May 2, 1860Â – Theodor Herzl, journalist and father of modern Zionism, is born in Budapest, Hungary. Raised by assimilated Jews, Herzl considered himself an atheist. Widespread persecution and anti-Semitism throughout Europe convinced Herzl that Jews should create a homeland, preferably in their historic homeland of Palestine. Herzl died in 1904 in Austria, aged 44. (The State of Israel would not be born for another 44 years after Herzl’s death.)
May 2, 1903 -Â American pediatrician Benjamin Spock, whose books on childrearing offered a more humane and individualistic alternative to the colder behaviorist model, is born in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Spock, who was also an activist for civil rights and against war, was named Humanist of the Year in 1968 by the American Humanist Association. He died in 1998, aged 94.
May 2, 2008 – Ellen Johnson is removed as president of American Atheists by the Board of Directors, for reasons that have never been made clear. Johnson assumed the presidency in 1995, shortly after the disappearance (later revealed as murder) of president Jon Garth Murray, his mother Madalyn Murray O’Hair and niece Robin Murray. Â Johnson was succeeded by interim president Frank Zindler.