Ft. Dodge Celebrates a National Day of Reason

This article was adapted from a letter sent to the American Humanist Association from the president of the humanist chapter at Ft. Dodge Correctional Facility.

On 5/2/19 we celebrated the National Day of Reason here at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility with our annual banquet. This year was bigger and better than our previous event. We ended up getting Mr. Lyle Simpson and his wife to join us as our guests of honor. We gave Mr. Simpson the floor as our keynote speaker, which was the main event. The guys really seemed to enjoy being able to see and speak with someone from the outside and is involved with the AHA and the secular community of Mr. Simpson’s caliber directly.

As always, I tried to focus the celebration here towards the theme of being “reasonable” to each other as a whole. With that in mind, I took great efforts to see to it that members of every belief were invited to our event. It has been one of my main objectives to move the humanist group here towards a “community” of like minded people, as opposed to a “us and them” situation that is so easily made. To start off the event, we welcomed member Charles Nicholes to the lectern. I asked him to give us a brief history of the Day of Reason, which he did admirably. Next, I spoke about being one community of people in this country. I started my speech by asking everyone in the room to raise their hands if they were American, of course, all hands were raised. Then I had them take a moment to look at those around them, because right then, at that moment, we were all the same, one people. I simply said, let’s let this one thing that unites us be the first step to finding the next and then the next, until we are truly one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Mr. Simpson was given the floor next. Those that were there had ample time to come up and meet Mr. and Mrs. Simpson and converse with them on a vast variety of topics. Our next speaker was the President of the Toastmasters group here. He told a story that tied into the start of Plato’s apology, with Socrates asking if what was being done was right just because it has always been done that way. After that, we had the co-facilitator of the Buddhist group speak briefly about the similarities between the two beliefs. Our last speaker was a newer member to our community, who is a vocal member of the LGBTQ community. I asked him to close the meeting by explaining to us the struggles the LGBTQ community is going through and how simply being reasonable to each other could solve these. He did a fine job of it.

Sarah Henry