Today's salute goes out to Thomas Paine, or as his friends called him- "Tommy P."
Have you ever heard of this guy? I heard about him one time in high school. He wrote some booklet back in 1776 called "Common Sense". It sold a buttload of copies and made him famous and he got to go on the Oprah show and everything.
Tommy P. was buddies with guys like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and other drunk-ass, slave-owning wackos who started this kick-ass country because they thought it would be "cool."
Besides writing "Common Sense" and binge drinking with Franklin and Jefferson, Tommy P. thought organized religion was a sham. He thought it sucked big time.
Here's a quote from Tommy P. in this book that I'm reading right now, called "2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt" --
"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
Tommy P. also said this--
"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethern, and to do good is my religion."
So there you go. There's Tommy P. for you.
But whether or not you agree with him about religion, the thing that Tommy P. did was express an opinion. And that wasn't too popular back in the 1700s. People would throw you in jail and kill you for saying bad stuff about the church.
And that's what happened to Tommy P.! He was kickin' it in France, and some French dudes threw him in the slammer and were about to guillotine his ass. But due to a clerical error, he didn't end up getting murdered, so I bet he was pretty happy about that!
Eventually Tommy P. returned to the U.S. where, according to the book I'm reading, "Paine found himself widely hated." He then lived for a few more years and died in poverty.
Dang! What a life. Who knew speaking your mind back then could carry such a price? And Tommy P. knew the price, but he did it anyway. And he had to live in the 18th Century which was a totally lame century. They didn't even have Girl Scout Cookies back then!
ON THIS GREAT DAY, MAY 7, 2007, DOTSON SALUTES THOMAS PAINE, FOR HAVING THE NICKNAME "TOMMY P.", FOR THINKING RELIGION SUCKED, FOR BEING PALS WITH BEN "WE BE JAMMIN'" FRANKLIN AND "TOMMY GUN" JEFFERSON, FOR BEING ON THE OPRAH SHOW, FOR BEING IMPRISONED IN FRANCE BUT NOT DYING THERE, FOR BEING WIDELY HATED IN THE U.S. TOWARDS THE END OF HIS LIFE, AND FOR SPEAKING HIS MIND.
I have now a very special video for you. It was filmed the day that Thomas Paine found out he was going to be on the Oprah Winfrey show, and as you might imagine, he was PRETTY EXCITED!
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