Ruth Hurmence Green

On this date in 1915, Ruth Hurmence Green was born. The Iowa native received a journalism degree from Texas Tech in 1935, married, had three children and settled in Missouri. Green, a “half-hearted Methodist,” first plodded through the bible when convalescing from cancer in her early 60s, calling the shock she suffered from reading the book worse than the trauma caused by her illness. “There wasn’t a page of the bible that didn’t offend me in some way. There is no other book between whose covers life is so cheap,” she said, prompting her to write the enduring modern freethought classic The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible (1979).

In the book’s preface, Green wrote: “I am now convinced that children should not be subjected to the frightfulness of the Christian religion. … If the concept of a father who plots to have his own son put to death is presented to children as beautiful and as worthy of society’s admiration, what types of human behavior can be presented to them as reprehensible?” When terminal cancer developed in 1981, Green, who always insisted “There are atheists in foxholes,” took her own life, swallowing painkillers in 1981.

In her last letter to Anne Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation on July 4, 1981, she wrote, “Freedom depends upon freethinkers.” (D. 1981)

Freedom From Religion Foundation