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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

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 Today's quote: Schlesinger

"As a historian, I confess to a certain amusement when I hear the Judeo-Christian tradition praised as the source of our present-day concern for human rights.... In fact, the great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights ... not only for acquiescence in poverty, inequality, exploitation and oppression, but also for enthusiastic justifications for slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children, torture, and genocide. Religion during most of the history of the West saw the trials visited on mankind in this world as ordained by the Almighty to test and purify sinful mortals.... Moreover, religion enshrined hierarchy, authority, and inequality; hated blasphemy; and feared heresy.... It was the age of equality that brought about the disappearance of such religious appurtenances as the auto-da-fe and burning at the stake."

~ Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., American historian, in a speech at the inauguration of Vartan Gregorian as president of Brown University, 1989, from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief

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