Freethought Today · June / July 2016

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF member’s work pays off: Iowa City proclaims Day of Reason by Justin Scott

Freethinking activist Justin Scott has been busy these past few months. As we noted in January's Freethought Today, Scott met with all the then-candidates for president at various town hall meetings in Iowa. Since then, he has given a secular invocation (see transcript on page 21) and was able to get Iowa City to proclaim a Day of Reason.

Scott says that Iowa City is the third city in Iowa to accept a Day of Reason proclamation. The others were Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.

Scott sent out emails to 28 cities asking them for a Day of Reason proclamation.
"There have been a handful of cities that have refused to issue this proclamation with very little reason, without stating the specific reason, although they informed me that they have no actual procedure in place for proclamation requests," Scott said. "One mayor told me they 'don't want to stick their neck out there,' another told me they 'only like to work out of their comfort zone' on issues, and another told me that they would only issue this proclamation if '20 or so other cities did it first' because their city doesn't want to be the only one to do it."

Scott said Davenport has been one of the most difficult to work with, even though the city has had Days of Reason in 2008 and 2011.

"I finally spoke to the mayor on the phone, after not responding to me for nearly a month," Scott said. "His initial hesitation was whether or not the proclamation had to include the word 'atheist' and that because two out of the 10 council members objected to it, the proclamation was considered 'controversial' and 'would require a majority vote of support' from the council. One Davenport council member even suggested that next year I collect signatures in support of my proclamation despite the fact that the city clerk, who has worked in the office for nearly 30 years, advised me that no other group has ever had to collect signatures to have a proclamation be issued."

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