The Mayor of State College, Pennsylvania Also Issued a Day of Reason Proclamation!

I’m a day late to this, but after pointing out that leaders of three cities and one state had issued proclamations about the Day of Reason, I heard that another mayor did the same thing (but didn’t get any publicity for it).

Elizabeth Goreham, the mayor of State College, Pennsylvania, issued a proclamation, too!

A portion of the text reads:

WHEREAS, the application of reason, more than any other means, has proven to offer hope for human survival upon Earth, improving the conditions of our planet, and cultivating intelligent, moral and ethical interactions among people and their environments, and

WHEREAS, most citizens of State College 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,

I love that one bit — “Whereas, most citizens… purport to value reason and its application…” It’d be funnier if it wasn’t so depressing. (How is it not “all citizens”?)

Anyway, still an awesome gesture. Credit for making that happen goes to the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association, Nittany Freethought, and local Unitarian Universalist HUUmanists groups.

They even sent Mayor Goreham a thank you card signed by many of the groups’ members:

Moral of the story: It’s not hard to get your mayor to do this! Just ask them well in advance, copy the text from some of the other proclamations, and raise hell if they say no :)

(Thanks to Brian and Chuck for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://deusdiapente.blogspot.com/ JQuinton

    I bet this really upset the Willard Preacher

    • Josie

      This made me chuckle. Is he still there? I wish I had freed my mind a little sooner so I could’ve had some fun with this guy back when I was there.

  • Shanti

    Not in a million fuckin years would the mayor of Gilbert AZ do this!  But I’m going to try anyhow!!

  • youdonknow

    This hits close to home for me; most of my cousins went to Penn State, as did my father. I did not. One of those cousins who did Not go to PSU, the sister of two PhD’s who did, stood in my yard one day and told me I’m going to Hell for all eternity. She actually said these words verbatim:

    “Do you really think scientists know why the sun stays up in the sky?”

    I bet her two brothers do, but that’s lost on her.

    I’m grim and alone and pi**ed off and depressed (so they tell me) that I have to choose to satisfy my conscience and reason OR satisfy so many of my “friends” or family who live so comfortably without it.

    I’m troubled that I’m often alone and almost always at odds with nearly everybody; they seem to have become comfortable with things that don’t make sense. I insist that is the problem, and that’sw here we part ways.

    I wish that reason, logic and healthy doses of skepticism were as integral to the thinking of a lot more people.

    I think that this world is in the world of trouble it is in because for all our bragging that we are the “smartest” animal on the planet, there are too many people who are comfortable taking that for granted, or giving it back.

    If more people had the courage of Elizabeth Goreham, and the intellectual integrity that she demonstrated with this proclamation…well, then there may be hope.

  • Annie

    Would you remind us early next year?  I think my mayor would do this in a heartbeat… I just didn’t think about it early enough to set up a meeting or write a letter.

    The frame is a lovely touch!

  • fireworksgal

    Thank you, Mayor Gorham.  I’m sure you’ve made Bill Welch priud!

  • dauntless

    More impressive when considering Pennsylvania is the Alabama of the north. I live near State College and run into religious intolerance every day.

  • Laurance

    Well!  What a delight to check into Planet Atheism and find Hemant’s blog talking about the Day of Reason here in central Pennsylbama.  My name is on that thank you card, but you can’t see it because it’s on the side of the card that is beyond the photograph.

    Now, what also  happened is that Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation came to State College to celebrate reason with us, us being the above-mentioned PS Atheist Agnostic Association, the HUUmanists, and Nittany Freethought.  Nittany Freethought is, what, uh, the newest affiliate of the FRFF, or are we the first FRFF affilate in PA?  Anyway, Dan came to town, and being a member of the FRFF and Nittany Freethought I got to have dinner with him.  I was delighted and found him really interesting and good-hearted.

    Hemant, your ears should be burning.  Dan’s talk on Saturday evening was “Your Friendly Neighborhood Atheist”, and I said that I read the Friendly Atheist blog on Planet Atheism, and that you sound like a really nice guy, a genuinely friendly atheist.  Dan confirmed that indeed you are a good person.  You got talked about in a positive way.

    I had to miss his Friday presentation, since I had to work.  I was all excited about his two events on Sunday – and then my car broke down and I couldn’t get there.  I had to miss them!  I was so disappointed.  But I’m glad I was able to participate on Saturday.  We had the Mayor’s proclamation there.

    A buddy of mine thinks someone from the Atheist Agnostic Association may have recorded the Friday speech which I had to miss.  Anybody know if this is so or how to get to hear it?

    I see other people from the State College area have commented.  Did I miss something?  I get that the Centre Daily Squeak did quietly announce Dan’s coming, but I didn’t see any news report about the events.  On the one hand it means atheists didn’t get publicity.  OTOH, it also means that we didn’t get treated to outrageous and abusive comments to online articles about us.

  • Laurance

    This is a “me, too” post.  I was born and raised here (Dad a PSU math professor) and lived in State College for 42 years.  I had no discomfort being an atheist, I was out and open about it.  Then I moved to the Ithaca NY area, and I had no discomfort being an atheist.  I lived there for 16 years, then moved back home here, only to find that I can no longer afford State College.  Now I live in Bellefonte, and suddenly I feel like I’m living in the buckle of the bible belt.  I’m quite uncomfortable, and Nittany Freethought is a welcome haven.


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