FFRF co-sponsors Capitol Hill reception for National Day of Reason

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted that once again Rep. Jamie Raskin has introduced a resolution declaring May 4 as a “National Day of Reason.”

Raskin and other members of Congress traditionally introduce a resolution each year in honor of such a day to counter the annual National Day of Prayer.

FFRF is co-sponsoring a Reason Reception on Capitol Hill Wednesday night featuring guest speaker Kate Cohen, author of We of Little Faith and a Washington Post contributing columnist whose column this week is titled “A National Day of Prayer? James Madison would be horrified.” In it, she urges Americans to join her in abolishing this unconstitutional law instructing the president to urge citizens to gather together in prayer.

Rep. Jared Huffman, who co-chairs the Congressional Freethought Caucus with Raskin, will also be on hand, along with representatives from the sponsoring groups, such as FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, and representatives from the Secular Coalition for America and American Humanist Association, also sponsors.

“May 1 is such an appropriate day on which to hold a Reason Reception,” note Barker and Gaylor, “because every day we should be calling out ‘Mayday, Mayday,’ given how endangered the separation between state and church is. We hope a Reason Reception to accompany the National Day of Reason will become an annual event.”

The National Day of Prayer occurs on the first Thursday in May, as proclaimed by an unconstitutional congressional law passed in 1952 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 actually 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 before the founding of our country;

Whereas reason provides vital hope today for confronting the environmental crises of our day, including the civilizational emergency of climate change; for advancing civil liberties for all, including the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals and access to all reproductive healthcare such as in-vitro fertilization, contraception, and abortion; and for cultivating the rule of law, democratic institutions, justice, and peace among nations;

Whereas America’s Founders insisted upon the primacy of reason and knowledge in public life, and drafted the Constitution to prevent 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 4, 2024, 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 a ‘‘National Day of Reason’’;

and (2) 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 is more than happy to do its part in highlighting and spreading the word about such a key secular day.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with 40,000 members and several chapters all over the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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