Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2012-03-06
March 6: Michelangelo (1475)

It was on this date, March 6, 1475, that Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, and architect Michelangelo was born. Early on, his talent was recognized and he was employed by many famous clerics and political families, most notably the Medici’s, Pope Julius II (dramatized in the 1965 film, The Agony and the Ecstasy), and Pope Leo […]

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2012-03-05
March 5: Penn Jillette (1955)

It was on this date, March 5, 1955, that birthday of magician and author Penn Jillette was born. You probably know him as the speaking half of the comedy/magic team Penn & Teller – the 6'6" co-host of the Showtime cable series “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” which exposes frauds and fakes, such as talking to […]

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2012-03-04
March 4: Superstition, Brutality and Pope Eugene IV (1431)

It was on this date, March 4, 1431, that Gabriello Condulmaro was elected by God’s agents to become the head of the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Eugene IV. It is important to remember that 1431, during the Hundred Years War, is the same year in which 19-year-old Joan of Arc was tried and executed […]

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2012-03-03
March 3: Ira Glass (1959)

It was on this date, March 3, 1959, that radio host Ira Glass was born in Baltimore, MD, into a conservative Jewish family. In November of 1995, the award-winning radio show for which Glass is known as producer and host, “This American Life,” made its debut on WBEZ, Chicago. The next year it was picked […]

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2012-03-02
March 2: Leo XIII (1810)

It was on this date, March 2, 1810, that the man who would become Pope Leo XIII was born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci. Ordained in 1837, and created cardinal in 1853, he was an aggressive exponent of the religious philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. This perhaps explains why, becoming pope in 1878, chiefly because he […]

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2012-03-02
March 2: Mikhail S. Gorbachev (1931)

It was on this date, March 2, 1931, that former Soviet Union President, and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Михаил Сергеевич Горбачëв) was born. Baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church, Gorbachev was reared an atheist under the Soviet system. He became the first General Secretary of the Soviet Union to be born after the […]

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2012-03-01
March 1: William Dean Howells (1837)

It was on this date, March 1, 1837, that American writer, historian, editor and founder of the “naturalist” movement in fiction, William Dean Howells, was born. Howells became an editor at age 21, began writing poetry shortly thereafter, but achieved his first success with an 1860 Life of Lincoln. Howells cast off his Swedenborgian creed […]

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2012-03-01
March 1: William M. Gaines (1922)

It was on this date, March 1, 1922, that American publisher and founder of MAD Magazine, William M. Gaines was born. Gaines became a comic book publisher literally by accident when, in 1947, his father, a comic book publisher, died in a freak boating accident. Gaines invented the black-and-white, self-deprecating satire magazine, MAD, in the […]

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2012-02-28
February 28: Michel de Montaigne (1533)

It was on this date, February 28, 1533, that French essayist Michel de Montaigne was born. As his famous Essays were published, the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Massacre was a fresh memory in France, so Montaigne professed to be a Catholic. Yet he made some risky statements in his most famous work: • Man is certainly […]

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2012-02-27
February 27: Ernest Renan (1823)

It was on this date, February 27, 1823, that French scholar Joseph Ernest Renan was born. Destined for the priesthood, and having taken minor orders, Renan gave up those studies after reading German philosophy. He remained a Pantheist throughout his life. But he angered the clergy and lost this position by publishing his Life of […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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November 14: Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru (1889) It was on this date, November 14, 1889, that the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru (Hindi: जवाहरलाल नेहरू; Urdu: جواهر لال نهرو), was born in Allahabad, central India, the son of a successful and politically active Hindu lawyer. He grew up in a wealthy family under the British occupation […]



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