November 22 in freethought history…

georgeeliotNovember 22, 1819 – Writer and translator George Eliot is born Mary Ann Evans in Nuneaton, England. Her novels (published under a male pen name to ensure her works were taken seriously) included The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner and Middlemarch. She was also well-known for her irreligion and her unorthodox relationships with men. Eliot translated philosophical and theological works from German to English, including David Strauss’s Life of Jesus, Critically Examined and Ludwig Feuerback’s Essence of Christianity. When she died in 1880 at the age of 61, she was denied a place of honor in Westminster Cathedral due to her denial of Christianity.

November 22, 1866 – Surgeon James P. Warbasse is born in Newton, New Jersey.  He was an advocate for cooperative (i.e. jointly-owned and democratically-controlled) businesses, and was an outspoken anti-militarist. Warbasse was named Humanist of the Year in 1955 by the American Humanist Association. He died in 1957, aged 90.

November 22, 1916 – Author Jack London dies in Glen Ellen, California, aged 40. His novels include the classics The Call of the Wild and White Fang, London was an atheist, saying, “I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed.”

November 22, 1934 – British atheist Nicolas Walter is born in London, England. He was a lifelong activist for humanist, rationalist and secularist causes. Walter edited New Humanist for the Rationalist Press Association. He died in 2000, aged 65.

November 22, 1998 – An Albanian referendum adopts a new constitution “with faith in God” and “a spirit of religious coexistence and tolerance,” declaring that the republic has “no official religion.” This is in marked contrast to the country’s 1976 constitution, adopted during the suppressive reign of communist dictator Enver Hoxha, which declared “the State recognises no religion, and supports atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in the people.” Albania is religiously diverse, with 60% of the population Muslim, 10% Roman Catholic, and only 2.5% atheist.

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