The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics
Today is May 2, the year 2013 of our lor… ahem – it’s just 2013.
You may be wondering to yourself why does this banner say “National Day of Reason” instead of “Prayer.” Well, the explanation is simple. It is because today is the National Day of Prayer. Make sense yet? To clarify I’ll provide some historical background.
The National Day of prayer was officially congressionally mandated in 1952 to be observed on the first Thursday of May. This federally supported religious day of prayer flies in a secular government. On this day religious peoples might be found gathering in churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or outside of courthouses speaking telepathically to their particularly favorite, or most favorable, imaginary superhero. Unfortunately this isn’t a joke, and is considered a rather serious and solemn occurrence.
Even George Washington, the first president of the US thought so when he addressed the public.
“The Honorable the Congress having recommended it to the United States to set apart Thursday the 6th of May next to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence; to deprecate [to pray or entreat that a present evil may be removed] deserved punishment for our Sins and Ingratitude to unitedly implore the Protection of Heaven; Success to our Arms and the Arms of our Ally: The Commander in Chief enjoins a religious observance of said day and directs the Chaplains to prepare discourses proper for the occasion; strictly forbidding all recreations and unnecessary labor.”
So what does reason even mean and why should we have a national day of reason? So glad you asked, self.
Reason is the capability of consciously making sense of things, applying logic, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing practices institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information. The very concept of reasoning challenges the core of traditional practices like prayer, and religion.
So why have a day dedicated to it to reason?
“With the religious right’s influence in Congress, and with the threat to our Judiciary looming large, there has never been as important a moment in which to affirm our commitment to the Constitutional separation of religion and government, and to celebrate Reason as the guiding principle of our secular democracy.
During the past year we have witnessed the intrusion of religious ideology into all spheres of our government, with such assaults on the wall separating church and state as:
Now you’ve been armed with the knowledge of what organized un-reasonableness can achieve. Venture out into the world and find out what organized reason can accomplish, won’t you?
I’d like to leave readers with one of my favorite quotes highlighting the importance of the employment of reason, and the scrutiful eye.
– “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates (469 BC – 399 BC)