Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed a proclamation declaring May 1 a state “Day of Reason.”
The new state holiday was initiated by the Humanists of Rhode Island and the Secular Coalition for Rhode Island, two “nontheist,” humanist groups. The day will coincide with the National Day of Reason, according to the groups, which also happens to coincide with the National Day of Prayer, originally instituted by Congress in 1952.
The main goal of the Day of Reason is to raise awareness of the “persistent threat” to the separation of church and state. Gov. Chafee wrote in the proclamation that reason has has “proven to offer hope for human survival upon Earth by cultivating intelligent, moral and ethical interaction among people.”
The two groups wrote in a press release that the day is meant to “strengthen the secular character” of government.
“The Secular Coalition for Rhode Island and the Secular Coalition for America share the common mission to increase the visibility of and respect for non-theistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all.”
The press release also defines humanism as “a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.’’
According to a spokeswoman for the governor, Chafee signed a similar proclamation last year.