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 3 entries for this date: Barbara G. Walker , George Sand and Civil Rights Act Enacted
Barbara G. Walker

Barbara G. Walker

On this date in 1930, Barbara G. Walker was born in Philadelphia. In early childhood, she had her first disappointment with religion, when a minister told her that her deceased pet dog wouldn't go to heaven. She threw an uncharacteristic tantrum, telling him: "I don't want anything to do with your rotten old God and nasty old heaven." First reading the King James bible as a young teenager, she decided: "It sounded cruel. A God who would not forgive the world until his son had been tortured to death — that did not strike me as the kind of father I would want to relate to."

She majored in journalism at the university of Pennsylvania, married research chemist Gordon Walker and moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Washington Star. Relocating to Morristown, New Jersey, she taught the Martha Graham dance technique. She is a knitting expert, writing 10 volumes, including the classics Treasury of Knitting Patterns and A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. In the mid-1970s she became part of the "new feminist wave," writing the monumental feminist/freethought sourcebook, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (1983). Her many other books include The Skeptical Feminist (1987), Man Made God: A Collection of Essays (2010) and Belief and Unbelief (2014). An atheist, she has also specialized in debunking irresponsible, New Age assertions about crystals.

“[T]he very fears and guilts imposed by religious training are responsible for some of history's most brutal wars, crusades, pogroms, and persecutions, including five centuries of almost unimaginable terrorism under Europe's Inquisition and the unthinkably sadistic legal murder of nearly nine million women. History doesn't say much very good about God.”

—Walker, acceptance speech for the 1993 Humanist Heroine award from the Feminist Caucus of the American Humanist Association

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor; photo submitted

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

George Sand

George Sand

On this date in 1804, George Sand (née Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin) was born in Paris. Raised mainly by her grandmother, she was taught for three years by the Augustinian nuns, then read widely on her own. She scandalously left her unsympathetic husband, Baron François Casimi Dudevant, whom she married in 1822, to embark on a career as a novelist. That career took off with the success of her second novel, Indiana (1832). She and Dudevant had a son, Maurice, and a daughter, Solange, before separating in 1835.

Unwilling to have her freedom restricted by sexist codes, she adopted the nom de plume "George Sand," often appeared in public in male clothing and befriended the literarati of her day, becoming a noted celebrity. She was prolific even for her era of romantic wordiness. Consuelo was a novel in eight volumes and Histoire de ma vie, her autobiography, is 20 volumes. Sand was an outspoken critic of clericalism for most of her life, but invoked "God" frequently in her writings and letters. She went through Deistic, spiritualistic and pantheistic stages, but never returned to Christianity.

Her most famous liaison was with the composer Chopin, who, while far more orthodox than Sand in his political views, also refused to return to the Catholic Church. Her enduring legacy is as a rebel and role model living life as freely and fully as men. She instructed there should be no religious rites at her funeral, which was presided over by freethinker Victor Hugo. D. 1876.

“[I reject Christianity's anthropomorphic God,] made in our image, silly and malicious, vain and puerile, irritable or tender, after our fashion.”

—George Sand, cited by James A. Haught in "2000 Years of Disbelief"

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Civil Rights Act Enacted

Civil Rights Act Enacted

On this date in 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson after it passed the Senate by a vote of 73–27 and the House by 289–126. It barred discrimination based on race, religion, color or national origin.

"An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations ..."

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

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