November 13 in freethought history…

November 13, 1861 – With the American Civil War well underway, Baptist minister Mark R. Watkinson of Ridley, Pennsylvania, writes to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, lamenting the lack of recognition of God on America’s currency. Watkinson recommended “God, Liberty, Law,” but Chase, approving of the principle, eventually chose “In God We Trust.”

November 13, 1907 – The New York Times publishes a letter from President Teddy Roosevelt opposing a proposal to place “In God We Trust” on US coins: “My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good, but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege. A beautiful and solemn sentence such as the one in question should be treated and uttered only with that fine reverence which necessarily implies a certain exhaltation of spirit.” In 1908 Congress passed a law requiring “In God We Trust” on all coinage of ten-cent denomination or higher. Roosevelt signed the law.

November 13, 1969 – Freethinker and anti-Islamic activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is born in Mogadishu, Somalia.

November 13, 2003 – Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is removed from office by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for continued defiance of a federal order to remove a massive Ten Commandments monument that Moore had installed in the state’s Supreme Court building. In 2012 the people of Alabama would re-elect Moore to that position.

November 13, 2007 – Governor Sonny Perdue heads a public prayer for rain on the steps of the Georgia Capitol, hoping to relieve the state’s longstanding drought. This event catalyzed David Driscoll (former host of the Secular Nation podcast and co-host of the American Freethought podcast) to become a secular activist.

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