Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Thursday, May 3, 2012 as the 2012 National Day of Reason.
The National Day of Reason celebrates the application of reason and the positive impact it has had on humanity. It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the Constitutional separation of religion and government.
On March 24th, I was proud to address the tens of thousands of Americans who gathered on the Mall for the Reason Rally. These individuals came from all around the country to deliver a simple message: reason must be the guiding principle of our democracy. In a nation of citizens from so many different backgrounds and beliefs, the only way we can solve our problems is through cultivating intelligent, moral, and ethical interactions among all people.
Our nation faces many problems — bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, creating jobs, educating our children, and protecting our safety net from irresponsible cuts. We will solve these issues through the application of reason. We must also protect women’s reproductive choices, the integrity of scientific research, and our public education system from those who would hide behind religious dogma to undermine them.
Finally, the National Day of Reason is about taking time to improve our communities. Every year, events are held on this day that demonstrate the desire of secular Americans to help their fellow citizens and our nation as a whole. Community service events, such as food drives and blood drives, are just some of the ways that people will be working to help those in need on the Day of Reason and throughout the year.
I encourage everyone to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thinking, the scientific method, and free inquiry to improve our world and our nation.
Was that symbolic? Totally. Nothing more. But it’s a form of outreach Secular Americans aren’t used to. And you can bet a Christian group somewhere is pissed off that anything “reasonable” would happen on the same day as the National Day of Prayer…
You know, for an event that claims to be neither political nor exclusively religious, its celebrants love to talk about the government and Jesus…:
Speaking on behalf of the Christian Coalition, board member Billy McCormack described the National Day of Reason as “simply a blatant assault on Christianity.”
“Secular fundamentalists believe in and serve their god called ‘reason’ and want the nation to equate it with the Lord Jesus Christ,” McCormack told CP via email. “France bowed to the god of reason when it adopted its Constitution. Our forefathers founded a Christian nation based on the teachings of Jesus. The difference is plain.”
McCormack has it wrong, of course. Reason isn’t equivalent to Jesus. It’s better than Jesus. But unlike the NDoP, the NDoR is something everything can and should celebrate. Better to govern with evidence and logic and substance than through mythology and faith and nonsense.
“Reason should be the guiding force for public policy,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The National Day of Prayer excludes millions of Americans who choose not to pray or prefer keeping prayer private. Reason is something that everyone can celebrate.”
(Image via Andrew Hecht, Creative Commons licensed)