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: Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke , John Burroughs and Marlon Brando
Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke

Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke

On this date in 1817, Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke was born in Westphalia. The first of 12 children, Mathilde was raised a devout Catholic. After she fought to annul an early, unhappy marriage, Mathilde married Prussian artillery officer Fritz Anneke in 1847. When he was imprisoned, she published a censored revolutionary journal and became a radical freethinker, meeting Karl Marx and Michael Bakunin. The couple fled after the failed German revolutions of 1848 and 1849, settling briefly in Milwaukee, where Mathilde launched a radical German-language freethinker's journal dedicated to women's emancipation. She continued publishing from New Jersey. Eventually she returned to Milwaukee, where she protested alcohol, clericalism and nativism, also co-founding a Wisconsin suffrage group in 1869 and a highly-regarded German-language girls school. D.1884.

"Reason, which we recognize as our highest and only law-giver, commands us to be free."

—-Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke, speech at 1869 national Equal Rights Association in New York (History of Woman Suffrage III: 393-394)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

John Burroughs

John Burroughs

On this date in 1837, naturalist John Burroughs was born on a farm in the Catskills. After teaching, and clerking in government, Burroughs returned to the Catskills, and devoted his life to writing and gardening. He knew Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Walt Whitman, writing the first biography of Whitman. Most of his 22 books are collected essays on nature and philosophy. In In The Light of Day (1900) he wrote about his views on religion: "If we take science as our sole guide, if we accept and hold fast that alone which is verifiable, the old theology must go." "When I look up at the starry heavens at night and reflect upon what is it that I really see there, I am constrained to say, 'There is no God' . . . " In his journal dated Feb. 18, 1910, he wrote: "Joy in the universe, and keen curiosity about it all—that has been my religion." He died on his 83rd birthday. The John Burroughs Sanctuary can be found near West Park, N.Y., and his rustic cabin, Slabsides, has been preserved. D. 1921.

“The deeper our insight into the methods of nature . . . the more incredible the popular Christianity seems to us.”

—-John Burroughs, The Light of Day, 1900

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

On this date in 1924, actor Marlon Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother's interest in theater—she worked with young Henry Fonda and others—piqued Marlon's interest in acting. The mimic and high school drop-out moved to New York City in 1943 to enroll in a New York acting workshop, where he was taught the "Method" techniques of Konstantin Stanislavsky. His Broadway debut was in "I Remember Mama" (1944). His movie debut was as a paraplegic in "The Men" (1950). Reprising his memorable depiction on Broadway of "Stanley" in "A Streetcar Named Desire" for the 1951 film, the actor became an overnight sensation. Other memorable films include: "Julius Caesar" (1953), "On the Waterfront" (1954, for which he won his first Best Actor Oscar), "Guys and Dolls" (1955), "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1956), "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962), "The Ugly American" (1963), "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967), "The Godfather" (1972, for which he won but declined his second Oscar), "Last Tango in Paris" (1972) and "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Brando married three times. His second wife was the Tahitian woman who played opposite him in "Bounty." Brando had nine children (some sources say 11). His son Christian was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years for the 1990 shooting death of Dag Drollet, the boyfriend of Brando's daughter Cheyenne (Christian's half-sister). Cheyenne, who had drug addictions, committed suicide at age 25. Brando was known for eccentricities and promotion of liberal causes. He died at 80. D. 2004.

"I will not swear on God. I will not swear on God, because I don't believe in the conceptual sense and in this nonsense. What I will swear on is my children and my grandchildren."

—-Marlon Brando, refusing to recite a religious oath while testifying at his son Christian's trial, 1990. Source: Who's Who in Hell edited by Warren Allen Smith

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.

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