September 16

There are 2 entries for this date: Viscount Bolingbroke Richard Marx

    Viscount Bolingbroke

    Viscount Bolingbroke

    On this date in 1678, Henry St. John, who later became Viscount Bolingbroke, was born near Battersea, England. Brought up by grandparents when his mother died soon after his birth, he was educated at Eton and Oxford. St. John became a prominent Tory in Parliament, where he was first elected in 1701. He served as Secretary of War from 1704-08 and from 1710 -14 was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, negotiating the Treaty of Utrecht.

    He became a favorite counselor of Queen Anne, was named Viscount Bolingbroke in 1712 and entered the House of Lords. Bolingbroke was forced to flee to France after being impeached for high treason by King George I in 1715. A witty deist who criticized the bible, he dismissed the idea of an anthropomorphic god, rejected prayer and miracles, doubted the existence of a soul or immortality, argued against divine morality and wrote that Platonism had corrupted Christianity.

    In 1725 Bolingbroke was permitted to return to England and claim his property but was never reseated in Parliament. His Tory-sympathizing circle of friends included Swift. Pope and Voltaire visited him in England. “The Idea of a Patriot King” was Bolingbroke’s most significant political contribution. His irreligious views, which influenced friends such as Voltaire, were only published posthumously and created a sensation. D. 1751.

    Richard Marx

    Richard Marx

    On this date in 1963, singer/songwriter Richard Noel Marx was born in Chicago to Ruth (née Guildoo), a singer, and Richard Henry “Dick” Marx, a jazz musician of German-Jewish descent who wrote advertising jingles and music for movies. His son started singing in some of the jingles at age 5, sometimes with his mother. Products included Peter Pan peanut butter, Nestlé Crunch candy, Ken-L Ration dog food, Arm & Hammer baking soda and many others.

    When he was 17, a tape of his songs came to the attention of singer/music producer Lionel Richie, who convinced him to move to Los Angeles, where he worked as a background vocalist and started writing songs for other artists and then for himself. His 1987 debut album “Richard Marx” yielded four hit singles and went triple platinum. 

    “Right Here Waiting” from 1989’s “Repeat Offender” album was Marx’s first No. 1 hit on the U.S. adult contemporary chart and his first big hit outside North America. He has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and as of this writing in 2022 is the only male artist whose first seven singles reached the Top 5 on the Billboard charts.

    He has written a No. 1 single in each of the last four decades, an accomplishment achieved previously only by Michael Jackson. His memoir “Stories to Tell,” which included a soundtrack, was released in 2021. “Songwriter,” his 13th studio album, debuted in 2022.

    Marx married actress Cynthia Rhodes, who appeared in “Staying Alive,” “Flashdance” and “Dirty Dancing,” in 1989. They had three sons: Brandon (b. 1990), Lucas (b. 1992) and Jesse (b. 1994). They divorced in 2014 and Marx married former MTV VJ Daisy Fuentes the next year in Aspen, Colo.

    His charitable causes have included the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, ASPCA, Humane Society, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, for which his foundation events have raised over $4 million.

    Tweeting at @richardmarx, he wrote: “So … there’s an invisible man in the sky watching everything we do and ‘protecting us’ but also keeping mass murderers alive and healthy while letting sweet innocent 3 year olds die painful agonizing deaths? Yeah, no. I don’t buy that. But you can.” (Twitter, March 23, 2019)

    At Huffington Post on July 4, 2014, he wrote, “I’m a spiritual man but I’m not religious. I’m not really connected to any major organized religion and I think that’s okay.” 

    PHOTO: Marx in 2016; Casino Regina photo under CC 4.0.

    “As an atheist, I believe at the moment of death it’s just lights out. Done. Because, I dunno, brain waves … science. But if I’m wrong, I have ZERO doubt that the folks who claim to be ‘Christian’ but live their lives in opposition of Christ’s teachings are gonna be first to burn.” 

    —Marx tweet (Twitter, Oct. 26, 2022)
    Compiled by Bill Dunn

Freedom From Religion Foundation