Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2011-09-19
September 19: Religious Persuasion by Torture

Giles Corey Pressed to Death (1692): Churches and Torture It was on this date, September 19, 1692, during the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts colony, that sentence was carried out on Giles Corey (or Choree or Cory) that he be pressed to death for witchcraft. Corey was a prosperous farmer and 80 years old – […]

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2011-09-18
September 18: Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski (1933) It was on this date, September 18, 1933, that director Roman Polanski was born Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański in Paris to Polish Jewish parents, neither of whom practiced their religion seriously. The family got caught in Poland as the Nazis overran the country. Polanski's mother, a Roman Catholic, died in the concentration […]

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2011-09-17
September 17: Marquis de Condorcet

Marquis de Condorcet (1743) It was on this date, September 17, 1743, that French mathematician and political philosopher Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet, was born in Ribemont, Picardy, France. His father died early, so his mother, a very devout woman, had Condorcet educated at Jesuit Colleges in Reims and at the Collège […]

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2011-09-15
September 15: William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft (1857) It was on this date, September 15, 1857, that the 27th US President, William Howard Taft, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of a Unitarian. As he grew up, in the late 1850s, Dr. Moncure D. Conway, author of The Life of Thomas Paine, was his church minister. Taft graduated […]

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2011-09-14
September 14: The Woman Rebel, Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger (1879) It was on this date, September 14, 1879, that Margaret Sanger, the founder of the modern birth control movement and the organization that later became Planned Parenthood, was born Margaret Louise Higgins in Corning, New York. She was the sixth of eleven children: her mother died at 50 after eighteen pregnancies and […]

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2011-09-13
September 13: The Religious Tolerance of Roger Williams

Roger Williams Banished (1635): Separation of Church and State It was on this date, September 13, 1635, that Separatist preacher Roger Williams, aged about 32, was banished by the Massachusetts General Court for perpetually advocating religious tolerance and separation of church and state.[1] For denouncing the Massachusetts Bay Company charter, and for holding "divers new […]

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2011-09-12
September 12: H. L. Mencken

H.L. Mencken (1880) It was on this date, September 12, 1880, that the "Bard of Baltimore," Henry Louis Mencken – H.L. Mencken – was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His father was an Agnostic, his mother a Lutheran, and Mencken grew up with a disdain for all orthodoxies, especially Christian. In a letter to historian Will […]

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2011-09-10
September 10: Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould (1941) It was on this date, September 10, 1941, that "One of the most influential evolutionary biologists of the 20th century and perhaps the best known since Charles Darwin"[1] - Stephen Jay Gould - was born. He grew up in New York City, graduated from Antioch College and in 1967 earned his […]

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2011-09-09
September 9: The “Red Eminence” and Religion

Cardinal Richelieu (1585) It was on this date, September 9, 1585, that Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu et de Fronsac, who achieved prominence during the reign of French King Louis XIII as Cardinal Richelieu, was born in Paris, the son of Maria de' Medici. Originally trained for a military career, his brother's resignation […]

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2011-09-08
September 8: Pledge of Allegiance … to God?

Pledge of Allegiance Published (1892) It was on this date, September 8, 1892, that the issue of The Youth's Companion, containing the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance to the US flag, was published. The author, Francis Bellamy, was a Baptist minister and a Christian Socialist. The original pledge was 22 words and said, […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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June 28: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The Supreme Being is best displayed by the fixed and unalterable order of nature." Rousseau was expelled from Geneva for "irreligion."



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