Hanging in my office at the Center for Inquiry is a pair of sentiments from Lydia Maria Child.
Lydia Maria Child (February 11, 1802–October 20, 1880) is considered one of the most influential woman writers of the nineteenth century. You probably know one of her poems, yet very few remember her today.
Child converted to Unitarianism after her brother became a UU minister but never felt she could find a religion that matched her needs. At this time, she also began writing, and her topics are what we would refer to today as social justice issues: equal rights for women and Native Americans and the abolition of slavery. Her book An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans is considered a precursor to Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Child’s book influenced many people to become open to abolition before Stowe wrote her novel.
Child was also a novelist, poet, and newspaper editor. She wrote the poem that was adapted into a song that is heard every late fall: “Over the River and Through the Woods.”
Here is one of the sentiments that I have on the wall of my office:
If men applied half as much common sense to their theological investigations, as they do to every other subject, they could not worship a god, who, having filled this world with millions of his children, would finally consign them all to eternal destruction, except a few who would be induced to believe in very difficult and doubtful explanations of prophecies, handed down to us through the long lapse of ages. L. M. C.
Lydia Maria Child appears to be another one of those people forgotten by history due to their unorthodox thoughts.