National Day of Reason

Today is the National Day of Reason. To explain what it is about, here is a quote from their web site:

Many who value the separation of religion and government have sought an appropriate response to the federally-supported National Day of Prayer, an annual abuse of the constitution. Nontheistic Americans (including freethinkers, humanists, atheists, agnostics, and deists), along with many traditionally religious allies, view such government-sanctioned sectarianism as unduly exclusionary.

A consortium of leaders from within the community of reason endorsed the idea of a National Day of Reason. This observance is held in parallel with the National Day of Prayer, on the first Thursday in May each year (May 7th in 2009). The goal of this effort is 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.

Sounds like something worth supporting to me! This is a great opportunity for my American readers to show their support of the secular values that America was founded on—not Christian values is as commonly thought. I find it highly offensive and very misleading that the National Day of Prayer web site uses what looks like a characterisation of George Washington kneeling in prayer in their banner.

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National Day of Reason — NDR or NDOR? This sounds like a delightful new holiday to me. It would make a good day off work about this time of year, which has few holidays, and also a good time for the well-to-do to roll out the decorations and refreshments in the public parks. Well, even if ALL public workers might not end up getting it off, I think it should at least be a BANKING HOLIDAY, in light of world history over the past year.

  
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I saw Bill Maher’s flilm Religulous a few weeks back and he mentions that the Founding Fathers were much more skeptical about religion than most of those who invoke their memory. Benjamin Franklin spoke dismissively about religion, and I believe that he said Thomas Jefferson actually rewrote the Bible with all the references to divinity and the supernatural taken out.

  
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Let us spray.

  
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I personally would hope that the other 364 days would be National Days of Reason.

However, the original resolution by Congress in 1952 states:
“The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.”

The “task force” that is this organization is not publicly funded, and has taken the task of “unifying the Judeo-Christian tradition” upon itself.

As is stated in the paragraph below the historical footnote:
Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

So the only “recognized” status it has is that it is a Not-For-Profit Organization like any other religious organization can apply for.

This information is found on their “about” page:
http://www.ndptf.org/about/index.cfm

While this organization’s goal is to “edge out” other religions, which is hypocritical and goes against the actual spirit and intent of the national day of prayer idea of national unity and hope for the benefit of the country, the actual history of this type of gesture of “religious unity for the benefit of the nation” is part of the US National history.

Here is a relatively inclusive history, as well as the actual invocations of the day by a wide variety of religious groups throughout the religious pantheon and held in high regard by many presidents Federalist/Anti-federalist, Republican, and Democrat alike.

Again this religious “Task Force” which was founded in 1972, is not federally funded, nor affiliated with the US government in any way other than it is recognized as National Day, like
Mayday, May 1st – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day
Speak Like a Pirate Day, Sept 19th – http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html
Chocolate Eclair Day June 22nd -
http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/June/chocolateeclair.htm

1972: The National Prayer Committee was created. It is an Evangelical Christian organization. The National Day of Prayer Task Force is a project of that committee.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/day_pray2.htm

I think the actual best response to this day from an atheist would be “Who cares?” because, what harm are a bunch of people wishing the people of the country well in their own congregational methodologies. Is this a threat to our freedoms, or our personal beliefs (positive or negative)?
As a paraphrase of the video commenter from “Door to Door Atheism” said, as long as you don’t come knocking on my door on the first Thursday of May or any other time for that matter, who cares what you do with your own time?

  
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“..the National Day of Prayer web site uses what looks like a characterisation of George Washington kneeling in prayer..”
just went to this site for first (and likely the only) time, and it really does look that way, clever.

the UK would probably also benefit from a “National Day of Reason”, given that one Johan Hari (columnist for ‘The Independent’ national newspaper) wrote an article today entitled “Dear God, stop brainwashing children” in which he says (quote) ‘..British law requires every schoolchild to participate in “an act of collective worship” every 24 hours.’.
child abuse IMO.

  
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I don’t know why my other post is being held up for moderation, but if you want to see what the overall importance of the “National day of…” really has look at this link, and see that every day of the year has some “national” significance.
http://www.brownielocks.com/month2.html

In my previous post, I wanted to make clear that this “National Day of Prayer task force” notion is a ruse by this not-for-profit, privately funded evangelical christian organization to make it look like it is more important than it is.
In the about section of their website it says what they really are:
http://www.ndptf.org/about/index.cfm
They are not federally funded, and have no connection to the government. If they did, they would have the ending web extension .gov, instead of .org which they currently have.

Also, below is an actual history and what role this idea is really meant to play in the tolerance of all religions in the US.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/day_pray2.htm

As for the columnist from the UK, well I don’t think, besides “God save the Queen!” or some relics of social protocols that much of anything is directly related to the Anglican or any other church at this time.
However this organization seems to think it is of great importance:
http://www.christian.org.uk/html-publications/schoolcu.htm
scroll down about 40 lines. It describes the 1988 Education reform act and the importance of this statement (to this religious organization).

Of course from all of the sites remarking on the UK’s 10 minute per school day prayer session, it seems that for the most part no one gave it much thought, or thought of it as a nussiance, much like the reciting of the pledge of allegiance in the US. It was a formality of the school day, not an admission of recognition of “God”, or even much of an “Oath”.

I am however glad that this tradition has been removed from much of America’s classrooms at all age levels.

  
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@Akacra – When you have a lot of links in your comments, WordPress will send it to the moderation queue, on the suspicion that it might be spam. This isn’t normally a problem, as we simply approve them, but for some reason your comments have gone back to the moderation queue after they were approved (twice now). I’m have no idea why – did anything usunual happen when you posted them?

Anyway, we’ve raised the link limit to 8, so hopefully your comments won’t go to moderation again.

  
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Thanks for the explanation.
The issue might be occurring, because I added links to my posting when I went back and edited my post. Thanks for upping the limit of the imbedded links also, as I include them with the hope that people will follow back to the sources of my stances on these issues.

  
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Oh and the “image” of George Washington in prayer on the “Task force for a National Day of Prayer” website is taken from Arnold Friberg’s 1976 (original painting) (1992 Reprinting): The Prayer at Valley Forge, inspired by Washington’s quotation:
“I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them into His Holy keeping.”
– George Washington
http://www.christcenteredmall.com/stores/art/friberg/the_prayer_at_valley_forge_open_editions.htm
As the link shows, this is a Christian oriented artist, trying to add to the mythos surrounding one of our founding fathers. Like many mythos, however the historical veracity of this event and/or the inspiration of the painting may not be as “truthful” as it sounds.
http://hartbrad.blogspot.com/2009/03/did-george-washington-pray-at-valley.html
In fact it may just be another yarn like the one about George Washington chopping down the cherry tree as a youth:
http://americanhistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/washingtonscherrytree

  
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@Akacra – It’s good to know your comments went back to moderation for a proper reason! :-)

It seems this George washington kneeling in prayer BS is yet another example of the complete lies religious leaders are willing to perpetrate to support their cause. What about “thou shalt not lie”? ;-)

  
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With the bus ads reading “Atheism – celebrate reason” atheists have, again, come very close to quoting that which the Bible has stated for almost 3,000 years, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD (Isaiah 1:18).

Also, the supposed most erudite atheist in the world are gathering in Australia for their convention while refusing to debate Christians:
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-34463-Albuquerque-Christian-Apologetics-Examiner~y2010m3d4-Atheism–celebrate-reason-while-absconding-from-reasoning

Reason? No, merely self-aggrandizing and self-professed pseudo-erudition.

  
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Boy oh boy, theists can come up with the most ridiculous things. Do you want to debate atheists at a Christian convention? Is there even any expectation that you should do so? Of course not. There are a gazillion events for theists to attend where they won’t be disturbed by anyone, but as soon as atheists have a single get together, insecure theists just can’t take it, and what to crash their party.

And the Bible simply saying “let’s reason together” is a whole different matter from actually doing it.

  
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freeway-ruddily