From noon to 1:00 on Thursday, May 5th, Minnesota Atheists will once again hold a Day of Reason rally in the State Capitol Rotunda. This is the sixth year that we have held this celebration of the separation of church and state to protest the “Day of Prayer” event held at the same time outside on the Capitol steps.
The featured speaker this year is Sandhya Bathija (pictured), who conducts communications and outreach for Americans United for Separation of Church and State . She joined the AU staff in May 2008 and writes for Church & State magazine, contributes to AU’s blog, The Wall of Separation, and educates the media and public on church-state issues. Bathija previously worked as a reporter for the legal trade publication The National Law Journal and practiced law for a small civil rights firm in Detroit. She holds a law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Other speakers will include George Kane, Chair of Minnesota Atheists; Mike Haubrich, host of Atheist Talk Radio; Grant Steves, one of our most popular speakers at past Day of Reason rallies; and Scott Lohman, president of the Humanists of Minnesota. We have also extended an invitation to Representative Phyllis Kahn, who has demonstrated long-standing support for the separation of church and state.
The National Day of Reason was instituted as a protest against the National Day of Prayer, which was established by an act of Congress in 1952, and fixed as the first Thursday in May by a law enacted in 1988. A judge in Wisconsin has declared the National Day of Prayer to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by government, but the Obama administration has filed an appeal. Enforcement of the ban on the event is stayed pending the outcome of that appeal. The National Day of Reason, to the contrary, is supported by secular groups across the country in support of separation of church and state.
Although the Day of Prayer event outside draws much larger crowds, we consistently draw equal notice in newspaper and television reports. If you are free that day, please come and join us.