Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2014-01-14
January 14: Andy Rooney (1919)

It was on this date, January 14, 1919, that Andrew Aitken Rooney, who grew up to be legendary CBS News commentator Andy Rooney, was born in Albany, New York. It seems Rooney was born to be a newsman. Rooney began writing for Stars and Stripes in London after he (a pacifist who opposed the war) […]

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2013-12-29
December 29: Paula Poundstone (1959)

It was on this date, December 29, 1959, that American stand-up comedian and writer Paula Poundstone was born in Huntsville, Alabama, but grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts, where she dropped out of high school to pursue show business. Now known for her trademark suits and ties, Poundstone started doing stand-up in Boston in 1979, then […]

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2013-11-23
November 23: Jennifer Michael Hecht (1965)

It was on this date, November 23, 1965, that American poet, historian, philosopher, and author Jennifer Michael Hecht was born on Long Island, in New York. By 1995 she had earned her Ph.D. in the History of Science from Columbia University, where she now teaches poetry in the Graduate Writing Program, while also teaching poetry […]

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2013-11-13
November 13: Ayaan Hirsi Ali (1969)

It was on this date, November 13, 1969, that Somali-born American feminist and atheist activist, writer and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born Ayaan Hirsi Magan in Mogadishu, Somalia. While her father, a leading figure in the Somalian Revolution, was in prison, Ayann’s grandmother had the 5-year-old young girl’s genitals ritually cut off in what […]

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2013-10-18
October 18: Rebecca Watson (1980)

It was on this date, October 18, 1980, that American blogger and podcast host Rebecca Watson was born. Sometimes known as “The Skepchick,” Watson is the founder of the “Skepchick” blog and, from 2006, co-hosts “The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe” podcast. Watson grew up in New Jersey and earned a Bachelor of Science degree […]

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2013-08-26
August 26: Barbara Ehrenreich (1941)

It was on this date, August 26, 1941, that American feminist, democratic socialist, and political activist Barbara Ehrenreich was born Barbara Alexander in Butte, Montana, the daughter of a copper miner and a liberal Democrat. An award-winning columnist and essayist, Ehrenreich has been called “a veteran muckraker” by The New Yorker magazine for such works […]

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2013-08-15
August 15: Sylvain Maréchal (1750)

It was on this date, August 15, 1750, that French writer and political theorist Pierre Sylvain Maréchal was born in Paris. Trained as a lawyer, he found employment at the Collège Mazarin as an aide-librarian. Maréchal was an admirer of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Helvétius, and Diderot, and connected with deist and atheist authors like himself, […]

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2013-08-02
August 2: James Baldwin (1924)

It was on this date, August 2, 1924, that American writer, social critic and civil rights activist James Baldwin was born James Arthur Baldwin in Harlem, New York City, U.S.A. Known chiefly for his semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman,* Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), which examines the role of the Christian Church in the lives of […]

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2013-08-01
August 1: James Gleick (1954)

It was on this date, August 1, 1954, that American science writer James Gleick was born in New York City. A Harvard graduate, Gleick worked for ten years as an editor and reporter for the New York Times. He not only profiled many scientists for the Times, including evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, but wrote […]

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2013-06-25
June 25: Dan Barker (1949)

It was on this date, June 25, 1949, that American ex-preacher and atheist activist Dan Barker was born. A successful musician, Barker has composed over 200 songs and at least two Christian musicals for children, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (1977), and “His Fleece Was White as Snow” (1978). He was ordained a minister in […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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December 7: Pietro Mascagni

Mascagni himself had no religious belief. His biographer, Giannotto Bastianelli, says that he was a pagan even in his religious compositions.



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