March 26, 2019

Government Officials Honor National Day of Reason

American Humanist Association leads effort to promote an alternative to the National Day of Prayer

For Immediate Release

Contact: Merrill Miller,, 202-238-9088 ext. 105

(Washington, DC, May 1, 2014)—Today two members of Congress, as well as state and local officials, are offering support for the National Day of Reason, an observance promoting a more inclusive alternative to the religiously focused, government-sponsored National Day of Prayer. The American Humanist Association is leading the effort to encourage elected officials at the federal, state and local levels to proclaim May 1 as the National Day of Reason.

“Our Founding Fathers based the Constitution of the United States upon philosophical principles that have their origins in the historical Age of Reason,” said Congressman Michael Honda (D-CA) in a statement entered into the congressional record. “On the National Day of Reason, we remember and celebrate this history, including the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion and freedom from the imposition of religion by the state.”

“I hope that all Americans—religious, non-religious and secular alike—will join in observing the National Day of Reason,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) in a statement. “This day provides an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the positive impacts on humanity of reason, critical thought and the scientific method, which have always been acknowledged to be consistent with religious faith, and to reaffirm that the line between religion and government must remain indelible.”

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has issued a proclamation declaring May 1 as the National Day of Reason, as has Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman.

In response to the National Day of Prayer, created by a resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1952, the American Humanist Association commemorates the National Day of Reason to celebrate reason—a concept all Americans can support—and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.

“Our government should have no business endorsing faith in prayer, which excludes millions who are good without a god,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The National Day of Reason affirms our commitment to the separation of church and state while recognizing reason as the guiding principle of our secular democracy.”

Humanist and secular groups across the country are celebrating the National Day of Reason in many ways, including public rallies, lectures and entertainment. More information about specific local observances can be found on the National Day of Reason’s website here.


Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists and other non-religious 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.