Rupert Hughes

On this day in 1872, Rupert Hughes was born. The Missouri-born novelist, biographer, and screenwriter earned a B.A. from Adelbert College, Cleveland, and a Master's from Yale, 1893. He served in the Spanish-American War and in the infantry in WWI. Biographical subjects included George Washington and Samuel Gompers. More than 50 movies were written, directed or based upon Hughes' stories and novels. He founded and served for decades as president of the Hollywood Screenwriters Club. In 1924, he wrote "Why I Quit Going to Church," published by the Freethought Press Association, a forthright and thorough analysis of what is wrong with religion. In it, Hughes recounted the uproar provoked by a magazine article he wrote for The Cosmopolitan about his views on the harm of Christianity. He wrote: "I quit [going to church] because I came to believe that what is preached in the churches is mainly untrue and unimportant, tiresome, hostile to genuine progress, and in general not worth while. As for the necessity of paying homage to the deity, I began to feel that I did not know enough about God to pay him set compliments on set days. As for the God who is preached in the churches, I ceased to worship him because I could no longer believe in him or respect what is alleged of him. I cannot respect a deity who would want or even endure the hideous monotony and mechanism of most of the worship paid him by hired men, hired prayer-makers and their supporters." D. 1956.

"As for those who protest that I am robbing people of the great comfort and consolation they gain from Christianity, I can only say that Christianity includes hell, eternal torture for the vast majority of humanity, for most of your relatives and friends. Christianity includes a devil who is really more powerful than God, and who keeps gathering into his furnaces most of the creatures whom God turns out and for whom he sent his son to the cross in vain. If I could feel that I had robbed anybody of his faith in hell, I should not be ashamed or regretful."

—— Rupert Hughes, "Why I Quit Going to Church," 1924

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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