Mayor Rejects Darwin Day Proclamation

We’ve learned from the Mayor’s office that Mayor Berry will not be proclaiming February 12 Darwin Day in Albuquerque, as HSNM and our freethinker colleagues have .

We went out of our way to formulate proclamation language that is not controversial or confrontational, but apparently the Mayor felt otherwise. How unfortunate. In my view, Darwin Day is a unifying concept. It’s not religious, it’s not nationalistic, and it’s not something made up to sell greeting cards (though no doubt greeting cards and other commercial ventures will follow).

The Humanist Society of NM sees Darwin’s birthday anniversary as an opportunity to promote education and celebrate the contributions of science to human development. We live in a secular society, which is the ideal of the U.S. Constitution. In the objective measures of science, we are able to find a common basis on which to address the complex problems of a complex civilization. When we are able to address our mutual problems objectively, and the practicalities of life are dealt with effectively, then everyone has more freedom and security in which to pursue their particular cultural sentiments and activities.

Charles Darwin is an inspiring figure. The Mayor, in sparing himself an imagined angry backlash to a rather mild statement, has deprived the City of an opportunity to encourage our young people to study, innovate and achieve, and to acknowledge Albuquerque’s fine research and educational facilities.

With or without the proclamation, Albuquerque will be holding a birthday party for Charles Darwin. HSNM is turning our energies to promoting a Darwin Day event that is being planned by Freedom From Religion Albuquerque and the UNM Secular Student Alliance. Albuquerque Women Atheists & Freethinkers, Secular Humanists, and New Mexicans for Science & Reason are also supporting the Darwin Day event, which will be held on February 12 at 7:00 pm at the UNM SUB Ballroom.

HSNM will continue to press the Mayor for a Darwin Day proclamation in the future. If you support our efforts, please let Mayor Berry know.

— Zelda Gatuskin, HSNM President