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: Nick Clegg , Nigella Lawson and Carl Sandburg
Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg

On this date in 1967, Nicholas William Peter Clegg was born in Chalfont St. Giles in Buckinghamshire, England. Clegg’s mother was Dutch. He speaks five languages: English, Dutch, French, German and Spanish. Clegg studied anthropology at Cambridge University and received a Master’s degree in political philosophy at the University of Minnesota. He interned at The Nation in New York under Christopher Hitchens before returning to Europe, where he interned at the European Commission and earned an M.A. in European affairs at the College of Europe in Bruges. Clegg worked as a journalist and at the European Commission before being elected Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands in 1999. Clegg served as an MEP until 2004, and in 2005 was the liberal parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam. Clegg was elected with over 50% of the vote, and became the party’s spokesperson on Europe. In 2007, Clegg was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats and rose to national prominence in the 2010 general election. The third-party Liberal Democrats received 23% of the vote and Clegg became the “power broker,” as neither of the two major parties, Labour or Conservative, had won a majority of seats in Parliament. Clegg chose to ally with the first-place Conservative Party, and became Deputy Prime Minister.

After being elected leader in 2007, Clegg was asked on the BBC Radio program 5 Live if he believed in God. He replied that he did not, though he later elaborated that he had “great respect” for people of faith. Clegg has stuck to his guns, continuing to describe himself as agnostic during the 2010 election campaign. Clegg’s wife, Spanish-born Miriam González Durántez, is Catholic, however, and their three sons are being raised in the Catholic Church. González and Clegg met at the College of Europe and dated in Brussels before marrying in 2000.

“I was asked, ‘Do you believe in God?’ As it happens I do not know whether God exists. I'm much more of an agnostic.”

—-Nick Clegg

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson

On this date in 1960, Nigella Lawson was born in London, England. Lawson is known for her work in food journalism, her several cookbooks and cooking shows. Lawson attended the University of Oxford and graduated with a degree in medieval and modern languages. Lawson began her writing career by writing for several publications, including The Sunday Times, Vogue and The Daily Telegraph. She wrote her first cookbook, "How to Eat," in 1998, and since then has written nearly a dozen cookbooks, including “Nigella Bites” (2001) and “How to Be a Domestic Goddess” (2000). She has had her own cooking shows, including “Nigella Bites,” which ran for two seasons, “Nigella,” which ran in 2005, and “Nigellissima,” which is currently being aired. She has also been featured in ‘Top Chef” and “Iron Chef America.” Nigella is known for being entertaining, funny and conversational.

Nigella’s father, Nigel Lawson, is a prominent member of the Conservative Party in Britain. He served as a member of Parliament for 18 years and held several other important government positions. Nigella has openly disagreed with her father’s politics and has formed her own opinions on issues. She is a strong supporter of the breast cancer charity Lavender Trust. Lawson married journalist John Diamond in 1992, and the couple were together until Diamond died of throat cancer in 2001. Diamond and Lawson had two children, Cosima and Bruno. She remarried Charles Saatchi, a British art collector, in 2003. They separated in 2013 after Saatchi assaulted Lawson in public.

 

“I was brought up an atheist and have always remained so. But at no time was I led to believe that morality was unimportant or that good and bad did not exist. I believe passionately in the need to distinguish between right and wrong and am somewhat confounded by being told I need God, Jesus or a clergyman to help me to do so."

—⎯Nigella Lawson, “We atheists know right from wrong.” The Times, June 29, 1996.

Compiled by Sarah Eucalano with help from Scott Grinstead

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg

On this date in 1878, poet and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Ill., to Swedish, Lutheran immigrants. Second of seven children, he quit school after 8th grade and worked a variety of jobs, such as delivering milk, for the next decade. In 1897 he lived as a hobo. He would later perform the folk songs he learned on the road, and compile them into two folk song books. Sandburg enlisted in the Spanish-American War. When he returned, he attended the Universalist-founded college in Galesburg, Lombard College. Attracted to labor concerns, he became an organizer for the Wisconsin Social Democratic Party. He met his wife-to-be, Lilian Steichen, at party headquarters in Milwaukee. They were wed in 1908. Sandburg became a reporter for the Chicago Daily News. Sandburg's poetry began winning him acclaim by 1914, and he soon became a successful, published author. He completed his 6-volume biography on Abraham Lincoln in 1940, for which he won a Pulitzer. His Complete Poems garnered him a 1951 Pulitzer. He was a lifelong Unitarian. D. 1967.

“To work hard, to live hard, to die hard, and then to go to Hell after all would be too damned hard.”

—Carl Sandburg, The People, Yes (1933), cited by Warren Allen Smith in Who's Who in Hell.

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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