March 30 in freethought history…

bertrandrussellMarch 30, 1940 – The Supreme Court of New York rules against Bertrand Russell regarding his dismissal as Professor of Philosophy from College of the City of New York. The Court ruled on three grounds: that Russell was not a citizen as required by state law; that the position had not been filled through competitive means; and that Russell had demonstrated immoral character through his public writings. This last item was truly at the heart of the case. The flames of public outcry against Russell were fanned by crusading Episcopal Bishop William T. Manning, who objected to Russell’s avowed atheism and advocacy of free love. The Court quoted Russell directly as follows: “I think that all sex relations which do not involve children should be regarded as a purely private affair, and that if a man and a woman choose to live together without having children that should be no one’s business but their own. I should not hold it desirable that either a man or a woman should enter upon the serious business of a marriage intended to lead to children without having had previous sexual experience.” Appeals in the case were denied.

March 30, 2004 - The Giordano Bruno Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is founded in Oberwesel, Germany. The foundation advocates for secularism and “evolutionary humanism.” Their manifesto states: “Anyone capable of splitting the atom and communicating via satellites, must possess intellectual and emotional maturity. One of the ways this manifests itself is through the ability to let false ideas die, before people have to die for false ideas.”

March 30, 2015 – Secular blogger Washiqur Rahman is hacked to death in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Islamic extremists for criticizing “irrational religious beliefs.”  Rahman’s murder is part of a campaign by terrorists in that country to silence criticism of religion and weaken secular political parties by hitting “soft targets” like bloggers. At least four bloggers were similarly murdered in 2015.

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