Thursday, April 14, 2016

Honoring? Acknowledging Reason in Public Life

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

The first Thursday of May is when elected officials, especially in Washington, gather to observe the National Day of Prayer. This was created in 1952 by a Congressional Resolution. This year it is May 5.

National Day of Reason in the House
By Fibonacci Blue
(Flickr: National Day of Reason in Minnesota)
[CC BY 2.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons
Representative Michael Honda (D. Calif) and District of Columbia's Democratic delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a resolution on April 12, in the House of Representatives designating May 5 as a "National Day of Reason" in order to recognize the importance of reason in the betterment of humans and in our nation. Representative Honda made a similar resolution last year. It died in committee.

The Honda-Holmes resolution if for this year only.

The American Humanist Association (AHA) worked closely with Representative Honda in developing the resolution. A news release from the AHA about the resolution and about AHA's long involvement in denoting a day of reason describes some of the details.

Huffington Post Article on National Day of Reason & Resolution
The National Day of Reason (NDoR) website has a sample proclamation with instructions for adapting and using it, updates on proclamations and more information about this effort and on contacting representatives encouraging them to support the resolution. I noticed that Nebraska and Iowa, including Cedar Rapids, IA have made proclamations.

The Huffington Post article provides additional details and fuller information about the two resolutions and why a day of reason is important. It also discusses the tensions that have made declaring a day of reasoning so difficult The article also has links to Delaware, Iowa and Nebraska where governors have declared a day of reasoning.

The resolution has two parts that make great sense.
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
      (1) supports the designation of `National Day of Reason'; and
      (2) encourages all citizens, residents, and visitors to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to the resolution of human problems and for the welfare of humankind.

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