Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

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There are 3 entries for this date: "Wall of Separation" Letter Coined , Ouida and Michel Onfray

"Wall of Separation" Letter Coined

On this date in 1802, President Thomas Jefferson coined the famous phrase describing the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as erecting "a wall of separation between church and state." He used the phrase in his famous letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, who had asked him to explain the meaning of the First Amendment's phrase, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

—President Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, Jan. 1, 1802

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Ouida

Ouida

On this date in 1839, Ouida, a woman novelist, animal rights activist and freethinker, was born. Nee Maria Louisa Rame, the British novelist rivaled Dickens, Browning and Elliot for salability on the Continent. Some actually speculated she might be George Eliot writing under yet another pseudonym. A passionate dog-lover, Ouida's enduring collection of stories, A Dog of Flanders, was recently turned into a movie. Her essay, "The Failure of Christianity," was published in 1895 in her book Views and Opinions.

“Christianity is a formula: it is nothing more.”

—Ouida, "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions (1895)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Michel Onfray

Michel Onfray

On this date in 1959, Michel Onfray was born in Argentan, Orne, France. Onfray taught philosophy in high school in Caen from 1983 to 2002. During this time he received his doctorate from the University of Caen in 1986. Onfray’s first book, Le ventre des philosophes, critique de la raison diététique (The Philosophers’ Stomach: A Critique of Dietary Reasoning) was published in 1989. Onfray has written about 50 published books, which are popular throughout France as well as other parts of Europe, Latin America and even East Asia. However, only one of Onfray’s books, Traité d’Atheologie (2005) has been published in English (as Atheist Manifesto (2007)). In 2002, Onfray founded the Université Populaire (or People’s University) in Caen, at which Onfray and others give free lectures on philosophy and other intellectual topics.

The main thrust of Onfray’s work is atheist, materialist and hedonist. Bruno Dubuc writes of Onfray on http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/, “The French author Michel Onfray may be the philosopher who best represents the hedonist tradition today. In his many works, Onfray attempts to reposition the human body at the centre of our world view. . . . Onfray specializes in a certain ancient philosophy that has been buried under 2000 years of Christianity.” In Atheist Manifesto, Onfray makes a strong case for removing all the remnants of Judeo-Christian ideology from our secular culture. Onfray is also a historian of philosophy who loves to point out why many philosophers are undeserving of our respect. He has so far published six volumes in the series La contre histoire de la philosophie (The Counter-History of Philosophy).

“I persist in preferring philosophers to rabbis, priests, imams, ayatollahs, and mullahs. Rather than trust their theological hocus-pocus, I prefer to draw on alternatives to the dominant philosophical historiography: the laughers, materialists, radicals, cynics, hedonists, atheists, sensualists, voluptuaries. They know that there is only one world, and that promotion of an afterlife deprives us of the enjoyment and benefit of the only one there is. A genuinely deadly sin.” 

—Michel Onfray, Atheist Manifesto

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


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