1926 February 20

“Blasphemer” Bimba to Speak Despite Bans

 

Anthony Bimba, editor of a Lithuanian-language communist paper from Brooklyn, New York, made a promise on this day to speak in Worcester, Massachusetts, despite the fact that he had been indicted for the crime of blasphemy in the state, and that he had been banned from speaking in several cities. On November 20, 1926 he was able to speak at Faneuil Hall in Boston, despite protests from city council members.

Bimba was probably one of the last people ever charged with the crime of blasphemy in the U.S. His friends asserted that “not even military force” would prevent him from speaking in Worcester. Bimba was prosecuted on charges of both blasphemy and sedition. The jury acquitted him on the blasphemy charge but convicted him on the sedition charge. The sedition charge was provoked in part by his statement that, “They tell us there is a God. Where is he? “There is no such thing. Who can prove it? There are still fools enough who believe in God.”

Learn about the history of the crime of Blasphemy: Leonard Levy, Blasphemy: Verbal Offense Against the Sacred (1993)

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