What a contrast. In 1252 Pope Innocent IV issued a papal bull that authorized (with some limits) the torture of heretics under the Medieval Inquisition. Then in 1891, Pope Leo XIII defended workers’ rights and property rights in the Encyclical Rerum Novarum – the beginning of modern social teaching – nice of the Church to come out of the Dark Ages though belated.
In 1817 the first private mental health hospital in the US was opened in Philadelphia, while in 1851 the Australian gold rush began, and in 1905 the city where a lot of gold is played with – Las Vegas – was founded. And the place with the Golden Arches – the first McDonald’s – was opened in 1940.
There were some gains for women on this date: a bill establishing the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was signed into law in 1940. President Nixon appointed Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P Hoisington as the first female US Army generals in 1970. And Edith Cresson became France’s first female Prime Minister in 1991.
On this date, we welcomed into the world L Frank Baum (1856) the creator of the Wizard of Oz and its many sequels; Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (1902) who had a big hand in the chaos surrounding the 1968 Democratic Convention; American sailor and photographer Richard Avedon (1923); and Madeliene Albright (1937) the first female Secretary of State.
We said goodbye to a trio of religious and theological leaders: Edward Flanagan (1948) the American priest who founded Boys Town; noted evangelical theologian Francis Shaeffer (1984); and Liberty University and religious right bullhorn Jerry Falwell (2007). We also bid farewell to the standout but very private New England poet Emily Dickinson (1886), country music star June Carter Cash (2003, wife of Johnny), and American historian, journalist, and author Theodore H White (1986) who wrote a series of books called The Making of the President.
This is International Conscientious Objector Day and the International Day of Families.