lectures, community service projects and other events.

More information about the National Day of Reason can be found here.


Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

  • jean frank

    When government officials speak WHILE representing their constituents (local, state, or federal), why do they insist upon dividing Americans into two opposing groups? That is, we hear “Our thoughts and prayers are with those unfortunate…,” and “Thank you and god bless you.” Why is the group of Americans who have “prayer” and “god” given special recognition? Thanks for attending the meeting, and may Gaia guide you in your life. Thank you for donating to those in need, and I know that Earth Goddess smiles upon you. Thank you for helping your neighbors at this time of tragedy, and know that Mother Universe is watching over us. Who would stand for such divisive language? Thanks for listening, and take comfort that The Trees are listening too.