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Encyclopedia > Freethought Day

Freethought Day is October 12th, the annual observance by freethinkers and secularists of the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials. Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logical principles and not be compromised by authority, tradition, or any other dogma. ... This article is about secularism. ... 1876 illustration of the courtroom; the central figure is usually identified as Mary Walcott The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings by local magistrates and county court trials to prosecute people alleged to have committed acts of witchcraft in Essex, Suffolk and Middlesex Counties of Massachusetts in 1692...


The seminal event connected to Freethought Day is an edict issued by Massachusetts Governor William Phips, about 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 denegerated into 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. This article is about the U.S. State. ... Sir William Phips (or Phipps) (February 2, 1651 – February 18, 1695) was a colonial governor of Massachusetts. ... Her Majestys Most Honourable Privy Council is a body of advisors to the British Sovereign. ...


As Dr. Tim Gorski, Pastor of the North Texas Church of Freethought has observed: The North Texas Church of Freethought was founded in 1994 to serve the religious needs of atheists, agnostics, and other unbelievers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. ...

"Now this is the important part: why did [Phips] do it? Was [he] a Freethinker? No. Was it that people suddenly realized that there are no witches, no demons, no evil spells and the like? No. No, the Phips Edict came about with the complicity of all the devout fundamentalist believers that constituted the community of Salem and the Colony of Massachusetts because they had to.
Winston Churchill once remarked that 'What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end.' Churchill also said that 'You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else!'
For, you see, eventually, at some point, and to some degree, people simply have to act rationally. You have to open doors before walking through doorways. You have to turn the key in your ignition before you drive home today. No amount of faith and prayer can allow anyone to do otherwise. And despite all the rhetorical flourishes of the superstitious believers, that’s the way it’s always been and always will be. Indeed, this truth is becoming more and more important every day.
It’s also the essence of the role of the law: to hold people to a standard of dealing with one another that’s based on reason. That’s the basis of every shall and shalt not that there is, not some divine command of 'do it or else.'"

Freethought Week is often observed during the week in which October 12th falls or Freethought Month during October which, of course, culminates in the holiday of Halloween. “Churchill” redirects here. ...


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