December 6 in freethought history…

saintnicholasDecember 6, 343 - The “real” Santa Claus–Greek bishop Nikolaos of Myra–dies in what is now Turkey at the age of 73. He may have participated in the First Council of Nicaea, which approved the Nicene Creed. Folklore involving the miracles of “Saint Nicholas” often featured the rescue of children and secret gift-giving. Aside from his ongoing appeal in pop culture as Ol’ Saint Nick, St. Nicholas continues to be venerated by (among others) sailors and fisherman.

December 6, 1933 – Judge John M. Woolsey of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York rules that Irish novelist James Joyce’s Ulysses is not obscene under American law. The novel had been challenged for its frank sexual conduct, blasphemous treatment of the Catholic Church, and “unparlorlike” language. Woolsey’s ruling was upheld on appeal and was greatly influential on subsequent courts–including the Supreme Court.

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