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Freethought Day
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Published Sunday, October 11, 2015 @ 3:11 PM EDT
Oct 11 2015


(from freethoughtday.org)

Freethought Day is October 12, the annual observance by freethinkers and secularists of the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials. The seminal event connected to Freethought Day is a letter written by then Massachusetts Governor William Phips in which he wrote to the Privy Council of the British monarchs, William and Mary, on this day in 1692. In this correspondence he outlined the quagmire that the trials had degenerated into, in part by a reliance on "evidence" of a non-objective nature and especially "spectral evidence" in which the accusers claimed to see devils and other phantasms consorting with the accused. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance- unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion, have the full protection of the guarantees (of the First Amendment).
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

America is a country with a First Amendment, and you're allowed to publish just about anything you want, as long as it's not real secret information. Of course, nobody really does that except for, you know, you guys in the media.
-Tom Clancy

An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment.
-Hugo Black

First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.
-Anthony Kennedy

For the First Amendment rests upon the premise that both religion and government can best work to achieve their lofty aims if each is left free from the other within its respective sphere.
-Hugo Black

I can only assume that your editorial writer tripped over the First Amendment and thought it was the office cat.
-E.B. White

If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.
-Thurgood Marshall

If there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

If you're not going to offend somebody you don't need the First Amendment.
-Larry Flynt

In Cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance.
-John Perry Barlow

In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.
-Hugo Black

It is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table: I have no interest in doing it.
-Barney Frank

It is true that many Americans find the (Ten) Commandments in accord with their personal beliefs. But we do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.
-Sandra Day O'Connor

People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.
-Neil deGrasse Tyson

Privacy is not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution as freedom of speech is in the First Amendment.
-Larry Flynt

Surely they knew that the very idea of the future came in an American box- complete with instructions for assembling a Constitution, a MacDonald's hamburger franchise, a row of Marriot hotels and a First Amendment.
-Lewis H. Lapham

The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.
-Hugo Black

The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.
-Anthony Kennedy

The First Amendment is truly the heart of the Bill of Rights. The Framers balanced its freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition against the needs of a powerful central government, and decided that in those freedoms lies this nation's only true security. They were not afraid for men to be free. We should not be.
-Hugo Black

The First Amendment says nothing about your getting paid for saying anything. It just says you can say it. I don't believe that if a corporation pulls all the money out of you or a network pulls their money away or you get fired, you're being censored.
-Penn Jillette

The First Amendment was designed to protect offensive speech, because nobody ever tries to ban the other kind.
-Mike Godwin

The word 'security' is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment. The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security...
-Hugo Black

We must remember the First Amendment which protects any shrill jackass no matter how self-seeking.
-F.G. Withington

When they took the fourth amendment, I was silent because I don't deal drugs. When they took the sixth amendment, I kept quiet because I know I'm innocent. When they took the second amendment, I said nothing because I don't own a gun. Now they've come for the first amendment, and I can't say anything at all.
-Tim Freeman

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(October 12 is also the birthday of Dick Gregory.)


Categories: First Amendment, Freethought


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