Several members of Congress have introduced a National Day of Reason resolution to counter the National Day of Prayer.
Led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, a number of national legislators are championing a resolution proclaiming May 7 as an annual National Day of Reason. Other sponsors include Reps. Jared Huffman, Mark Pocan, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jerry McNerney and Pramila Jayapal, all Congressional Freethought Caucus members.
The National Day of Prayer occurs on the first Thursday in May (May 6 this year) as proclaimed by an unconstitutional congressional law requiring the president to encourage citizens to “turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” FFRF won a historic federal court ruling in 2010 declaring the law unconstitutional, which was later thrown out by an appeals court based on standing, not the merits.
The National Day of Reason resolution is an attempt to repair the constitutional damage. Raskin’s resolution reads:
Whereas the application of reason has been the essential precondition for humanity’s extraordinary scientific, medical, technological, and social progress since the modern Enlightenment;
Whereas reason provides the vital catalyst for confronting the crises of our day, including the civilizational emergency of climate change, and for cultivating the rule of law, democratic institutions, justice, and peace among nations;
Where irrationality, magical and conspiratorial thinking, and disbelief in science have undermined the national effort to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, contributing to the death of more than 555,000 people in the United States;
Whereas reason and science are fundamental to implementing an effective coordinated response to beat the Covid-19 virus, which includes improved social confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccinations and evidence-based solutions to the inequities exacerbated by the pandemic, and involves the federal government, the states, and the scientific and medical communities;
Whereas America’s Founders insisted upon the primacy of reason and knowledge in public life, and drafted the Constitution to prevent the official establishment of religion and to protect freedom of thought, speech, and inquiry in civil society;
Whereas James Madison, author of the First Amendment and fourth president of the United States, stated that “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty” and “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives” and
Whereas May 7, 2021, would be an appropriate date to designate as a “National Day of Reason”: Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the House of Representatives supports the designation of a “National Day of Reason” and encourages all citizens, residents, and visitors to join in observing this day and focusing on the central importance of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to resolving social problems and promoting the welfare of humankind.
FFRF appreciates so many of our representatives in Washington, D.C., diligently striving to ensure the triumph of reason over unreason.
“We are grateful to Rep. Raskin and other co-sponsors for working so that reason and our secular Constitution will prevail,” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.