Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
This Week in Freethought History (July 21-27)

Read about the penalty for teaching science in science class, Gregor Mendel and genetics, “Harry Potter” actor Daniel Radcliffe, Latin American liberator Simón Bolívar, groundbreaking physician Guy de Chauliac, George Bernard Shaw, Italian poet Giosuè Carducci and more …

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This Week in Freethought History (July 14-20)

Read about Ingmar Bergman, the sadistic First Crusade, Muhammad’s Hegira, Phyllis Diller, Richard Branson, Christianizing the Indians, the first movie kiss and more …

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This Week in Freethought History (July 7-13)

Read about Robert A. Heinlein, Kevin Bacon, The Báb and myth accretion, John Calvin, the Christian “fatwa” of excommunication, prayer in school, the Third Secret of Fátima revealed and more …

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This Week in Freethought History (June 30-July 6)

Read about compelling Genesis as history, actor Charles Laughton, the failure of Nostradamus, humorist Dave Barry, Italian liberator Giuseppe Garibaldi, the government-favored religion of the Salvation Army, burning Jan Hus for his opinions and more …

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This Week in Freethought History (June 23-29)

Read about Joss Whedon, religion and celibacy, Ricky Gervais, Pearl S. Buck, Lafcadio Hearn, the “Lemon Test” and Alton Lemon, forging the Papacy and more …

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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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June 24: “Sacerdotalis cælibatus” (1967): Religion and Celibacy

It was on this date, June 24, 1967, that Pope Paul VI promulgated the encyclical Sacerdotalis Cælibatus, The Celibacy of the Priest, reaffirming the that the “brilliant jewel” of priestly celibacy must remain a Roman Catholic command. To be celibate, as the term was originally understood, means to be unmarried, as distinguished from being chaste, […]

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June 23: Edgardo Mortara “spared” from Judaism (1858)

It was on this date, June 23, 1858, that 6-year-old Edgardo Mortara was kidnapped from his Jewish parents in Bologna, Italy, by agents of the Inquisition, under the Dominican Father (Pier Gaetano) Feletti. The parents, Momolo and Marianna Mortara, later learned that their Christian maid, Anna Morsi, had secretly baptized the boy when he was […]

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June 22: Galileo Recants (1633)

It was on this date, June 22, 1633, that Florentine-Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 to 8 January 1642) was compelled by the Roman Catholic Inquisition to recant the theory he held that the earth travels around the sun. What seems obvious to us today was unscriptural, and therefore by definition untrue, in Galileo's […]

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This Week in Freethought History (June 16-22)

Read about churches and animal cruelty, religious discrimination and the “Sherbert Test,” Alphonse Laveran, José Rizal, Salman Rushdie, Catholic “toleration” in Maryland, Jean-Paul Sartre, Galileo recanting before the Inquisition and more …

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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March 28: Daniel Dennett (1942)

It was on this date, March 28, 1942, that American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist Daniel Clement "Dan" Dennett III was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Although a researcher on the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology, Dennett is chiefly known, along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late […]

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