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 2 entries for this date: H.L. Mencken (Quote) and John Rechy

H.L. Mencken (Quote)

"Sunday School: A prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents."

—-H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy, 1949

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

John Rechy

On this date in 1931, American writer and critic John Rechy was born in El Paso, Texas. Rechy served in the U.S. Army before being granted release to enroll in graduate school at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Rechy’s novels and essays often documented gay culture in Los Angeles and the United States. His first novel, City of Night (1963) — a largely autobiographical account of the travels of a young hustler — includes a description of the Cooper Do-nuts Riot of 1959. The riot, which Rechy witnessed first-hand and participated in, involved members of the Los Angeles LGBTQ community responding to continual harassment by the LAPD. City of Night would go on to become an international bestseller.

Rechy’s essays and reviews have been published in The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, The Village Voice, The New York Times, Evergreen Review and Saturday Review. Gore Vidal praised Rechy as “one of the few original American writers of the last century” (, 2014). Novelist Michael Cunningham, a former student of Rechy’s, noted that his writing teacher’s “life is almost as interesting, and meaningful, as his work” (, 2014). Gus Van Sant, writer and director of My Own Private Idaho (1991), has cited City of Night as an inspiration for the film. In addition to authoring over 13 novels to date, Rechy has taught creative writing at Occidental College, UCLA, USC, and elsewhere.

“I dislike religion very much, Christianity in particular (especially Catholicism, which is what I was born into), and find it mean and dangerous — and hypocritical about sex.”

—John Rechy, Los Angeles Review of Books (2015)

Compiled by Paul Epland

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