November 16 in freethought history…

jongarthmurrayNovember 16, 1954 – Jon Garth Murray, atheist activist and younger son of atheist legend Madalyn Murray O’Hair is born in Baltimore, Maryland. He never escaped the shadow of his mother’s considerable fame (or infamy, depending on your view), but he was president of American atheists from 1986 to 1995, when he was kidnapped and murdered in San Antonio, Texas, along with his mother and niece, by former AA employee David Roland Waters and two accomplices.

November 16, 1993 – President Bill Clinton signs the Religions Freedom Restoration Act into law. Ostensibly intended to protect Native Americans from laws that infringe on their sacred places or their use of drugs like peyote in religious ceremonies, it has subsequently been used as an excuse to trump any federal legislation intended, for example, to protect LGBT rights or women’s abortion rights. Legislation modeled on RFRA has been passed in several states, causing much mischief as a result.

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