Ira Cardiff

On this date in 1873, humanist author Ira D. Cardiff was born. He was the director of the Agriculture experimental station at Washington State University from 1912-1917. Cardiff was an early 20th century freethinker, who wrote articles, pamphlets and books, including What Great Men Think of Religion and, as editor, The Wisdom of George SantayanaD. 1964.

“What would Christ do about syphilis? Well, what should he do? Christ, being possessed of miraculous powers, why does he not obliterate syphilis from the face of the earth? Does Spirochaeta pallida, the organism causing syphilis, perform any useful function in the economy of nature? If not, why not obliterate it? Who is better equipped to do this than Jesus Christ?”

—Ira Cardiff in “What Would Christ Do About Syphilis?” (originally published in The Truth-Seeker) in undated pamphlet "If Christ Came to New York," circa 1930's, in response to an article of the same title by the Rev. Charles M. Sheldon in Liberty Magazine

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski

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