May 3 in freethought history…

charlesbradlaughMay 3, 1880 – English atheist Charles Bradlaugh, recently elected as a Member of Parliament, requests to be allowed to affirm his oath, rather than take the religious Oath of Allegiance. A political scandal unfolded over the next six years, which included Bradlaugh’s arrest for refusing to withdraw. Authorities declared he had forfeited his seat, but Bradlaugh was re-elected by his constituency four times. He was eventually allowed to take his seat in 1886, and in 1888 he succeeded in gaining passage of the Oaths Act, which expressly allowed affirmations rather than oaths to God.

May 3, 1933 – Physicist Steven Weinberg is born in New York City. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979, and was named Humanist of the Year in 2002 by the American Humanist Association. Weinberg is an outspoken atheist, having said, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.”

May 3, 2015 – Two heavily armed men wearing body armor are shot and killed by police as they attempt to storm the First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. The exhibit was organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (also known as Stop Islamization of America), a right-wing extremist group known for Islamophobic ad campaigns. One security guard was injured during the shoot-out.

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