Atheist ‘Day of Reason’ Celebration to be Held at the State Capitol
St. Paul, MN, April 21, 2010 — Minnesota Atheists, a positive atheist organization that actively promotes secular values through participation in public affairs, educational programs, and social activities, plans for the fifth consecutive year to celebrate a Day of Reason as a secular alternative to the religious Day of Prayer event to be held simultaneously on the front capital steps. As an educational event for legislators and the public, Day of Reason will be held on Thursday, May 6 from noon to 1:00 pm in the Rotunda of the State Capitol.
The theme for 2010’s Day of Reason is “Keeping Government Secular Helps Everyone.” Representatives from various atheist and humanist organizations in Minnesota plan to add their insights on the topic. Participating speakers include: Minnesota Atheists; the Humanists of Minnesota; American Atheists; Atheists for Human Rights; Central Minnesota Friends Free of Theism; Red River Freethinkers; Freethought Toastmasters; Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists (CASH); Canon Falls Freethinkers; Rochester Area Freethinkers; the Society for Atheism, Non-Religion, and Agnosticism (SANRA) at St. Olaf College.
Similar Day of Reason events are being held around the country to call attention to the violation of the separation of church and state represented by the Congressionally-endorsed Day of Prayer. Last week a District Court in Wisconsin found the Congressional Act mandating the Day of Prayer to be in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.
“Private organizations are free to proclaim and celebrate a Day of Prayer, but it’s not something the government should either endorse or condemn. That is what is meant by separation of church and state.” – August Berkshire, President of Minnesota Atheists
“When Congress created the National Day of Prayer Task Force it placed the unmistakable stamp of Christianity on the Day of Prayer activities. The government-endorsed call to Christian prayer is an affront to the many Americans of other faiths as well as those who believe in no supernatural deities. Our founding fathers recognized that government is unqualified to be the arbiter of religious orthodoxy, and so created special protection for the religious conscience of the individual citizen.” – George Kane, Minnesota Atheists Chair