Following in the footsteps of former colleague Pete Stark, Rep. Mike Honda has spoken out on behalf of a “National Day of Reason” this Thursday, May 2, to counter the government-sponsored National Day of Prayer.
“The National Day of Reason celebrates the application of reason and the positive impact it has had on humanity,” Honda, D-San Jose, declared in the Congressional Record last Thursday. “It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the Constitutional separation of religion and government.”
The American Humanist Association says support from Honda and from Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., is particularly notable this year in light of the recent controversy over the refusal to include secular representation at the official memorial service honoring the victims of the recent Boston bombings.
The group says the National Day of Prayer Task Force’s state purpose to represent “a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance” is exclusionary.
“Our elected officials dishonor their office and their constituents when they promote and attend divisive events that tell a growing minority of Americans that they aren’t worthy of full citizenship,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt said in a news release. “Our secular government has no business endorsing expression of some beliefs while excluding others.”
The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by an act of Congress to be held each year on the first Thursday of May. The AHA created the National Day of Reason “to celebrate reason — a concept all Americans can support — and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.”
Stark – who was Congress’ only avowed atheist, and who was unseated last year by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell – had issued several National Day of Reason proclamations while in office. Honda describes his religious belief as Protestant Christian.