National Day of Reason Reintroduced in House of Representatives

For the fourth consecutive year, the American Humanist Association has worked with congressional allies to reintroduce the National Day of Reason (NDOR) resolution in the US House of Representatives. This year’s resolution, H.Res 852, was introduced on April 26 by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), who is also the first openly humanist representative in Congress. The bill has the support of Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Zoe Lofrgen (D-CA), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

This resolution is short, but what it advocates for is important, as you can see from the official text:

Expressing support for the designation of May 3, 2018, as a “National Day of Reason” and recognizing the importance of reason in the betterment of humanity.

Whereas the application of reason has proven to offer hope for human survival upon Earth, improving conditions within the universe, and cultivating intelligent, moral, and ethical interactions among people and their environments;

Whereas those who wrote the Constitution of the United States, the basic document for governing the affairs of humankind within the United States, based it upon principles delineated within the philosophies distinguishing the historical Age of Reason;

Whereas most citizens of the United States purport to value reason and its application;

Whereas it is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to promote the development and application of reason; and

Whereas May 3, 2018, would be an appropriate date to designate as a “National Day of Reason”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

  1. supports the designation of “National Day of Reason”; and
  2. encourages all citizens, residents, and visitors 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 and for the welfare of humankind.

For those who aren’t aware, the National Day of Reason is the inclusive alternative to the National Day of Prayer, an annual observance during which the president issues a proclamation encouraging Americans to pray in thanks for America’s freedom and other values.

Unfortunately, the Day of Prayer excludes the nearly one quarter of Americans who are nonreligious and don’t pray but who wish to celebrate the important values that are lauded during the observance. The National Day of Reason was therefore created as a viable inclusive alternative to the Day of Prayer that is equally worthy of government recognition. The goal of this effort is to celebrate reason—a concept all Americans (both religious and nonreligious) can support—and to promote public policy that is based on reason and logic instead of politics and ideology.

In the past, the Republican governors of Iowa and Nebraska, as well as the Democratic governors of Delaware and Rhode Island (along with numerous mayors and city councils) have issued NDOR proclamations, and members of Congress have made statements on the record honoring the NDOR.

We’re proud to have this resolution reintroduced in Congress, especially during a time when much of the public policy being pushed out of Washington doesn’t feel too rational. The AHA will continue to advocate for members of the House to co-sponsor this resolution and to push for its passage through the entire Congress.