On this date in 1850, Joseph Mazzini Wheeler was born in Great Britain. Wheeler, an atheist, is best known as the author of the monumental Biographical Dictionary of Freethinkers (1889). Wheeler, who dedicated his life to freethought after moving to London in the early 1870s, was a close friend of freethought editor G.W. Foote. Wheeler also wrote Frauds and Follies of the Fathers (1888), Footsteps of the Past (1895), and co-authored Crimes of Christianity with G.W. Foote. He served for many years as vice-president of the National Secular Society, and was a frequent contributor to freethought periodicals. He served as subeditor of the National Secular Society's publication, The Freethinker, from its founding in 1881 to his death. D. 1898.
“The merits and services of Christianity have been industriously extolled by its hired advocates. Every Sunday its praises are sounded from myriads of pulpits. It enjoys the prestige of an ancient establishment and the comprehensive support of the State. It has the ear of rulers and the control of education. Every generation is suborned in its favor. Those who dissent from it are losers, those who oppose it are ostracised; while in the past, for century after century, it has replied to criticism with imprisonment, and to scepticism with the dungeon and the stake. By such means it has induced a general tendency to allow its pretensions without inquiry and its beneficence without proof. ”
—Preface, Crimes of Christianity, by G.W. Foote and J.M. Wheeler
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