Secularists counter National Day of Prayer with National Day of Reason

As millions of Americans bow their heads next Thursday (May 3) for the annual National Day of Prayer, atheists, humanists … Continued

As millions of Americans bow their heads next Thursday (May 3) for the annual National Day of Prayer, atheists, humanists and other nontheists will mark a day of their own.

The National Day of Reason — or “NDR” in the shorthand of the nontheist community — will also be held May 3, part protest, part celebration and totally godless.

“In times of great conflict and worry, people want to look to a higher power, and I am sympathetic to that,” said Paul Fidalgo, communications director at the Center for Inquiry. “But our day puts the focus back on people and what we can do for ourselves. We are trying to make a better world on our own by emphasizing good works and good deeds on the day.”

To that end, local groups of nontheists will hold blood drives (Groton, Conn.) training in lobbying politicians (Raleigh, N.C.) and voter registration drives (Flagstaff, Ariz.), as well as marches, rallies and social gatherings. One group in Putnam, Conn., is holding a “science for reason” book exchange — turn in a Bible and receive a free copy of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species,” among other titles.

NDR was started in 2003 by a Washington-based group of humanists who viewed government participation in the National Day of Prayer as a violation of the separation of church and state.

While the numbers participating in NDR have never equaled those of the National Day of Prayer, NDR supporters scored a victory in 2010 when a federal judge ruled that the 1988 law that designates the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional.

The victory was short-lived, as a higher court ruled in 2011 that government participation did not equal compulsory participation.

This year, while there are no pending legal challenges, nontheist groups would still like to see the National Day of Prayer become a strictly private holiday.

“We feel that having our chief elected officials proclaim a religious day to be a clear violation of the separation of church and state,” Fidalgo said. “Besides that, it is exclusionary not just for nonbelievers but to everyone who does not buy into monotheism.”

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Universal Uclick.

  • SODDI

    I dunno. Those capital “A” atheists like to showboat, but that’s about it. There are more important issues than just mimicking some stupid and fascist national christian shindig.

    EVERY DAY should be reason day.

    Are we just “atheists” as a reactionariy opposition to the oppressive religious all around u?

    And why are they handing out Darwin instead of Bertrand Russell?

  • Ranmore

    Stand up and be proud – it’s time for America’s atheists to come out of the closet and challenge the scheming, money grabbing religious leaders who mire the country with bigotry and superstition.

  • WmarkW

    Fine to have a national day to celebrate reason.

    But reason is not the same thing as liberal and Democratic party politics.

    Some of us think it’s perfectly reasonable to reduce the size the government, and that giving our native-born low-skill population jobs takes precedence over those in the country illegally.

Read More Articles

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.