National Day of Reason Meta-Packet
The National Day of Reason is not just an inversion of the National Day of Prayer; rather, it is a day for atheists and humanists to try and undo the damage that religion has done. For the imposed silence of non-Christian viewpoints, atheists seek to make themselves visible; for the inappropriate establishment of religion, humanists seek to reinforce and strengthen the wall between state and church; and for the millions of hands idled by prayer and dogma, freethinkers try to do their part in repairing the world.
Although practiced independently by groups and individuals across the country, many National Day of Reason activities are coordinated by the American Humanist Association and Washington Area Secular Humanists. The lists NDR events nationwide; if you are planning something, register it on the website!
Your Event - How Can I Make This the Best National Day of Reason Ever?
The National Day of Reason is a great time to focus on the SSA's four core areas: community, education, activism, and service. To that end, there are an almost unlimited number of things you can do:
- One of the most common and best NDR activities is hosting a blood drive, or going as a group to give blood.
- Many groups take this day to picket and protest state and local governments for separation of state and church. This can include a Humanist Advocacy Day, wherein your members can directly lobby legislators and public officials to promote science education, state/church separation, and other freethought issues.
- Urge your mayor or local council to issue a proclamation on the need for reason, critical inquiry, and the scientific method. Some groups have even been able to perform a secular invocation at their city councils.
- Host a speaker or debate on the separation of church and state, the (in)efficacy of prayer, the problem of faith-based initiatives, and other topics.
- Any sort of party, wild bash or madcap romp is acceptable. Think about having an ice cream social for freethinkers and other advocates for a secular society. (With options for vegans and the lactose-intolerant, or course).
- Conduct a letter-writing campaign to get campus members to promote secular government and freethought issues.
Whatever your plans are, be sure to register your event on the NDR website !
Some examples of great NDR events past:
- The Atheist Volunteer website has a counter comparing blood donations to prayers answered. Who do you think is in the lead?
- In 2005, freethinkers in New Orleans got Mayor Ray Nagin to sign a NDR proclamation. In 2008, they did themselves one better by getting the proclamation signed by the entire city council, and performed a secular invocation before them.
- In 2006, student and off-campus freethought groups protested the National Day of Prayer ceremony held on the State House lawn. In addition to carrying signs with pro-separation quotes from people ranging from James Madison to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the peaceful group handed out literature and had civil conversations with many folks walking by the State House.
- A general introduction to hosting a Blood Drive is included in our activity packet.
- Ideas and tips for putting together a Service Project are included in our activity packet.
- For information on Lobbying and Political Advocacy , including letter-writing campaigns and passing proclamations, see our packet.
- The SSA has a number of resources for hosting speakers, debates, and panels. Our Speakers and Debate Resource Guide lists both our resources and those hosted elsewhere. For ideas on how to host an Ask-an-Atheis t Panel , take a look at that activity packet.
- More ideas on holiday activities generally can be found in our packet on Secular Holiday Activities.