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: Benito Juarez and Cenk Uygur
Benito Juarez

Benito Juarez

On this date in 1806, Benito Pablo Juarez Garcia, who becamethe 26th president of Mexico, was born in the village of San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca. His parents, both indigenous Zapotec Indians, died of diabetes-related complications when he was three, leaving Benito to be raised by his uncle. At 12, he walked 40 miles to the city of Oaxaca to move in with his sister and begin his education. Because of his obvious intelligence, he was given a place in the city’s seminary. He graduated in 1827, but decided to study law instead of joining the church. His political career began in 1831 when he became an official for the Oaxacan Town Council, representing the anti-establishment liberal party. In 1835, he was elected Liberal deputy to the federal legislature.

Garcia was elected governor of Oaxaca in 1846, and used his power to end corruption and invest in public goods, such as roads, new buildings, and new schools. He was elected president of Mexico in 1860. Jaurez’s tenure as president lasted from 1860 to 1872, five terms in total. He is noted for his dedication to the causes of the poor, particularly the impoverished indigenous people, and for focusing on education and infrastructure rather than on the Mexican military. He is also celebrated for leading a successful resistance to European takeover. Also during his time as president, he worked as a secularist with the Liberal party to dismantle the control that the Roman Catholic Church held over Mexico and the Mexican government. Under his rule, the church, which was the largest landholder in Mexico, was stripped of much of its holdings, and the Constitution of 1857 neatly severed ties between church and state in Mexico and guaranteed religious liberty for all citizens. Juarez was keenly aware of the injustices perpetrated by the church, particularly against indigenous people of Mexico, who had been treated as heretics and killed if they refused to convert to Catholicism. He famously said, “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”

Juarez was married to Margarita Maza in 1843. They had 12 children. Jaurez died of a heart attack in 1872.

 

“Priests of any cult who, abusing their ministry, excite hate or disrespect for our laws, our government, or its rights, will be punished by three years’ imprisonment or deportation.”

—-Benito Juarez in the decree of August 30, 1862

Compiled by Dayna Long

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Cenk Uygur

Cenk Uygur

On this date in 1970, Cenk Uygur was born in Istanbul, Turkey. When he was eight, his family moved to New Jersey, where he graduated from high school. Uygur majored in management at the Wharton School of Business, and later earned a J.D. from Columbia University. Uygur was raised as a not-very-strict Muslim, but lost his faith after taking a college course about Islam and reading the Quran and the Bible. He now describes himself as a secular humanist and an agnostic. Uygur worked as an attorney, then became involved in local talk radio and television news production. In 2004, Uygur created the online news talk show “The Young Turks.” In addition to internet video, the show was also broadcast on Sirius Satellite Radio until 2010. Uygur has appeared on many television networks as a commentator, including MSNBC, Fox News, and Aljazeera. In 2010, he became a substitute host and paid contributor for MSNBC. In January 2011, he became the anchor of MSNBC Live, but left the network in June 2011. Since December 2011, Uygur has been the host of “Young Turks with Cenk Uygur” on the Current TV network. Uygur lives with his wife Mary in New Jersey. They have one son, Prometheus Maximus. In 2010, he was awarded FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award.

“I’m offended by [evangelical leaders’] actions, but I’m not offended by their opinion. They believe in a sky god who’s going to suck them up into the sky with a vacuum cleaner. What’s there to get offended by? That’s funny! That’s hilarious! Have at it, Hoss, I’d love to see it!”

—Cenk Uygur, speech to FFRF’s 2010 National Convention accepting the Emperor Has No Clothes Award

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  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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