March 26, 2019

Why National Day of Reason?

A Message from Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association

Now, more than ever, America needs a 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 coincided with the Congressionally-mandated and federally-supported National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 2, 2019. We thank all who value the separation of religion and government & joined us in commemorating this year’s Day of Reason, and in building awareness for this important cause.

What can you do to demonstrate your support for a Day of Reason?

Plan a special event to commemorate the NDR, such as a protest demonstration, special lecture, or social gathering;

  • Work to have a Day of Reason proclaimed by your state or local government;
  • Hold a press conference for your local media to promote respect for the separation of religion and government, and to draw attention to the many breaches of that principle during recent months;
  • Organize a letter-writing campaign urging your elected officials to support the separation of religion and government;
  • Visit the National Day of Reason web site to sign-up as an endorser, to view planned events, or to read some of the media coverage from previous years.

We invite individuals and organizations to endorse this campaign, and to submit information about their plans to commemorate the National Day of Reason and their efforts to educate the public about the important underlying issues. Those organizations conducting events, activism or outreach in their communities will be featured on the site so that activists can readily identify opportunities to organize and participate in local events.

There is great potential this year to give voice to our shared concerns about the serious threats to the wall separating church and state. We hope that you will visit our site, and we look forward to hearing about your plans to observe the National Day of Reason.

Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director
American Humanist Association
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  • Kewbism

    This is an excellent idea.

  • Scott deLong

    Seems than reasonable to me. Why American citizens should need to be reminded of the very basis of our Founding Father’s philosophy demonstrates weaknesses in our educational systems and the undesirable influence of the forces of superstition, religiosity, and magical thinking.

    • shoewasphone

      Popular media has many Christians convinced that they are being persecuted and their beliefs repressed. I wonder how these folks would feel if Congress enacted a law that created a national day of Islamic prayer?

  • Mikesmith50

    This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. The first English language Bible printed in the US was ordered by Congress to be distributed to and used in the public schools. In addition, there is NO separation of church & state in the US Constitution as proclaimed by many secularists.

    • Reason Wins

      Uh. Have you read the Constitution lately? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
      religion…” There’s your Establishment Clause; there’s your separation of church and state. 

      • Samps

        I’m a Christian, and I agree wholeheartedly. George Washington himself emphasized in a letter to a synagogue that the United States government (paraphrasing) is in no way founded upon the Christian religion.
        If this day seems like an attack on religion, it’s because religion has been attacking people in this country for a long time, and expecting the government to protect it while it does so.

        • Reason & Religion

          I believe that you misunderstood the letter.  It is an assurance to the Jewish people that the government  ”
          gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance,”.  Essentially saying that the all faiths will experience tolerance.  

          “May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. ”

      • Reason & Religion

        You forgot the second phrase so I thought I would help you out:  or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

        • Johnny

          Right, and a National Day of Prayer interferes with the free exercise thereof for those who do not pray. Therefore, it violates the 1st amendment. :-)

          • kwafer

            Can you explain how it interferes with the free exercise of not praying?

    • shoewasphone

      Exactly what is a “Judeo-Christian” principle? The Ten Commandments? Then we should have laws that would severely punish people working on the Sabbath. Laws the prevent taking god’s name in vain. Laws that prevent adultery and being jealous of others.

      A National Day of Prayer? What about Matthew 6:5? “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

    • LongtimeDetroitdriver

      Actually, it was founded on Enlightenment principles: the equality of all citizens before the law and government (no privilige for clergy, no priviliged ruling class or aristocracy); the right of the accused to a fair trial, with innocence or guilt determined by objective evidence (no secret or “spectral” evidence, no convictions based merely on the status of the accuser); and freedom of conscience (since no one has ever managed to prove, objectively, that any one supernatural belief is any more “right” than any other, the power of government may not be used to dictate belief).  As Reason  Wins says, read the First Amendment.  That’s where separation of state and church is mandated.

  • What a wonderful idea, this National Day of Reason.  I salute those who brought it forward and will promote it the best I can.

  • 123

    LOL!!! We’ll just be adding you to our prayer list!!


    • doom

      no really, why all the fuss.  Think before you speak… poses an good question.. anybody?

  • Think before you speak.

    I fail to see how a national day of prayer constitutes the government establishing a religion. Prayer clearly isn’t specific to one single religion. So what’s all the fuss about?

  • So in order to celebrate the separation of church and state, you want people to ask their state governments to establish a day to celebrate a cause decrying religion?  Hey folks, openly decrying religion is no more constitutional than establishing one.

    For a group trying to promote reason, you’ve certainly left logic laying on the side of the road.

  • emccoy

    Not quite sure what makes it reasonable to oppose a National Day of Prayer.  OK, so you don’t believe, whatever, it’s your call.  It just seems to me that by opposing the right of others to pray you are promoting not freedom of religion, but rather the suppression of freedom of religious expression.  If the God you deny does not exist, then what is the point of protesting?

  • Guest

    C’mon folks, let’s quit equating free exercise of religion with government activities supporting religion.  That’s what this “reason” thing is all about.  You can believe what you want, I can believe what I want.  BUT, the government isn’t supposed to take sides either way, and this National Day of Prayer thing is all about supporting a religious point of view.  

  • Atheist are very insulting. I am not that religious but like to believe in God and pray because it makes me feel better sometimes when I am depressed or sad. All the atheist I know are complete asssholes and make you feel stupid and are very arrogant. Everyone should be free to believe in what they want and Atheist trying to make people believe in nothing is very sad. One day this world is going to have a war over topic and it is going to be horrific. When that happens thank yourselves for starting the trend.

  • ain

    why natiolan day is a meaningful day to all Malaysians

  • HumanKindForever

    How do you decide which of the 200 plus recognized gods around the globe to follow? I have chosen to follow reason and continue to seek the truth. I may not live to find it. I think this Day of Reason concept is an excellent idea and I know the city of Charlotte’s Mayor supported with a proclamation. I applaud him for standing up for Reason.

  • Jennifer

    I cannot believe how “acceptable” it is to be against prayer. That’s what is wrong with this country- we’re afraid of offending everyone else, except God!

  • Common sense

    I’m opposed to a National Day of Reason. If people cannot have a National Day of Prayer, why should there be a National Day of Reason? The government shouldn’t influence me to use reason. Really people get a grip!

    • Chellah Bellah

      How can you not want to use reason?

    • Stephen Ross

      You are correct.
      You have every right to be unreasonable……..which is why the “…greatest deliberative body in the world” has become petrified, dysfunctional, and incompetent. They, too, have abandoned reason.

  • MorganFleurDeLys

    I support this.

  • How about a national day of common sense, or logic? Reason, any man who could reason would recognize that we are not a product of chance. Notice the executive director is a humanist at heart. Sad that so many are so blind (I’m not refering to his glasses). A planet made up of oxygen, water, CO2, etc…all living things need them to survive and the sun and the moon’s roles, all by chance? Or, we just adapted to use water and oxygen to exist? Reason is a funny thing. Science today is known to be fraudulent in order to prove a point, rather than find the truth, think the environmentalist’s use of global cooling, warming, change all for a stated goal, not the truth. Evolution, limited fossil record, although it is a very manipulated record as well… Sad that so many who claim to reason, also support the communist destruction of America…show me the reason?

    • Mark you have no understanding of science. Evolution has very little to do with chance. Mutations are unpredictable and contingent but the filter of natural selection is not. Life uses the chemistry of Earth because that’s where it evolved. It could have evolved on a planet with a sulphur, sulphur dioxide cycle, like Jupiter’s moon IO and then the bio chemistry would have been different.

      All this is beside the point. Your comment shows a lack of reason, because you are unwilling to deal with your own ignorance but feel enabled to hold forth from that position. You prove that a day of reason is very much needed.

  • humanistliturgy

    Humanist Liturgy-

    I’m in support of this. It is included on my liturgical calendar and I’ll be posting a liturgy about it the first week of May.

  • Chellah Bellah

    National Day of Reason: A good way of celebrating this day is to have focus groups that discuss the separation of state and church with the public

  • Guest

    Reason is a good thing, it is what lead me to a belief in God. What concerns me here is that it appears that the definition of using “Reason” and the point of a National Day of Reason is really to say all is reasonable except a belief in God even if a free thinking person comes to that conclusion. I understand that as a Humanist that is what you believe but “Reason” does not lead everyone to that conclusion.

  • This is irrational.