July 30 in freethought history…

ehaldemanjuliusJuly 30, 1889 – Publisher and atheist activist E. Haldeman-Julius is born Emanuel Julius in Philadelphia. Haldeman-Julius is best known as publisher of the Little Blue Books, which introduced millions of readers to works of philosophy, history, science and more for as little as five cents a copy. Authors printed or reprinted under the LBB series included Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Robert Ingersoll, Clarence Darrow and many more. Notably, Will Durant’s classic The Story of Philosophy began as a series of Little Blue Books. Haldeman-Julius published an exposé on J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, which led to an investigation by that agency and eventually a conviction for tax evasion. Haldeman-Julius was found dead in his swimming pool in Girard, Kansas on July 31, 1951, one day after his 62nd birthday.

July 30, 2013 – Saudi Arabian writer and activist Raif Badawi is sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years in prison for founding Free Saudi Liberals, an online forum that, according to the Saudi court, undermined general security, ridiculed Islamic religious figures and violated Islamic values. His sentence was later upgraded to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a fine of 1 million riyals (over $250,000). The first 50 lashes were administered in January 2015, but have been postponed numerous times due to his declining health. His wife and children currently have been granted asylum in Canada.

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