National Day of Reason

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National Day of Reason
Observed by United States secular humanists
Date First Thursday in May
2014 date May 1  (2014-05-01)
2015 date May 7  (2015-05-07)
2016 date May 5  (2016-05-05)
2017 date May 4  (2017-05-04)
Frequency annual
Related to
A National Day of Reason protest in Oklahoma City

The National Day of Reason is a secular celebration for humanists, atheists, and other secularists and freethinkers in response to the National Day of Prayer, a legal holiday in the United States.[1][2] The day is celebrated on the first Thursday in May of every year, to coincide with the National Day of Prayer, which many atheist and secular groups view to be unconstitutional.


The National Day of Reason was created by the American Humanist Association and the Washington Area Secular Humanists in 2003.[3] In addition to serving as a holiday for constitutionalists and secularists, the National Day of Reason was created in response to the perceived unconstitutionality of the National Day of Prayer. According to the organizers of the National Day of Reason, the National Day of Prayer, "violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution because it asks federal, state, and local government entities to set aside tax dollar supported time and space to engage in religious ceremonies".[4]


Several organizations associated with the National Day of Reason have organized food drives and blood donations, while other groups have called for an end to prayer invocations at city meetings.[5][6][7] Other organizations, such as the Oklahoma Atheists and the Minnesota Atheists, have organized local secular celebrations as alternatives to the National Day of Prayer.[8] Additionally, many individuals affiliated with these atheistic groups choose to protest the National Day of Prayer.[9]


  1. ^ Lucy Madison (May 5, 2011). "National Day of Prayer sparks celebrations, protests". CBS News. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  2. ^ National Day of Reason Celebrated as an Alternative to National Day of Prayer American Humanist Association Press Release
  3. ^ National Day of Reason History
  4. ^ National Day of Reason
  5. ^ National Day of Reason Events
  6. ^ Center For Positive Atheism
  7. ^ Janet Zinc (May 6, 2010). "On National Day of Prayer, atheists renew call to end invocations at Tampa city meetings". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ Minnesota Atheists Day of Reason
  9. ^ "National Day of Reason May 5, 2011". Retrieved May 7, 2011. 

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