National Day of Reason

National Day of Reason is a secular celebration observed on the first Thursday in May. The purpose of this holiday is to celebrate reason and to bring attention to the threat to religious liberty caused by the U.S. government’s increasing encroachment into the private religious lives of its citizens.

It was a direct response to the National Day of Prayer—a day that violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it requires federal, state, and local governments to fund religious ceremonies on this day. On this day, secularists, humanists, and atheists can come together and enjoy a celebration dedicated to reason and not one devoted to any established faith or religion.

The History of National Day of Reason

This holiday was first created in 2003 as a way to provide people with an alternative to the National Day of Prayer and to oppose religious intrusion into all spheres of the U.S. government. It was created by a partnership between the American Humanist Association and the Washington Area Secular Humanists. It continues to be observed to this day.

Principles of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment

The U.S. Constitution clearly states that the U.S. government should not infringe on the religious liberties of its citizens by intruding into the sphere of individual religious practice. Below are some of the points made in this Amendment that relate to the National Day of Reason.

  • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.
  • Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
  • Congress shall not abridge the freedom of speech or of the press.
  • Congress shall not abridge the freedom of the people to peaceably assemble.
  • Congress shall not abridge the right of the American people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Observing National Day of Reason

There are a variety of different ways that a person can observe this holiday. The first thing they can do is to encourage the support of this holiday by working with their local and state government to have a Day of Reason proclaimed at the local and state levels. Businesses and organizations can also hold press conferences to promote respect for the First Amendment and the idea of separation of church and state.

People can also use the hashtag #DayOfReason or #NationalDayOfReason to promote this holiday on social media. Of course, the above methods of observing this holiday are not the only ways to celebrate. People can also take time out of their day to do something for their fellow man.

People can set up food drives or blood drives, or engage in other activities meant for the common good of all people. Those opposed to the intrusion of the government into religious activities can also use this day to protest against the government. It’s also a good day for parents to talk about the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and what it means.

When is it?
This year (2024)
May 2 Thursday
Next year (2025)
May 1 Thursday
Last year (2023)
May 4 Thursday
Culture & History