Week of Action begins today! How will you #choosetoACT?


fbbcon2014-adamchalomRabbi Chalom is a founder of Week of Action, a program that Foundation Beyond Belief is organizing to encourage people to #choosetoACT this April 24th-30th, the week leading up to the National Day of Prayer and National Day of Reason (May 1st). He explains the idea and his intentions further:

Like many in the secular/Humanist/atheist world, I find a “National Day of Prayer” to be both inappropriate and unconstitutional, as well as exclusionary of those who don’t pray. However, I also found the dominant counter-program of a “National Day of Reason” to be unnecessarily insulting to the vast majority of our neighbors and friends who are religious – after all, if we represent reason, everyone who prays is irrational? After reading about an atheist group in New York who chose to do a blood drive as their counter-program, I realized that the true Humanist counterpart to “prayer” isn’t “reason;” it’s “action.” So we tried a similar initiative in my community in 2007. As one of the students at the IISHJ put it succinctly in a paper, when she was asked, “if Humanistic Jews don’t pray, what do you do?” she answered, “we DO.” If, as I wrote in 2010, there were a “national day of prayer and/or action,” where those who wanted to pray could pray, and those who wanted to act could act, everyone could feel like they were working together to improve the world, even if we see more value in doing.

The Week of Action initiative grew out of that thought process. Why try to get everyone to do something on a Thursday, when we could do our “counter-programming” the entire week leading up to that first Thursday in May? And why have only one activity, when as long as you #choosetoACT (and tweet or Facebook post with that hashtag), just about any good deed can make the world better, help you feel better, and inspire others to do better? In a few words, those are my hopes for the Week of Action – improve the world and yourself, and inspire others to do the same.

Foundation Beyond Belief is urging all humanists to do at least one good deed during Week of Action. The actions can be large or small, with groups or as individuals, and benefitting entire communities or a single person. Groups or individuals who are organizing an event that others can attend should register them on the Week of Action website. Plans or ideas for good deeds, summaries of Week of Action activities, and pictures can be posted on Facebook. Humanists can also tweet about their plans and deeds @weekofaction using the tag #choosetoACT. Interfaith activities (i.e., those that include believers and nonbelievers) are also encouraged, to fight the exclusivity that the National Day of Prayer represents.