Beginning in 2015, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) introduced a formal resolution in support of the National Day of Reason. His defeat in 2016, despite coming at the hands of another Democrat, put future versions of that legislation in peril. But fellow Californian Rep. Ted Lieu picked up where Honda left off, introducing similar legislation last year.
And now, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), the only openly non-theistic legislator and chair of the newly formed Congressional Freethought Caucus, has introduced a resolution designating May 3 as the “National Day of Reason,” with the goal of promoting “public policy that is based on reason and logic instead of politics and ideology.”
May 3, of course, will also be the National Day of Prayer.
That’s not a coincidence.
The text of the resolution isn’t available yet, but I suspect it’ll be similar to last year’s version.The American Humanist Association deserves the credit for making this happen.
Upon introduction of the resolution, Rep. Huffman said: “President Trump and his cabinet have launched an all-out war on science, reason, and logic, while attacking those of different faiths, beliefs, and backgrounds. Now more than ever before, it’s clear that we need to reaffirm our nation’s founding principle of the separation of church and state. A National Day of Reason offers an inclusive alternative for humanists, atheists, nonreligious, and freethinkers alike to celebrate reason in the public sphere and allow the secular community to inspire positive change.”
“All Americans can celebrate the value of reason, regardless of their religious beliefs. But prayer is different for different faiths, and of course, prayer isn’t practiced by the rapidly growing number of Americans who are nontheistic,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We encourage our elected leaders to use logic, empathy, and equality to protect the freedoms and civil rights of all Americans.”
This resolution is co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Zoe Lofrgen (D-CA), and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
Why are Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), both co-chairs of the Freethought Caucus, not on that list? That seems unusual.
You might argue that this resolution is a purely symbolic gesture. That’s true, but so the Day of Prayer. And if there’s one thing we need a lot more of in Washington right now, it’s reason. Plus, this sort of resolution is a nice reminder that there are some legislators who take evidence and rational thinking seriously.
Maybe soon, they’ll be in the majority again.
(Image via Secular Coalition for America. Large portions of this article were published earlier)