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

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

shutterstock_186090179
How Passover Makes the Impossible Possible

When we place ourselves within the story, we can imagine new realities.

This Passover, We’re Standing at an Unparted Red Sea

We need to ask ourselves: What will be the future of the State of Israel — and what will it require of us?

pews
Just As I Am

My childhood conversion to Christianity was only the first of many.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

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.

shutterstock_186566975
Hey Bart Ehrman, I’m Obsessed with Jesus, Too — But You’ve Got Him All Wrong

Why the debate over Jesus’ divinity matters.

shutterstock_127731035 (1)
Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

2337221655_c1671d2e5e_b
Mysterious Tremors

People like me who have mystical experiences may be encountering some unknown Other. What can we learn about what that Other is?

bible
Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.

csl_wall_paper
What C.S. Lewis’ Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy

Why “welcome and wanted” is a biblical response to gay and lesbian couples in evangelical churches.

Antonio_Molinari_David_y_Abigail
How to Resolve Conflict: A Bible Lesson for Foreign Policy Leaders

The biblical story of Abigail shows how visible vulnerability can create a path toward peace.