Category Archives: History

America’s risk of autocracy

America’s worrisome step by step slide toward authoritarianism continues with each news cycle. Trump’s paranoia and mendacity are reasons, as is Americans’ vulnerability to any frog-in-heating-water gradualism. There is plenty of blame to go around, as my reading the entire … Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics | 4 Comments

Happy anniversary, Bill of Rights!

Today, December 15, is the 227th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. The first of these ten began with the following words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or … Continue reading

Posted in Church and state, History, Liberty | 4 Comments

Tennessee’s monkey trial revitalized

Due to a 1960 movie, Inherit the Wind, many Americans are familiar with the 1925 trial of high school teacher John T. Scopes in Dayton, Tennessee, just north of Chattanooga. Because Scopes had violated the state law against teaching Darwinian … Continue reading

Posted in History, Science and society | 2 Comments

America’s birthday is next week

Not July 4, 1776? Right. Not. A group of nine relatively friendly, independent former colonies of England became the United States of America on June 21, 1788! Into the world was born a new country (so I wrote June 17, … Continue reading

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That was then, this is now

When confronted with historical, horrific acts by Christians in the name of Jehovah and Jesus, today’s faithful frequently point out that civilization in general was harsher, more violent, and uneducated than now. Their argument is that previous mayhem was a … Continue reading

Posted in History, Religion's costs and foibles | Leave a comment

Merry Krismas!

I like Christmas. My wife and I normally have a tree and exchange gifts. When our granddaughters were young—and geography and travel permitted—Christmas in alternate years we gathered with my daughters, their husbands, and their kids, with the usual overeating … Continue reading

Posted in Atheism and other freethought, History | Leave a comment

Our debt to Roger Williams

If you’ve ever held an old and rare book in your hands, you know the thrill I enjoyed for a few hours on August 23. I’m writing this in the Rare Books reading room in the Library of Congress in … Continue reading

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