Freethought History

“This Day in Freethought History…” began as a series of daily posts and tweets on May 24, 2015 and was completed on May 23, 2016. The links have been archived (and will be occasionally updated), and can be accessed on this page.

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  • Jan 01 – Thomas Jefferson coins “wall of separation between church & state” in 1802.
  • Jan 02 – Science fiction legend and humanist Isaac Asimov born in Russia in 1920.
  • Jan 03 – Keith Ellison of MN becomes 1st Muslim US Congressman in 2007.
  • Jan 04 – Birth of scientist Sir Isaac Newton in 1643.
  • Jan 05 - Scottish rationalist/secularist John Mackinnon Robertson dies in 1933.
  • Jan 06 – US Congress grants charter for Washington National Cathedral in 1893.
  • Jan 07 – Thomas Aitkenhead last person executed for blasphemy in Britain in 1697.
  • Jan 08 – Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of evolution, born in Wales in 1823.
  • Jan 09 – Saudi blogger Raif Badawi receives 1st 50 lashes for “insulting Islam” in 2015.
  • Jan 10 – British freethinker, lecturer, writer Joseph McCabe dies in 1955.
  • Jan 11 - British secularist and journalist George William Foote is born in 1850.
  • Jan 12 – American author Jack London (Call of the Wild, White Fang) born in 1876.
  • Jan 13 – Charles Bradlaugh becomes 1st open atheist in UK Parliament in 1886.
  • Jan 14 – Former child evangelist (later debunker) Marjoe Gortner born in 1944.
  • Jan 15 – Bangladeshi blogger Asif Mohiuddin survives stabbing by Al-Qaeda in 2013.
  • Jan 16 – Virginia Gen’l Assy passes Act for Establishing Religious Freedom in 1786.
  • Jan 17 – American scientist & statesman Benjamin Franklin born in Boston in 1706.
  • Jan 18 – British science historian Jacob Bronowski born in Poland in 1908.
  • Jan 19 – Podcaster/skeptic Derek Colanduno (Skepticality) born in 1974.
  • Jan 20 – Comedian, talk-show host & documentarian Bill Maher born in 1956.
  • Jan 21 – American patriot Ethan Allen (Reason: the Only Oracle of Man) born 1738.
  • Jan 22 – British secularist and publisher George Jacob Holyoake dies in 1906.
  • Jan 23 – NZ Premier & freethinker John Ballance dies in office in 1891.
  • Jan 24 – TV show Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! starts 8-year run on Showtime in 2003.
  • Jan 25 – Rabbi Sherwin Wine, founder of Humanistic Judaism, is born in 1928.
  • Jan 26 – Afghanistan adopts new constitution with Islam the official religion in 2004.
  • Jan 27 – Satirical freethought illustrator Watson Heston dies in 1905.
  • Jan 28 – Warsaw Confederation signed-1st European pact ensuring religious tolerance.
  • Jan 29 – Journalist H L Mencken (who covered the Scopes Monkey Trial) dies in 1956.
  • Jan 30 -English atheist Charles Bradlaugh, 1st open atheist MP, dies in 1891.
  • Jan 31Prince v Mass. 1944: SCOTUS says gov’t may trump parental authority.
  • Feb 01 – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein) dies in 1851.
  • Feb 02 – Philosopher & activist Bertram Russell (“Why I Am Not a Xtian”) dies in 1970.
  • Feb 03 – Ronald Reagan declares 1983 “Year of the Bible” at Nat’l Prayer Breakfast.
  • Feb 04 – Traditional birthday of Greek philosopher Epicurus (“On Nature”) in 341BCE.
  • Feb 05 – Atheist & anarchist Johann Most (“propaganda of the deed”) born in 1846.
  • Feb 06 – 1st issue of freethought news The Blue Grass Blade in Lexington, KY in 1886.
  • Feb 07 – Freethought publisher Charles Chilton Moore dies near Lexington, KY, 1906.
  • Feb 08 -Peter Kropotkin (Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution) dies in Moscow in 1921.
  • Feb 09 – French philosopher & freethinker Lucilio Vanini executed or atheism in 1619.
  • Feb 10 – In 1947, SCOTUS rules Establishment Clause also applies to states.
  • Feb 11 – Scholar Poggio Bracciolini (discoverer of Lucretius’ On Nature) born 1380.
  • Feb 12 – Charles Darwin (Orgin of Species, Descent of Man) is born in 1809.
  • Feb 13 – Galileo arrives in Rome to face Inquisition for teaching heliocentrism in 1633.
  • Feb 14 – Iran’s Khomeini calls for death of Salman Rushdie (Satanic Verses) in 1989.
  • Feb 15 – Birth of astronomer & mathematician Galileo Galilei in Pisa, Italy, in 1564.
  • Feb 16 – British & Canadian secularist Charles Watts dies in England in 1906, aged 70.
  • Feb 17 – Friar Giordano Bruno burned at the stake for heresy in Rome in 1600.
  • Feb 18 – Protestant reformer Martin Luther dies in Eisleben, Saxony, in 1546, aged 62.
  • Feb 19 – Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus is born in Torun, Poland in 1473.
  • Feb 20 – Indian politician & rationalist Govind Pansare murdered in Mumbai in 2015.
  • Feb 21 – Philosopher Baruch Spinoza dies in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1677.
  • Feb 22 – Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer is born in Gdansk, Poland, in 1788.
  • Feb 23 – African-American activist & NAACP co-founder W. E. B. Du Bois born 1868.
  • Feb 24 – Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man published in the UK in 1871.
  • Feb 25 -British feminist/secularist Kate Watts (nee Eunice Kate Nowlan) dies in 1924.
  • Feb 26 – Bangladeshi secular blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death in Dhaka in 2015.
  • Feb 27Abington v Schempp 1963: SCOTUS rules against public school Bible reading.
  • Feb 28 – Linus Pauling (the only person to earn two unshared Nobels) born in 1901.
  • Feb 29 – Arrests of three women in 1692 launch the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
  • Mar 01 – Articles of Confederation form the United States of America in 1781.
  • Mar 02 – Anglican minister John Wesley, founder of Methodism, dies in 1791.
  • Mar 03Lemon v Kurtzman argued before SCOTUS in 1971.
  • Mar 04 – John Lennon says Beatles more popular than Jesus in an interview in 1966.
  • Mar 05 – Atheist, skeptic & magician Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller) born in 1955.
  • Mar 06 – Leichester Secular Hall, housing world’s oldest secular org, opens in 1881.
  • Mar 07 – Botanical pioneer Luther Burbank born in Lancaster, Mass. in 1849.
  • Mar 08 – SCOTUS rules against public school religious ed in McCullom v BoE, 1948.
  • Mar 09 – Pharyngula blogger PZ Myers is born in Kent, Washington, 1957.
  • Mar 10 – French Catholic authorities unjustly torture/execute Jean Calas in 1762.
  • Mar 11 – English humorist Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide) born in 1952.
  • Mar 12 – English fantasist Terry Pratchett (Discworld) dies in 2015.
  • Mar 13 – Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man, Part I, published in London in 1791.
  • Mar 14 – Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein born in Ulm, Germany in 1879.
  • Mar 15 – Bishop Nikolaos of Myra (the real “Santa Claus”) born in Turkey in 270.
  • Mar 16 – English agnostic & amateur anthropologist Edwin Clodd dies in 1930.
  • Mar 17 – Anarchist & atheist Johann Most dies in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1906.
  • Mar 18 – Abolitionist, suffragist & freethinker Matilda Joslyn Gage dies in 1898.
  • Mar 19 – British explorer, translator Richard Francis Burton born in 1821.
  • Mar 20 – Behaviorist, inventor, activist B. F. Skinner is born in 1904.
  • Mar 21 – Tennessee governor signs law outlawing the teaching of evolution in 1925.
  • Mar 22 – Massachusetts expels Anne Hutchinson for religious dissent in 1638.
  • Mar 23 – German philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm born in 1900.
  • Mar 24 - Abolitionist, suffragist & freethinker Matilda Joslyn Gage born in 1846.
  • Mar 25 - Oxford expells student Percy Bysshe Shelley for atheist pamphlet in 1811.
  • Mar 26 – Biologist & activist Richard Dawkins born Nairobi, Kenya in 1944.
  • Mar 27 – John Ballance (freethinking Premier of NZ) born in Ireland in 1839.
  • Mar 28 – Philosopher Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell) born in 1942.
  • Mar 29 – Philosopher Ludwig Buchner (German Freethinkers League) born 1824.
  • Mar 30 – NY Supreme Court uphold’s CCNY’s Bertrand Russell firing in 1940.
  • Mar 31 – Gay rights pioneer & former Congressman Barney Frank born in 1940.
  • Apr 01 – Psychologist Abraham Maslow born in NYC in 1908.
  • Apr 02 - Businessman/philanthropist Lloyd Morain (president AHA) born 1917.
  • Apr 03 – SCOTUS hears Engel v Vitale challenging public school prayer in 1962.
  • Apr 04 – Comedian & atheist David Cross born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1964.
  • Apr 05 – Secular history book Freethinkers by Susan Jacoby published in 2004.
  • Apr 06 – First documented use of word “freethinker” in a letter in 1697.
  • Apr 07 – American Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing born in 1787.
  • Apr 08 – Controversial TIME magazine cover asks “Is God Dead?” in 1966.
  • Apr 09 -English friar William of Ockham (Ockham’s Razor) dies in 1347.
  • Apr 10 – Ethicist and euthanasia advocate Joseph Fletcher born in 1905.
  • Apr 11 - Anton LaVey, founder of modern Satanism, is born in 1930.
  • Apr 12 – Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes first human in space in 1960.
  • Apr 13 – Deist, revolutionary and President Thomas Jefferson is born in 1743.
  • Apr 14 – Geneticist & Christian apologist Francis Collins born in 1950.
  • Apr 15 - African-American civil rights activist Asa Philip Randolph born 1889.
  • Apr 16 – MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” exposes clergy inaction 1963.
  • Apr 17 - American printer, scientist & statesman Ben Franklin dies in 1790.
  • Apr 18 – Attorney Clarence Darrow born 1857. Albert Einstein dies 1955.
  • Apr 19 – English biologist Charles Darwin (Origin of Species) dies 1882.
  • Apr 20 – M. M. O’Hair steps down as President of American Atheists in 1986.
  • Apr 21 – Novelist Mark Twain dies 1910. Play Inherit the Wind debuts 1955.
  • Apr 22 – US Congress authorizes 1st use of “In God We Trust” on coins 1864.
  • Apr 23 - Civil rights activist William Moore murdered during solo march 1963.
  • Apr 24 – Sigmund Freud’s The Ego & the Id published in 1923.
  • Apr 25 – Legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow is born in 1908.
  • Apr 26 – Corliss Lamont (director of the ACLU for 30 years) dies in 1995.
  • Apr 27 – Pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft born in 1759.
  • Apr 28 – English fantasist Terry Pratchett (“Discworld”) born in 1948.
  • Apr 29 – Economist and Humanist John Kenneth Galbraith dies 1906.
  • Apr 30 – G. Washington takes presidential oath sans “So help me God” in 1789.
  • May 01 – George Walser (founder of atheist utopia Liberal, MO) dies in 1910.
  • May 02 – Theodor Herzl (founder of modern Zionism) born in 1860.
  • May 03 – Atheist Charles Bradlaugh denied elected seat in Parliament in 1880.
  • May 04 – English biologist & agnostic Thomas Huxley born in 1825.
  • May 05 – TN schoolteacher John Scopes charged with teaching evolution in 1925.
  • May 06 – Cosmonaut Gherman Titov says “saw neither angels nor God” in 1962.
  • May 07 – France’s Robespierre declares the Cult of the Supreme Being in 1794.
  • May 08 – Science fiction novelist & freethinker Robert A. Heinlein dies in 1988.
  • May 09 – US FDA approves The Pill in 1960. Magaret Sanger says “about time.”
  • May 10 – Free-love feminist Victoria Woodhull is 1st US presidential candidate 1872.
  • May 11 – Nobel-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman born in 1918.
  • May 12 – Groundbreaking stand-up comedian George Carlin born in 1937.
  • May 13 – Dutch philosopher Herman Philipse (Atheist Manifesto) born in 1951.
  • May 14 – Anarchist and atheist Emma Goldman dies in 1940.
  • May 15 – Felix Adler delivers founding address of NY Society for Ethical Culture 1876.
  • May 16 – African-American civil rights activist Asa Philip Randolph dies in 1979.
  • May 17 – British Humanist Society formed from Union of Ethical Societies in 1963.
  • May 18 – Philosopher and activist Bertrand Russell is born in 1872.
  • May 19 – Univ of Cologne approves witchhunting guide Malleus maleficarum in 1487.
  • May 20 – Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould dies in 2002.
  • May 21 – Nuclear scientist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov born in 1921.
  • May 22 – In 2013, newly elected Pope Francis implies that atheists may go to Heaven.
  • May 23 – Biologist, zoologist and taxonomist Carl Linnaeus is born in 1707.
  • May 24 – Astronomer Nicolas Copernicus dies in Frombork, Poland in 1543.
  • May 25 – John Thomas Scopes indicted in Dayton, TN for teaching evolution in 1925.
  • May 26 – Indian rationalist activist Sanal Edamaruku (son of Joseph) born in 1955.
  • May 27 – 30,000 angry Muslims protest Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in London in 1989.
  • May 28 - Indian atheist/independence activist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar born 1883.
  • May 29 – Senator Barry Goldwater dies in 1998. Opposed Religious Right.
  • May 30 – Writer/philosopher Voltaire (Deist & author of Candide) dies in Paris 1778.
  • May 31 – Actor, writer & director Brian Keith Dalton (“Mr. Deity”) is born in 1965.
  • Jun 01 – Irish atheist activist Michael Nugent born in Dublin in 1961.
  • Jun 02 – British atheist, humanist and activist Barbara Smoker born in 1923.
  • Jun 03 – Madalyn Murray O’Hair begins broadcasting on KTBC in Austin, TX in 1968.
  • Jun 04 – SCOTUS rules against a moment of silence in public schools in 1985.
  • Jun 05 – T. Jefferson rejects claims that Christianity is basis for common law in 1824.
  • Jun 06 – Florida Supreme Court rules religious instruction in schools is legal in 1962.
  • Jun 07 – British computer scientist Alan Turing commits suicide in 1954.
  • Jun 08 – Revolutionary Thomas Paine (Age of Reason, et al) dies in NYC in 1809.
  • Jun 09 – Constitutional scholar & religious liberty litigator Stephen Gey dies in 2011.
  • Jun 10 – 1797 Treaty of Tripoli declares US “not founded on the Christian religion.”
  • Jun 11 – American freethought activist and writer Joseph L. Lewis is born in 1889.
  • Jun 12 – VA General Assembly rejects the Act for Establish Religious Freedom in 1779.
  • Jun 13 – Thomas Jefferson defends morality without religion in a letter written 1814.
  • Jun 14 – Eisenhower signs “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance into law in 1954.
  • Jun 15 – King John of England signs Magna Carta in 1215.
  • Jun 16 – UK lifts ban on elite university fellowships for non-Anglicans in 1871.
  • Jun 17 – SCOTUS rules public school mandated Bible reading unconstitutional in 1963.
  • Jun 18 – Darwin receives Wallace’s essay on evolution by natural selection in 1858.
  • Jun 19 – Novelist & free speech activist Salman Rushdie is born in Mumbai in 1945.
  • Jun 20 - Freethought/anarchist activist and writer Voltairine de Cleyre dies in 1912.
  • Jun 21 – Philip Pulman’s novel Northern Lights wins Carnegie of Carnegies in 2007.
  • Jun 22 – In 1633, Galileo condemned by the Inquisition for teaching heliocentrism.
  • Jun 23 – Computer scientist & WW2 codebreaker Alan Turing is born in London, 1912.
  • Jun 24 – In 1992, SCOTUS strikes down clerical prayers at public school graduations.
  • Jun 25 – SCOTUS strikes down official public school prayer in Engel v. Vitaly in 1962.
  • Jun 26 – In an 1822 letter, Jefferson (incorrectly) predicts decline of Trinitarianism.
  • Jun 27 – James Smithson, whose estate created the Smithsonian Institute, dies 1829.
  • Jun 28 – SCOTUS rules in Lemon v Kurtzman & establishes the “Lemon Test” in 1971.
  • Jun 29 – English biologist Thomas Huxley, known as Darwin’s Bulldog, dies in 1895.
  • Jun 30 – T. Huxley & Bishop Wilberforce exchange jibes regarding evolution in 1860.
  • Jul 01 – Papers on evolution by Darwin & Russell read at Linean Society in 1858.
  • Jul 02 – Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract) dies in 1778.
  • Jul 03 – Theodor Herzl, father of modern Zionism but also an atheist, dies in 1904.
  • Jul 04 – Continental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
  • Jul 05 – Satirical religion Church of the Subgenius’s X-Day comes and goes in 1998.
  • Jul 06 – Philosopher and animal rights activist Peter Singer is born in 1946.
  • Jul 07 – Sci-fi legend & freethinker Robert A. Heinlein is born in 1907.
  • Jul 08 – Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (“The Necessity of Atheism”) dies in 1822.
  • Jul 09 – Former SCOTUS Chief Justice Earl Warren (Brown v BoE, et al) dies in 1974.
  • Jul 10 – Scopes Monkey Trial begins in Dayton, TN in 1925.
  • Jul 11 – Pres. Eisenhower signs “In God We Trust” into law for all US currency in 1955.
  • Jul 12 – Henry David Thoreau (Walden, Civil Disobedience) is born in 1817.
  • Jul 13 – Free speech advocate, BHA patron & actor Patrick Stewart is born in 1940.
  • Jul 14 – English traveler & political officer Gertrude Bell born in 1868.
  • Jul 15 – Russian playwright Anton Chekhov dies in Germany in 1904.
  • Jul 16 – English noblewoman Anne Askew burned for heresy in 1546.
  • Jul 17 – Scottish economist & philosopher Adam Smith dies in 1790.
  • Jul 18 – Albert Einstein publishes paper on Brownian motion in 1905.
  • Jul 19 – 1st women’s rights convention opens in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848.
  • Jul 20 – Mt. Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary is born in NZ in 1919.
  • Jul 21 – American lecturer Robert Green Ingersoll (the “Great Agnostic”) dies in 1899.
  • Jul 22 – Actor/comedian Albert Brooks is born Albert Lawrence Einstein in LA in 1947.
  • Jul 23 – Samuel Porter Putnam, president of American Secular Union, born in 1838.
  • Jul 24 – Psychologist Albert Ellis (Humanist of the Year 1971) dies in NYC in 2007.
  • Jul 25 – Papal encyclical reaffirms Catholic opposition to birth control in 1968.
  • Jul 26 – Indian atheist legend Goparaju Ramachandra Rao “Gora” dies in 1975.
  • Jul 27 – Jewish elders of Amsterdam excommunicate philosopher Spinoza in 1656.
  • Jul 28 – French revolutionary Robespierre (Cult of the Supreme Being) beheaded 1794.
  • Jul 29 – Indian journalist and rationalist Joseph Edamaruku dies in 2006.
  • Jul 30 – Publisher/atheist activist E. Haldeman-Julius (Little Blue Books) born 1889.
  • Jul 31 – Publisher/atheist activist E. Haldeman-Julius (Little Blue Books) died 1951.
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  • Nov 01 - Indian rationalist Narendra Dabholkar is born in 1945. Assassinated in 2013.
  • Nov 02 -Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh is assassinated by Muslim extremist in 2004.
  • Nov 03 - British journalist, activist and humanist Sir Ludovic Kennedy is born in 1919.
  • Nov 04 – Treaty of Tripoli of 1796 declares USA not founded on the Christian religion.
  • Nov 05 – Historian & philosopher Will Durant (The Story of Civilization) born in 1885.
  • Nov 06The Oracle of Reason, Britain’s first atheist periodical, established in 1841.
  • Nov 07 – Alfred Russel Wallace (co-discoverer, with Darwin, of evolution) dies in 1913.
  • Nov 08 – JFK overcomes prejudice to become first Catholic president-elect in 1960.
  • Nov 09 – Astrophysicist & science popularizer Carl Sagan (COSMOS) is born in 1934.
  • Nov 10 – First and only Festival of Reason organized by French revolutionaries in 1793.
  • Nov 11 – American author Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five, et al) is born in 1922.
  • Nov 12 – Suffragist, feminist and abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton is born in 1815.
  • Nov 13 - Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is removed from office in 2003.
  • Nov 14 – Scottish rationalist/secularist John Mackinnon Robertson is born in 1856.
  • Nov 15 – Indian atheist activist and author Goparaju R. Rao (“Gora”) born in 1902.
  • Nov 16 – Jon Murray Garth (younger son of Madalyn Murray O’Hair) is born in 1954.
  • Nov 17 – Freethought (later anarchist) activist Voltairine de Cleyre born in 1866.
  • Nov 18 – Canadian author Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, et al) born 1939.
  • Nov 19 – Brit Peter Benenson’s letter campaign in 1961 will lead to Amnesty Int’l.
  • Nov 20 - Everson v Board of Education is argued before the Supreme Court in 1946.
  • Nov 21 -  French philosopher & satirist Voltaire is born François-Marie Arouet in 1694.
  • Nov 22 - Novelist and translator George Eliot is born Mary Ann Evans in 1819.
  • Nov 23 – Writer & historian Jennifer Michael Hecht (A History of Doubt) born in 1965.
  • Nov 24 – Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species published in London in 1859.
  • Nov 25 – Anne Nicol Gaylor, women’s rights advocate & founder of FFRF, born 1927.
  • Nov 26 – Teen Ellery Schempp protests mandatory Bible reading in school in 1956.
  • Nov 27 – Science educator, author & humanist Bill Nye the Science Guy born in 1955.
  • Nov 28 - Indian academic & rationalist M. M. Kalburgi is born in 1938. Killed in 2015.
  • Nov 29 – Atheist Stanley Ann Dunham, mother of Barack Obama, is born in 1942.
  • Nov 30 – American writer & social activist Mark Twain born Samuel Clemens in 1835.
  • Dec 01 – Filmmaker Woody Allen (Crimes & Misdeameanors, et al) born in 1935.
  • Dec 02 – Final issue of British atheist periodical The Oracle of Reason published 1843.
  • Dec 03 - Irish physicist and science popularizer John Tyndall dies in 1893.
  • Dec 04 - Philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt dies in 1975.
  • Dec 05 – Dr. Hudson Hoagland, founder of Worchester Institute, born in 1899.
  • Dec 06 - The “real” Santa Claus–Greek bishop Nikolaos of Myra–dies in 343 CE.
  • Dec 07 – Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the US Constitution in 1787.
  • Dec 08 – British publisher and social reformer Richard Carlile is born in 1790.
  • Dec 09 – “French law on the Separation of the Churches and State” passed in 1905.
  • Dec 10 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN in 1948.
  • Dec 11 - American politican George Mason (VA Declaration of Rights) born in 1725.
  • Dec 12 - Freethought activists Samuel Putnam and May Collins found dead in 1896.
  • Dec 13 - Herman of Rijswijk is burned at the stake for heresy at the Hague in 1512.
  • Dec 14 – Soviet dissident and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov dies in 1989.
  • Dec 15 – Journalist, social critic and raconteur Christopher Hitchens dies in 2011.
  • Dec 16 – Futurist and science fiction legend Sir Arthur C. Clarke is born in 1917.
  • Dec 17 – Temple to Saturn dedicated in the Roman Forum in 497 BCE.
  • Dec 18 – Seinfeld episode “The Strike” introduces the world to Festivus in 1998.
  • Dec 19 – WSJ publishes comedian Ricky Gervais’ essay “Why I Am an Atheist” in 2010.
  • Dec 20 – Freethought publisher Charles Chilton Moore born in KY in 1837.
  • Dec 21 – Influential skeptic and secular Humanist Paul Kurtz born in 1925.
  • Dec 22 – Writer/translator George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) dies in 1880.
  • Dec 23 – 1st “modern” Festivus observed in 1998, according to Seinfeld episode.
  • Dec 24 – Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis while orbiting the moon in 1968.
  • Dec 25 – 1st documented evidence of observance of Christmas on this day in 336 CE.
  • Dec 26 – American entertainer and TV personality Steve Allen born in NYC in 1921.
  • Dec 27 – Charles Darwin begins 5-year voyage aboard HMS Beagle in 1831.
  • Dec 28 – Albania becomes world’s 1st and only officially atheist state in 1976.
  • Dec 29 – Rationalist and Ethical Culture leader M. M. Mangasarian born in 1859.
  • Dec 30 – Brendan O’Neill castigates the New Atheism in UK’s The Guardian in 2007.
  • Dec 31 – Atheist/feminist blogger and activist Greta Christina born in Chicago in 1961.