Tom Flynn - Robert Ingersoll, The Great Agnostic

  • March 13, 2012 · 7:00 PM
  • UU Church of Worcester

We will be joined by Tom Flynn, Executive Director of Center for Inquiry and Editor of Free Inquiry and Manager of the Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden, NY. He will discuss the life and legacy of Robert Green Ingersoll, The Great Agnostic.

Ingersoll is one of America’s great freethinkers. He was born in Dresden, NY. He was the son of a minister, had a photographic memory and was college educated. He became a lawyer and served as Illinois first Attorney General and during the Civil War he was given the rank of Colonel and the command of the 11th Illinois Calvary.   He was quoted as his role in the Civil War was to “break the chains from the bodies of men.” Later, he would redefine his role in society to free people from the “phantoms of the soul.” Ingersoll was a successful lawyer and the premier orator of his time and Eugene Debs gave him the title of the “Shakespeare of Oratory.” He traveled the country speaking to large gatherings and politicians requested his endorsement. Ingersoll challenged the religious orthodoxy; he was a contemporary of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, he endorsed women’s rights for the vote, equal pay and equal opportunity to employment, and the right for birth control. Margaret Sanger admired his progressive philosophy. His writings on religion, ethics and other related topics are American Classics and are relevant today.

The presentation will start at 7pm at the UU Church of Worcester, with doors opening at 6:30 for socializing and conversation. Everyone is welcome, but we do ask that non members make a suggested donation of $5 at the door.  A yearly membership with Greater Worcester Humanists is $30 which helps us organize our monthly meetings and organization costs.

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  • Gerald Castonguay (.

    I thought Tom Flynn was excellent -- a blend of facts, humor, and particularly interesting and informative excursions exploring 19th cent. culture

    March 15, 2012

  • Julie W.

    Mr. Flynn was very entertaining and a good speaker. However, two issues made me give him three stars. First of all the last speaker was amazing and a tough act to follow. Second, Mr. Flynn presumed a familiarity with Ingersoll that some of us in the audience, myself included, did not have. I learned a lot about the Freethinkers Trail but would have liked to learn more about Ingersoll.

    March 14, 2012

  • Christopher M.

    I really enjoyed this presentation. I learned quite a bit about the free thought movement in the late 19th century that I'd never heard before. Tom is an energetic speaker and incredibly knowledgeable about the material.

    March 14, 2012

  • rjbowlin

    Tom Flynn is always a good speaker, and the presentation was very informative. I'm inspired to read more of Robert Ingersolls lectures.

    March 14, 2012

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