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The American Humanist Association and the Washington Area Secular Humanists sponsor the National Day of Reason, which started in 2003. The National Day of Prayer is a tradition dating back to the early 1950s during the Truman administration, held annually on the first Thursday in May.

Nebraska and Rhode Island declared national days of reason, while Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting congressional representative, asked the National Day of Reason to be recognized this week on the House floor, saying reason and religious belief need not be in conflict.

“This day provides an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the positive impacts on humanity of reason, critical thought and the scientific method, which have always been acknowledged to be consistent with religious faith, and to reaffirm that the line between religion and government must remain indelible.”

Meredith Somers covers issues of faith and religion. She can be reached at