Freethought Almanac

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March 8: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841)

It was on this date, March 8, 1841, that The Great Dissenter on the US Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr was born. His distinction as The Great Dissenter arose from many legal dissents issued on the Supreme Court that nevertheless were incorporated into common law. Holmes once wrote (in dissent): “the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.” Throughout most of his legal life, his religious opinion can be said to have been Unitarian. It was Holmes who said to a reporter on his 90th birthday, “Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered that I was not God.”

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Originally published March 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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November 8: Émile Combes

Émile Combes and Church-State Separation (1904) It was on this date, November 8, 1904, that leftist French statesman Émile Combes introduced a bill for the separation of Church and State into the legislature of France. Born Justin Louis Émile Combes in Roquecourbe in the Tarn Départment on 6 September 1835, Combes at first studied for […]



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