„My 'morals' were sound, even a bit puritanic, but when a hidebound old deacon inveighed against dancing I rebelled. By the time of graduation I was still a 'believer' in orthodox religion, but had strong questions which were encouraged at Harvard. In Germany I became a freethinker and when I came to teach at an orthodox Methodist Negro school I was soon regarded with suspicion, especially when I refused to lead the students in public prayer. When I became head of a department at Atlanta, the engagement was held up because again I balked at leading in prayer. I refused to teach Sunday school. When Archdeacon Henry Phillips, my last rector, died, I flatly refused again to join any church or sign any church creed. From my 30th year on I have increasingly regarded the church as an institution which defended such evils as slavery, color caste, exploitation of labor and war..“
„I am fifty years old and I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: 'He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty.“
— Gustave Courbet French painter 1819 - 1877
In a letter of Gustave Courbet (1869); in Letters of Gustave Courbet, 1992, University of Chicago Press, transl. Petra Ten-Doesschate Chu,
„I don’t have an issue with what you do in the church, but I’m gonna be up in your face if you’re gonna knock on my science classroom and tell me they’ve got to teach what you’re teaching in your Sunday school. Because that’s when we’re gonna fight!“
— Neil deGrasse Tyson American astrophysicist and science communicator 1958
„When I arrived at Harvard in 1969, my fellow first-year graduate students and I were taken up to the roof of the Widener Library by a well-known professor of classics. He told us how many Episcopal churches could be seen from that vantage point. As a Jew (in fact a convert from Episcopalian Christianity), I knew that my husband and I would have been forbidden to marry in Harvard's church, which had just refused to accept a Jewish wedding. As a woman I could not eat in the main dining room of the faculty club, even as a member's guest. Only a few years before, a woman would not have been able to use the undergraduate library. In 1972 I became the first female to hold the Junior Fellowship that relieved certain graduate students from teaching so that they could get on with their research. At that time I received a letter of congratulation from a prestigious classicist saying that it would be difficult to know what to call a female fellow, since "fellowess" was an awkward term. Perhaps the Greek language could solve the problem: since the masculine for "fellow" in Greek was hetairos, I could be called a hetaira. Hetaira, however, as I knew, is the ancient Greek word not for “fellowess” but for “courtesan.”“
— Martha C. Nussbaum American philosopher 1947
„My whole life has been based on two principles: the love of the Church to which I am united, and the love of my country, which I adore. If I do not care whether I am sentenced to ten years imprisonment or to be shot, it is not because I am a fanatic... Since I joined the Catholic Church my sole object has been to reconcile my country to that Church which I believe to be the One True Church.“
— Leonid Feodorov Exarch of the Russian Catholic Church 1879 - 1935
Captain Francis McCullagh, "The Bolshevik Persecution of Christianity," page 238. Addressing the court shortly before being sentenced to ten years in the GULAG.
„My theological beliefs are likely to startle one who has imagined me as an orthodox adherent of the Anglican Church. My father was of that faith, and was married by its rites, yet, having been educated in my mother's distinctively Yankee family, I was early placed in the Baptist sunday school. There, however, I soon became exasperated by the literal Puritanical doctrines, and constantly shocked my preceptors by expressing scepticism of much that was taught me. It became evident that my young mind was not of a religious cast, for the much exhorted "simple faith" in miracles and the like came not to me. I was not long forced to attend the Sunday school, but read much in the Bible from sheer interest. The more I read the Scriptures, the more foreign they seemed to me. I was infinitely fonder on the Graeco-Roman mythology, and when I was eight astounded the family by declaring myself a Roman pagan. Religion struck me so vague a thing at best, that I could perceive no advantage of any one system over any other. I had really adopted a sort of Pantheism, with the Roman gods as personified attributes of deity.... My present opinions waver betwixt Pantheism and rationalism. I am a sort of agnostic, neither affirming nor denying anything.“
— H.P. Lovecraft American author 1890 - 1937
Letter to Maurice W. Moe (16 January 1915), in Selected Letters I, 1911-1924 edited by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, p. 10
„When I sought admission to graduate schools, when I applied for fellowships and summer study grants, when I needed a teaching assistantship, my Spanish surname or the dark mark in the space indicating my race—‘check one’—nearly always got me whatever I asked for.“
— Richard Rodríguez American journalist and essayist 1944
„I so detached my heart from the world and cut short my hopes that for thirty years now I have performed each prayer as though it were my last and I were praying the prayer of farewell.“
— Rabia Basri Muslim saint and Sufi mystic 717 - 801
as quoted in Early Islamic Mysticism (New York: Paulist Press: 1996), p. 165
„I associated much of Christian doctrine with children's stories because I grew up in church. My Sunday school teachers had turned Bible narrative into children's fables. They talked about Noah and the ark because the story had animals in it. They failed to mention that this was when God massacred all of humanity.“
— Don Miller (author) American writer 1971
„In the year 1884 I wrote a book under the title "What I Believe," in which I did in fact make a sincere statement of my beliefs. In affirming my belief in Christ's teaching, I could not help explaining why I do not believe, and consider as mistaken, the Church's doctrine... Among the many points in which this doctrine falls short of the doctrine of Christ I pointed out as the principal one the absence of any commandment of non-resistance to evil by force. The perversion of Christ's teaching by the teaching of the Church is more clearly apparent in this than in any other point of difference.“
— Leo Tolstoy Russian writer 1828 - 1910
„I am writing this preliminary statement of my reasons for not paying taxes ahead of time, as I was recently informed by your office that I would be imprisoned for my constant refusal to pay taxes. Upon my arrest I will give you the correct report of my earnings to date in 1948. My belief in the iniquity of government, which exists primarily to wage war, has been stated this last six years in my statement to your department when I refused to pay any tax, and also in articles in the Catholic Worker.“
— Ammon Hennacy American Christian radical 1893 - 1970
"Tax Statement (1949)"
„I must say that when my Southern Christian Leadership Conference began its work in Birmingham, we encountered numerous Negro church reactions that had to be overcome. Negro ministers were among other Negro leaders who felt they were being pulled into something that they had not helped to organize. This is almost always a problem. Negro community unity was the first requisite if our goals were to be realized. I talked with many groups, including one group of 200 ministers, my theme to them being that a minister cannot preach the glories of heaven while ignoring social conditions in his own community that cause men an earthly hell. I stressed that the Negro minister had particular freedom and independence to provide strong, firm leadership, and I asked how the Negro would ever gain freedom without his minister's guidance, support and inspiration. These ministers finally decided to entrust our movement with their support, and as a result, the role of the Negro church today, by and large, is a glorious example in the history of Christendom. For never in Christian history, within a Christian country, have Christian churches been on the receiving end of such naked brutality and violence as we are witnessing here in America today. Not since the days of the Christians in the catacombs has God's house, as a symbol, weathered such attack as the Negro churches.
I shall never forget the grief and bitterness I felt on that terrible September morning when a bomb blew out the lives of those four little, innocent girls sitting in their Sunday-school class in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. I think of how a woman cried out, crunching through broken glass, "My God, we're not even safe in church!" I think of how that explosion blew the face of Jesus Christ from a stained-glass window. It was symbolic of how sin and evil had blotted out the life of Christ. I can remember thinking that if men were this bestial, was it all worth it? Was there any hope? Was there any way out?... time has healed the wounds -- and buoyed me with the inspiration of another moment which I shall never forget: when I saw with my own eyes over 3000 young Negro boys and girls, totally unarmed, leave Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church to march to a prayer meeting -- ready to pit nothing but the power of their bodies and souls against Bull Connor's police dogs, clubs and fire hoses. When they refused Connor's bellowed order to turn back, he whirled and shouted to his men to turn on the hoses. It was one of the most fantastic events of the Birmingham story that these Negroes, many of them on their knees, stared, unafraid and unmoving, at Connor's men with the hose nozzles in their hands. Then, slowly the Negroes stood up and advanced, and Connor's men fell back as though hypnotized, as the Negroes marched on past to hold their prayer meeting. I saw there, I felt there, for the first time, the pride and the power of nonviolence.
Another time I will never forget was one Saturday night, late, when my brother telephoned me in Atlanta from Birmingham -- that city which some call "Bombingham" -- which I had just left. He told me that a bomb had wrecked his home, and that another bomb, positioned to exert its maximum force upon the motel room in which I had been staying, had injured several people. My brother described the terror in the streets as Negroes, furious at the bombings, fought whites. Then, behind his voice, I heard a rising chorus of beautiful singing: "We shall overcome." Tears came into my eyes that at such a tragic moment, my race still could sing its hope and faith.“
— Martin Luther King, Jr. American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement 1929 - 1968
Interview in Playboy (January 1965) https://web.archive.org/web/20080706183244/http://www.playboy.com/arts-entertainment/features/mlk/04.html
„It was a long season of mourning and there were times when I wondered if I should mourn all my life and never again be free of it; but at last I could remember without weeping, and recall the days of love without unending sorrow welling up like tears from the very depths of my being. There is no sorrow like the memory of love and the knowledge that it is gone forever; even in dreams, I never saw again his face, and though I longed for it, I came at last to see that it was just as well, lest I live all the rest of my life in dreams…but at last there came a day when I could look back and know that the time for mourning was ended. (Morgaine)“
— Marion Zimmer Bradley Novelist, editor 1930 - 1999
„I became an actor because it was the only thing I could do. I didn't have any friends, I didn't fit in. But when I started acting everything in my life shifted and I felt happy.“
— Gillian Anderson American-British film, television and theatre actress, activist and writer 1968
Steve Pratt (April 14, 2007) "Straight talking", The Northern Echo, p. 18.
„My head spins as I glance away, refusing to get sucked back into his gaze when so much is at risk.“
— Emily Giffin, Love the One You're With