January 25 in freethought history…

sherwinwineJanuary 25, 1928 – Rabbi Sherwin Wine is born in Detroit, Michigan. In 1969, he founded the Society for Humanistic Judaism, an organization that emphasizes Jewish culture and history rather than religious identity. He was one of the signers of Humanist Manifesto III, and named Humanist of the Year in 2003 by the American Humanist Association. He died in 2007, aged 79.

January 25, 1957 – Writer and journalist Robert Wright is born in Lawton, Oklahoma. He has written extensively about human evolution and religion; his books include The Moral Animal, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, and The Evolution of God. Wright, who describes himself as an agnostic who believes in the possibility of divine purpose, has tangled with both creationists and New Atheists.

January 25, 2002 – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in discussing the morality of the death penalty during a Pew Forum at the University of Chicago Divinity School, asserts that, while murder is a “big deal,” that “death is no big deal to Christians.” He goes on to reason, that for a Christian, depriving a murderer of this life is simply to exchange it for the next life, whereas “for the nonbeliever…to deprive a person of his life is to end his existence.” In an unintentional irony, Scalia ties belief in the West’s increasingly widespread view that the death penalty is immoral to democracy rather than Christianity.

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