May 1, 2012
As millions of Americans will commemorate the National Day of Prayer this Thursday (May 3), atheists will mark a day of their own -- the National Day of Reason, the Religion News Service reports. The "NDR," as it is known in the secular community, will also be held May 3, as part protest and part celebration of being "godless." Paul Fidalgo of the Center for Inquiry said: "In times of great conflict and worry, people want to look to a higher power, and I am sympathetic to that. But our day puts the focus back on people and what we can do for ourselves." Local groups plan to hold voter registration drives, lobbying training, marches and rallies. One group in Putnam, Conn., is holding a "science for reason" book exchange -- turn in a Bible and receive a free copy of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, among other titles. While the numbers participating in NDR have never equaled those of the National Day of Prayer, NDR supporters scored a victory in 2010 when a federal judge ruled the 1988 law designating the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. The victory was short-lived, however, as a higher court ruled in 2011 that government participation did not equal compulsory participation.