This chapter looks at a crucial moment in the history of political secularism, albeit one that is not widely understood. We examine the writing of the British freethinker George Jacob Holyoake and his introduction of a new word: secularism. Holyoake defined the term in a completely novel way, as did his critic Charles Bradlaugh. For the former secularism was an ethical system, a lifestyle, predicated on a scientific worldview. For the latter it was atheism. Both seemed to ignore the twenty centuries of discussions about political secularism that preceded them. Their debate, conducted in an era where freedom of speech was a major concern, was to switch or “swerve” the trajectory of political secularism in the decades to come.