In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
— Mark Twain
“I do not like this world as it is.
“I am trying to make it a little more as I would like to have it.”
— Helen Keller, firebrand socialist and political activist
We all learned early in our public schooling that two of America’s greatest originals were Mark Twain and Helen Keller.
And yet in the category of “Things They Didn’t Teach Us Back in School,” I wonder how many Americans know that the great American icon Helen Keller was a lifelong, radical socialist who once went so far as to praise Lenin, or that Mark Twain was (arguably) such a radical atheist that his writing and lectures went a long way in shaping Bill Maher’s anti-Christian, anti-reigion worldview.
I was reminded of this when I came across a piece by Josh Jones at the Web site “Open Culture” about Twain’s affection for Helen Keller.
“He treated me not as a freak, but as a handicapped woman seeking a way to circumvent extraordinary difficulties,” Keller once wrote.
Christian or not, Mark Twain was one of the most morally high-minded Americans who ever came down the pike–as was Miss Helen.
[And as a personal aside, it grieves me to say that I have many good and dear atheist friends–who agree to disagree with me on Christian faith and religion–who are such compassionate, loving, grace-filled, merciful, forgiving, tolerant (they respect my Christian faith, after all) and all-around high-quality human beings that they make many of my Christian tribe look like demons by comparison.]
Read more about Twain’s loving affection for Helen Keller by clicking here to the “Open Culture” site.