National Day of Reason, Secular Alternative to National Day of Prayer, Celebrated by Humanists and Church-State Advocates

Today humanists, atheists and other nontheists across the nation will be observing the National Day of Reason, an alternative to the National Day of Prayer. This is the first year that a congressional resolution (House Res. 228) has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to honor the National Day of Reason.

“Millions of Americans do not believe in prayer, but all Americans, regardless of their worldviews, can support reason as a guiding principle that will empower us to tackle climate change, disease and the many other pressing problems we face today,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.

The American Humanist Association worked to introduce the resolution with sponsor Representative Mike Honda (CA-17) and co-sponsor Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC). The American Humanist Association began observing the National Day of Reason in response to a 1952 congressional resolution instituting the National Day of Prayer.

The American Humanist Association also spearheads other efforts to encourage elected officials at the state and local levels to issue statements and proclamations recognizing the first Thursday in May as a day dedicated to reason, critical thinking and scientific inquiry. This year, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, Jean Stothert and Mayor of Bellevue, Nebraska, Rita Sanders have all issued National Day of Reason Proclamations.

Speckhardt continued, “By supporting the National Day of Reason, elected officials are maintaining a secular government that represents all of their constituents, including those of minority religions or no religion.”

Local groups around the country will be observing the day with rallies, lectures and entertainment. The American Humanist Association will be hosting a National Day of Reason reception on Thursday evening to kick-off its 74th annual conference in Denver, Colorado.

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