Rep. Pete Stark, the only open atheist in Congress (I’m sure there are more, but they pretend not to be to preserve their political careers), has issued a statement in support of the National Day of Reason, a counterpoint to the National Day of Prayer. The NDR is today.
MR. STARK: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Thursday, May 3, 2012 as the 2012 National Day of Reason.
The National Day of Reason celebrates the application of reason and the positive impact it has had on humanity. It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the Constitutional separation of religion and government.
On March 24th, I was proud to address the tens of thousands of Americans who gathered on the Mall for the Reason Rally. These individuals came from all around the country to deliver a simple message: reason must be the guiding principle of our democracy. In a nation of citizens from so many different backgrounds and beliefs, the only way we can solve our problems is through cultivating intelligent, moral, and ethical interactions among all people.
Our nation faces many problems—bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, creating jobs, educating our children, and protecting our safety net from irresponsible cuts. We will solve these issues through the application of reason. We must also protect women’s reproductive choices, the integrity of scientific research, and our public education system from those who would hide behind religious dogma to undermine them.
Finally, the National Day of Reason is about taking time to improve our communities. Every year, events are held on this day that demonstrate the desire of secular Americans to help their fellow citizens and our nation as a whole. Community service events, such as food drives and blood drives, are just some of the ways that people will be working to help those in need on the Day of Reason and throughout the year.
I encourage everyone to join in observing this day and focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thinking, the scientific method, and free inquiry to improve our world and our nation.
The most remarkable thing about this statement, said on the floor of the House, is that it’s so remarkable. We hear statements every day from legislators about how all our problems would be solved if we would just pray more, or follow the Bible. It’s pretty incredible to hear a legislator say no, we will solve our problems only by the application of reason. And he’s right.