May 14 in freethought history…

emmagoldmanMay 14, 1940 – Anarchist and atheist activist Emma Goldman dies in Toronto, Canada, aged 70. Born in Russia in 1869, she emigrated to American in 1885. She wrote, “The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity in helpless degradation.” Her incendiary rhetoric and advocacy of violence led to multiple arrests and eventual deportation from the United States in 1919. Her freespirited personality contrasted with her harsh public persona, giving birth to the apocryphal quote, “If there won’t be dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming.”

May 14, 1998 - Singer and actor Frank Sinatra dies in Los Angeles, California, aged 82. Aside from his storied career, Sinatra was active in various social causes, speaking out against racism and for integration. As for religion, in a 1963 interview with Playboy, Sinatra said, “Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions.”

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