Madalyn Murray O'Hair

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Sheldon's picture
Madalyn Murray O'Hair

OK so I'm watching the film The Most Hated Woman in America, and it seems like a rich vein to tap in the debate forum.

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Sheldon's picture
This quote comes to mind...

This quote comes to mind...

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you’ll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

Rudyard Kipling

Like Kipling she was clearly a flawed human being in many ways, as are we all, but it's hard to imagine any belief so weak it needs to murder those who publicly and vociferously can't, or won't share it. Anyone know about this woman and her life?

boomer47's picture


From what I've read about her ,plus the odd documentary, she was 'prickly' at best and could be quite obnoxious. She was also smart and tenacious. A great combination, an advantage for the powerless speaking to power.

Madalyn may not have been a nice woman , but in my opinion, this was a great woman .In America, a country deeply infected with religion, her task was probably harder than getting Miranda rights.

Sadly, Madalyn had a sad and sordid end, being murdered for gain------

From Wikipedia (a pretty good article actually) .

"--------------------Ultimately, the investigation focused on David Roland Waters, an ex-felon with a violent history, who had worked for American Atheists. He had pled guilty earlier that year to stealing $54,000 from the organization.[28] Shortly after his theft was discovered, O'Hair had published an article in the American Atheists newsletter exposing the theft and previous crimes.[13] O'Hair claimed that, at age 17, Waters had killed another teenager. Waters had been sentenced to prison for eight years.[13][28]-------- Waters was arrested and prosecuted; in a plea agreement to the charge of conspiracy, he agreed to lead authorities to the site where the dismembered bodies of the O'Hairs had been burned and buried. He was sentenced to serve 20 years in federal prison, which he had requested, rather than serve time in Texas state prison on his earlier theft conviction. He did not go to trial for the kidnapping and murders of the O'Hair. Source: The San Antonio Express-News articles on Jan. 30, 2001 and March 31. 2001. He was also ordered to pay back a total of $543,665 to the United Secularists of America and to the estates of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Jon Garth Murray, and Robin Murray O'Hair. It is unlikely that these debts were paid, because Waters had no ability to earn money while in prison. Waters died of lung cancer on January 27, 2003 at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina.[1"

watchman's picture
@ Sheldon ….

@ Sheldon ….

I've read a little about her...… a strong woman …a hard woman ….... unyielding and un compromising. but an American atheist pioneer.

There is a short but adequate bio of her on Wkipedia

and a Google search gives other references and interviews.

LogicFTW's picture
Ever watch monica lewinsky on

Ever watch monica lewinsky on ted talks?

For a time she was the most hated/disgraced woman in the world, right at the dawn of popular internet use in the US.

CyberLN's picture
Logic, that is one of my

Logic, that is one of my favorite TED Talks.

Grinseed's picture
I've seen the movie and she

I've seen the movie and she wasn't murdered for her atheism.

Sheldon's picture
So I understand, it was about

So I understand, it was about money, no?

Grinseed's picture
Yes. I am sketchy on the

Yes. I am sketchy on the details, been awhile since I saw that film, but it didn't end well at all for anyone.

CyberLN's picture
As a citizen of the U.S., I

As a citizen of the U.S., I’ve a lot for which I owe Ms. O’Hair a great deal of gratitude.

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