The Freethinker (journal)
|First issue||1 May 1881|
|Final issue||April 2014 (print)|
The Freethinker is an anti-Christian organ, and must therefore be chiefly aggressive. It will wage relentless war against superstition in general, and against Christian superstition in particular. It will do its best to employ the resources of Science, Scholarship, Philosophy and Ethics against the claims of the Bible as a Divine Revelation; and it will not scruple to employ for the same purpose any weapons of ridicule or sarcasm that may be borrowed from the armoury of Common Sense.
Although closely linked with the National Secular Society for most of its history (NSS Presidents and General Secretaries have at various times also served as Freethinker editor), The Freethinker is strictly autonomous and is not, and never has been, published by the NSS.
In 2006, the magazine's front-page masthead was changed from "Secular humanist monthly" to "The Voice of Atheism since 1881".
Barry Duke is the current editor.
Following the publication of anti-religious cartoons in the Christmas 1882 edition of The Freethinker, Foote was prosecuted for blasphemy, and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour. On receiving his sentence from Mr Justice North (a devout Catholic), Foote said "with great deliberation" to the Judge "My Lord, I thank you; it is worthy of your creed". His description of this experience was published in 1886 as Prisoner for Blasphemy.
The April 2014 edition of The Freethinker contained an announcement that the May issue would be the last to appear in print; publication would continue online.
List of Freethinker editors
Here is a list of editors of The Freethinker from 1881:
- George William Foote, 1881–1915 (Edward Aveling edited the paper during Foote's imprisonment, 1883)
- Chapman Cohen, 1915–1951
- Frank Ridley, 1951–1954
- A Committee consisting of F. A. Hornibrook, Bayard Simmons, G. H. Taylor 1954–1957?
- Colin McCall replaced Simmons in 1957 and became sole editor until December 1965
- David Tribe, January 1966 – July 1966
- Kit Mouat, August 1966 – January 1967
- David Collis, January – November 1967
- Karl Hyde, November 1967 – August 1968
- David Reynolds, September 1968 – July 1970
- William McIlroy, 1970 – December 1971
- Nigel Sinnott, January 1972 – November 1973
- Christopher Morey, November 1973 – December 1974
- William McIlroy, 1975–1976
- Jim Herrick, January 1977 – 1981
- William McIlroy, September 1981–December 1992
- Peter Brearey, January 1993–1998
- Barry Duke, 1998–Present
- "Atheism and Humanism Links". Arthur Chappell. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- Cohen, Chapman (1940). Almost an Autobiography: Confessions of a Freethinker. London: Pioneer Press.
- Herrick, Jim (1982). Vision and Realism: A Hundred Years of The Freethinker. London: GW Foote & Co. ISBN 0-9508243-0-5.
- Marsh, Joss (1998). Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-50691-6.
- Smoker, Barbara (2002). Freethoughts: Atheism, Secularism, Humanism – Selected Egotistically from 'The Freethinker'. London: GW Foote & Co. ISBN 0-9508243-5-6.