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  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.


There are 4 entries for this date: Lilian Leland , Oscar Wilde , Eugene O'Neill and Mary Daly

Lilian Leland

On this date in 1857, Lilian Leland was born in the United States. The daughter of freethinkers, she traveled 60,000 miles alone around the world at the age of 25 for nearly two years, starting with a voyage around Cape Horn. Her mother, Mary A. Leland, was one of the first women to study medicine in the United States and lectured on anatomy as early as 1852. Her father, Theron C. Leland, was a popular lecturer in the Liberal League. Lilian was brought up to play chess and read widely, conceiving her plan to travel after reading "Merchant of Venice." She wrote a book about her travels, A Woman's Journey Around the World (1890), and married the son of Stephen Pearl Andrews, abolitionist and freethinker.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

On this date in 1854, writer Oscar Wilde was born in Ireland. He studied at Trinity College on a scholarship. In 1874, Wilde was awarded a scholarship to Oxford. His first book of poems was published in 1881, and he spent a year lecturing on aesthetics in the United States. Wilde married in 1884 and fathered two sons, working for a magazine and writing children's stories. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in 1890. This was followed by his successful plays: Lady Windermere's Fan, opening in 1892, A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), and Salome, first produced in 1894. In 1895, Wilde sued the father of his male lover for libel after Wilde was accused of homosexuality. Wilde dropped the ill-advised lawsuit, but was then charged criminally and convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years' hard labor. His health was broken by the ordeal. He wrote "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" about it in 1898. Penniless, he moved to the continent, where he died of meningitis. On his deathbed, the lifelong skeptic, who had written "it is better for the artist not to live with popes" ("The Soul of Man Under Socialism") converted to Roman Catholicism, a gesture perhaps imputed to his brain condition. Master of the epigram, Wilde is known for such one-liners as, "To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." "I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability." "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it." "He hasn't a single redeeming vice." "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." Of religion, Wilde wrote: "A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it." "Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived."--The Critic as Artist, 1891. "There is no sin except stupidity."--The Critic as Artist. Wilde was reputed to have said on his deathbed: "Either that wallpaper goes or I do." D. 1900.

“Science is the record of dead religions.”

—Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young, 1894

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O'Neill

On this date in 1888, Eugene O'Neill was born in New York City in a hotel on Broadway, the third son of popular actor James O'Neill. As a youngster he traveled with his father, then was sent to a Catholic boarding school. O'Neill entered Princeton in 1906. After he was expelled, he set off on adventures prospecting for gold in Honduras, working as a sailor and a variety of other jobs. While recovering from a bout of tuberculosis, O'Neill, influenced by his reading of Ibsen and other dramatists, determined to become a playwright. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, and four Pulitzer Prizes for Beyond the Horizon (1920), Anna Christie (1922), Strange Interlude (1928) Long Day's Journey into Night, written in 1939, but awarded posthumously in 1957. Some of his other works include: Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), More Stately Mansions (1935-41), The Iceman Cometh (1936), and A Moon for the Misbegotten (1943). O'Neill died of a debilitating neurodegenerative disease. D. 1953.

“When I'm dying, don't let a priest or Protestant minister or Salvation Army captain near me. Let me die in dignity. Keep it as simple and brief as possible. No fuss, no man of God there. If there is a God, I'll see him and we'll talk things over.”

—Eugene O'Neill, instructions to his wife quoted by biographer Louis Shaeffer, cited by Warren Allen Smith in Who's Who in Hell.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Mary Daly

Mary Daly

On this date in 1928, Mary Daly was born in Schenectady, N.Y. She graduated from the College of Saint Rose in Albany in 1950 with a degree in English and Latin. She obtained her M.A. in English from the Catholic University of America in 1952, her Ph.D. in theology from Saint Mary’s College in 1953, and Ph.D.s in theology and philosophy from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland in 1963 and 1965. She was one of the first American women to earn a degree in theology from a Catholic college. Daly was a radical feminist and theologian who taught feminist theology and ethics at Boston College from 1966 to 1999. She published eight books, including Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (1978) and Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy (1984).

In 1968, Daly wrote The Church and the Second Sex, a book examining the harm of the Catholic Church on women. “A woman's asking for equality in the church would be comparable to a black person's demanding equality in the Ku Klux Klan,” Daly wrote. She later called the book “a celebration/cerebration of my departure from the catholic church in particular and christianity in general” in her introduction to the 1985 edition of The Church and the Second Sex. She was briefly denied tenure from the Jesuit Boston College due to the book’s content. "If God is male, then male is God. The divine patriarch castrates women as long as he is allowed to live on in the human imagination," Daly is quoted as saying in Castrates: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases (2009). D. 2010

“‘God's plan' is often a front for men's plans and a cover for inadequacy, ignorance, and evil.”

—Mary Daly, Beyond God The Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation, 1973.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

© 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  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.


FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

 

FFRF privacy statement

AAI-LOGO

FFRF is a member of Atheist Alliance International.