Action Alert

Support the National Day of Reason resolution

1National Day of Reason

Please join the Freedom From Religion Foundation in supporting the National Day of Reason resolution, which aims to reaffirm the separation of church and state and ensure that reason guides public policy and law.

This resolution has been reintroduced in Congress by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., to serve as an enlightened alternative to the National Day of Prayer, during which government officials typically exhort ask their constituents to join them in prayer. This resolution also designates May 3 as the National Day of Reason, which aims to promote “public policy that is based on reason and logic instead of politics and ideology.”

Ask your U.S. representative to support this judicious resolution to govern by the power of reason, not superstition.

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BACKGROUND

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has taken the lead in challenging the annual National Day of Prayer, enacted in Congress in 1952 at the behest of Rev. Billy Graham, who said he wanted to see members of Congress on their knees praying to “the Lord Jesus Christ” and “almighty God.” U.S. Sen. Absalom Robertson, father of Rev. Pat Robertson, introduced the bill in the Senate. What was a roving date became the first Thursday in May, when the act was amended under President Reagan in 1988 at the request of a coalition of evangelical Christians, who then started the National Day of Prayer Taskforce, working hand in glove with public officials. The law requires the president to issue a National Day of Prayer proclamation, as a date “on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”

FFRF noted in its legal challenge that the law was based on bad history, with sponsors falsely claiming the Founders prayed during the Constitutional Convention. In a historic 2010 ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara C. Crabb sided with FFRF, observing, “The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy.” She said the government could no more enact a statute in support of prayer “than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice range magic. In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray. . . . In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.”

(Postscript: FFRF’s case was appealed by President Obama, where the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unfortunately ruled that FFRF and its plaintiffs had not been injured, and therefore did not have standing to sue. So while the lawsuit was overturned, it was overturned on standing, not the merits.)

Clearly, the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. Fight back, by supporting a National Day of Reason.

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