Freethought of the Day

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There are 2 entries for this date: John Stossel and David Gilmour
John Stossel

John Stossel

On this date in 1947, journalist John Frank Stossel was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois, to Jewish parents from Germany. He was raised Protestant. He attended Princeton University, earning a degree in psychology in 1969.

He worked as a reporter for several media outlets around the country, then became an editor for "Good Morning America" and in 1981 a correspondent for "20/20." Stossel moved in 2009 to the Fox Business Channel to host "Stossel," a weekly program that approaches issues from a libertarian perspective.

He has written three books. Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of Liberal Media (2005) was on The New York Times best-seller list for 11 weeks. His second book was Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel: Why Everything You Know is Wrong (2007), and the third was No, They Can't: Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed (2012).

Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and five awards from the National Press Club. Stossel is married to Ellen Abrams and has two children, who were raised Jewish by his wife. In a "Stossel" episode (Dec. 16, 2010), he identified himself as agnostic. "God may exist, but I want more evidence and I've looked for it," he said, adding that he can't bring himself to see the bible as "the word of God."

Stossel in 2018 in Teaneck, N.J.; Gage Skidmore photo. CC 3.0

"I want to [believe]. I see the peace and purpose it gives most of you who believe, and I tried. I just can't."

—Stossel to Gretchen Carlson on Fox News (Dec. 13, 2012)

Compiled by Sarah Eucalano

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

David Gilmour

David Gilmour

On this date in 1946, singer-songwriter David Jon Gilmour was born in Cambridge, England. His father lectured in zoology at Cambridge University and his mother worked as a teacher. Gilmour and Roger "Syd" Barrett played guitar together at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology. Gilmour formed several bands and in 1967 Barrett's band Pink Floyd. Gilmour’s unique guitar and vocal talents were featured in the third-most successful album of all time, "The Dark Side of the Moon" (1973).

Gilmour led Pink Floyd after Roger Waters left in 1985. Under his direction, Pink Floyd recorded the albums "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" (1985), "The Division Bell" (1994) and "P.U.L.S.E." (1995). Pink Floyd won a Grammy for the instrumental “Marooned,” composed by Gilmour and Richard Wright for "The Division Bell." It's the only band track to ever win a Grammy. In 1996 the band was inducted into the U.S. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and received the same honor in the United Kingdom in 2005. Their last album, "The Endless River," was in 2014. Wright died in 2008.

Gilmour had several hit solo albums, including a self-titled chart-topper in 1978 and "About Face" in 1984. His third solo album, "On An Island" (2006), went multi-platinum. He was honored in 2005 with the distinguished CBE title (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to music and his philanthropic work. Notable among his charitable deeds, he sold his London home in 2003 and gave the £3.6 million proceeds to a homeless charity.

In a Chicago Tribune story (March 31, 2006), Gilmour said: “When you get to 60, one of your preoccupations is that the life you have ahead of you is quite a lot shorter than the life you have behind you. You can't help thinking about that. It's something inside all of us, even though I'm not a believer in God or an afterlife. I'm an atheist. I'm sort of resigned to my lot in life, and content in it.”

Gilmour's most recent albums as of this writing are "Rattle That Lock" (2015) and "Live at Pompeii" (2017). Gilmour married American-born model and artist Virginia "Ginger" Hasenbein in 1975. They have four children. In 1994 he married writer and lyricist Polly Samson, with whom he has four more children.

Gilmour in 2005; Andy MacLarty photo. CC 2.0

“This earthly heaven is enough for me.”

—Gilmour lyrics from “This Heaven,” a song from his solo album "On An Island" (2006)

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch

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