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: Pedro Pablo Abarca Aranda and Susan Sackett
Pedro Pablo Abarca Aranda

Pedro Pablo Abarca Aranda

On this date in 1719, Spanish statesman Pedro Pablo Abarca Aranda was born. After military service and an ambassadorship to Poland, Count d'Aranda became Governor of Valencia in 1764, president of the Council of Castile and then First Minister of Spain in 1765. A correspondent of Voltaire and other French figures of the Enlightenment, he worked to weaken the Inquisition, and inaugurate noble reforms. He even expelled the Jesuits in 1767. The clerics responded by having him removed from office. D'Aranda was well-known to the American revolutionaries as a supporter. At one time the Spanish ambassador to the French Court, he met Benjamin Franklin. D'Aranda briefly regained power in 1792, but the church drove him out again, and undid his many reforms. D'Aranda was imprisoned at Granada and narrowly missed being put on trial by the Inquisition. He lived the last years of his life out of harm's way. D. 1798.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor; Photo by José María Galván y Candela [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Susan Sackett

Susan Sackett

On this date in 1943, Susan Sackett was born in New York City. Growing up in both Connecticut and Florida, Sackett dreamed of working in Hollywood. After receiving a Bachelor's (1964) and Master's of Education (1965) from the University of Florida in Gainesville, she taught at an elementary school in Miami for two years. Deciding to pursue her dream, Sackett quit her teaching job, moved to Los Angeles, and spent the next four years working as a publicity assistant and commercial coordinator for NBC. In August 1974, Sackett met and became the personal executive assistant of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the legendary television series "Star Trek."  Sackett served as a production assistant for the first "Star Trek" film (1979) and worked closely with Roddenberry on the next five "Star Trek" movies. Working as a production associate during the first five seasons of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," (1987-1994), Sackett and writing partner Fred Bronson sold several stories and teleplays to the series, including the popular episodes "Menage a Troi" and "The Game." She worked for Roddenberry for 17 years, until his death in October 1991. Sackett has written many books throughout her career including three books about "Star Trek": Letters to Star Trek (1977), Star Trek Speaks! (1979—with co-authors Fred and Stan Goldstein), The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1980—with co-author Gene Roddenberry), and a "Star Trek" memoir, Inside Trek (2002). She also wrote, You Can Be a Game Show Contestant and Win! (1982—with co-author Cheryl Blythe), Primetime Hits (1993), and Hollywood Sings! (1995).

Sackett is a member of MENSA, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and Writer's Guild of America, West. Sackett said that Roddenberry first introduced her to humanism. She relocated to Arizona, became active in her local AHA chapter in 1994, and acted as president of the local group from 2000 to 2010. Her chapter received the "Chapter of the Year" award from the American Humanist Association for 2001. Susan resides in Scottsdale, Ariz. and has been a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation since 1995, and became a Lifetime Member in 2007.

"I am a Humanist and a freethinker because, as Mr. Spock would say, it is only logical."

—Susan Sackett, Jan. 5, 2010, (quotation original to Freethought of the Day)

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch; Photo with permission by Susan Sackett

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