Critics: Transportation Nominee Should Answer for ‘Day of Reason’ Proclamation

Fred Lucas | May 28, 2013 | 4:59pm EDT
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Charlotte Mayor and Transportation Secretary nominee Anthony Foxx (AP Photo)

( – In separate proclamations, Charlotte Mayor and Transportation Secretary nominee Anthony Foxx urged "all citizens” in his city to observe both the National Day of Prayer and a competing “Day of Reason.” The latter is supported by atheist groups who allege the federal recognition of the National Day of Prayer is not constitutional.

“Every cabinet official is a national leader beyond just their cabinet post,” Ken Klukowski, director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, told “They are in the circle of the president of the United States. They are leaders in their party, and they are potential successors to the president himself. We have the right to ask questions about Mayor Foxx’s character and motivations. Every cabinet secretary is a national leader.”

Foxx’s nomination, made by President Obama on April 29, cleared the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on May 22.

On April 30, one day after his nomination, Foxx proclaimed May 2 of this year to be the “Day of Reason” in Charlotte. He also proclaimed May 3, 2012 as the “Day of Reason.” In each case, he also issued a National Day of Prayer proclamation, which is the first Thursday of May each year.

Foxx delivers many proclamations, said Alexander Killeffer, spokesman for the Charlotte mayor’s office.

“Mayor Foxx supports the Day of Prayer and is a member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte,” Killeffer told in a statement. “The mayor’s office regularly provides proclamations for various days to community groups in Charlotte.”

The statement also showed a list of recent proclamations in April that included, “Charlotte World Parade and Festival Day,” “Fashion Meets Philanthropy Day,” “Army Reserve Day” and “Jazz Appreciate Day.”

Foxx’s “Day of Reasoning” proclamation reads the same for 2012 and 2013, except for the date.

“Whereas the application of reason, more than any other means, has proven to offer hope for human survival upon Earth, improving conditions within the universe, and cultivating intelligent, moral and ethical interactions among people and their environments;” the Foxx proclamation reads, “and Whereas, those who wrote the Constitution of the United States of America, the basic document for government the affairs of humankind within the United States, base it upon principles delineated within the philosophies distinguishing the historical Age of Reason; and Whereas, most citizens of the United States purport to value reason and its application; and Whereas, it is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to promote the development and application of reason, Now Therefore, I, Anthony R. Foxx, Mayor of Charlotte, do hereby proclaim May 2, 2013 as ‘A Day of Reason’ in Charlotte and commend its observance to all citizens.”

Foxx’s National Day of Prayer proclamation focused on the local YMCA.

“Whereas, prayer has always been a part of the American story, and today countless Americans rely on prayer for comfort, direction, and strength, praying not only for themselves, but for their communities, their country, and the world; and Whereas, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte believes that faith in the power of prayer is at the heart of our community; Whereas the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, will celebrate its 26th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast on April 30 with an inspirational morning of fellowship, music and prayer at the NASCAR Hall of Fame; Whereas, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte will also host various activities at their branches in celebration of the National Day of Prayer; Now Therefore, I, Anthony R. Foxx, Mayor of Charlotte, do hereby proclaim May 2, 2013 as the National Day of Prayer in Charlotte and commend its observance to all citizens.”

Church attendance and issuing two proclamations does not make a difference, considering the history of the “Day of Reason,” Klukowski said.

“Mayor Fox doesn’t understand you can’t support both,” Klukowski said. “It could be he is a stereotypical politician who lacks convictions and wants to have it both ways. Or, he might just want to have a foot in both camps. This is not an alternative religious holiday. This is not like a Christian politician delivering a happy Hanukah message. This day is to denigrate and attack the National Day of Prayer.”

“It has nothing to do with reason. It is just opposed to the National Day of Prayer,” Klukowski said. “It is based on the idea that prayer is not reasonable. Its supporters are people hostile to faith.”

The National Day of Reason, which is not recognized by the federal government, is co-sponsored by the American Humanist Association and the Washington Area Secular Humanist, which started the day in 2003, according to the National Day of Reason website. The day’s supporters claim the National Day of Prayer violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The National Day of Prayer, by contrast, has been recognized by law since 1952 when President Harry S. Truman signed a law requiring the declaration of the day each year. The tradition however stretches to George Washington, who as general of the colonial forces seeking independence from Britain declared May 6, 1779 “be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer to acknowledge the gracious interception of providence.” President Abraham Lincoln, on March 30, 1863, also issued a “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day.”

Commenting about the Foxx nomination and his “Day of Reason” proclamation on Fox News on the National Day of Prayer this year, Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, said, “He comes from North Carolina, which has the seventh highest church attendance. Clearly he is not running for reelection since he’s up for Transportation secretary.” She added, “Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation.”

Klukowski believes this nomination is part of a pattern for the Obama administration.

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