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)

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!