For the second year in a row, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has issued a proclamation on the House floor recognizing the National Day of Reason, a celebration intended as a secular alternative to the National Day of Prayer.

"The National Day of Reason celebrates the application of reason and the positive impact it has had on humanity," Stark said last Friday. "It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the Constitutional separation of religion and government."

"Our nation faces many problems—bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, creating jobs, educating our children, and protecting our safety net from irresponsible cuts," he continued. "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."

The National Day of Reason was promoted by the American Humanist Association and the Secular Coalition for America. The yearly celebration occurs on the first Thursday of May, the same day as the National Day of Prayer.

“Reason should be the guiding force for public policy,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The National Day of Prayer excludes millions of Americans who choose not to pray or prefer keeping prayer private. Reason is something that everyone can celebrate.”

Congress established the National Day of Prayer in 1952 and every President has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation since then.

[Image via Andrew Hecht, Creative Commons licensed]