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 2 entries for this date: Upton Sinclair and Robert Emmet
Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair

On this date in 1878, Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore. As a boy, his two heroes were (the anticlerical) Shelley and Jesus Christ. Sinclair paid for his education at the College of the City of New York and Columbia University by writing for newspapers, magazines and boys' weeklies. Sinclair's sixth novel, the muckraking classic, The Jungle (1906), catapulted his literary career. The Jungle brought a presidential inquiry into stockyard regulations, and resulted in passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act and the Meat Inspection Act (1906). Raised in an Episcopalian family, Sinclair was skeptically deistic as an adult, never quite losing his boyhood admiration for the moral teachings of Jesus, but going after organized religion in his book, The Profits of Religion: An Essay in Economic Interpretation (1918). In the preface, which Sinclair wryly titled "Offertory," he explained, "This book is a study of Supernaturalism from a new point of view--as a Source of Income and a Shield to Privilege." A cursory scan of its chapters reveals its thrust: "The Priestly Lie," "The Great fear," "Priestly Empires," "Prayer-wheels," "The Butcher-Gods," "the Holy Inquisition," "Hell-fire," "Anglicanism and Alcohol," "Bishops and Beer," "Trinity Corporation," " 'Suffer Little Children,' " "God's Armor," "The Unholy Alliance," and "Riches in Glory." Sinclair was an activist socialist who ran for public office, unsuccessfully, several times. Over his lifetime, he wrote 90 books, many of them political novels. He won the Pulitzer in 1942 for Dragon's Teeth, about the rise of Nazism. D. 1968.

“There are a score of great religions in the world. . . and each is a mighty fortress of graft.”

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—Upton Sinclair's Magazine, April 1918

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Robert Emmet

Robert Emmet

On this date in 1803, Robert Emmet, the Irish patriot and infidel, was hanged. Born in 1778 to a Protestant family, he attended Trinity College in Dublin, until he joined the United Irishmen. He fled to France in 1800 after the Irish Rebellion of 1798 was crushed. There Emmet became a Deist and met Napoleon and Talleyrand. For organizing an aborted uprising against the British upon his return to Ireland in 1803, Emmet was condemned to death. Refusing to permit a priest's ministrations, Emmet called out on his way to the scaffold that he was "an infidel by conviction," according to the History of the Irish Rebellion by Maxwell. (Source: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists by Joseph McCabe.)

Compiled by Annie Laurie 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  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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