Talk:Madalyn Murray O'Hair

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Untitled[edit]

suggested improvements: 1. cover her relations with other atheist leaders. 2. cover her lawsuit over the TRUTHSEEKER estate. 3. cover the split with Anne Gaylor. 4. cover the LA breakaway 5. cover the Chicago breakaway. 6. cover her friendships with religious persons 7. discuss her publishing and writing efforts 8. discuss the radio and TV shows 9. discuss her debates 10. discuss her university appearences —Preceding unsigned comment added by 165.139.19.60 (talk) 14:37, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

It is rather obvious at this point that the author or authors of the Wikipedia article on Mrs. OHair have absolutely no interest in discussing her relations with other atheists or her views on science. It is nonnotable material and any edits will be reversed. However, said material cannot be labeled as "original research" because a definitive biography of Mrs. O'Hair goes into some detail about her various assaults within the broader community of secularists. However, at this point, more than 15 years after her death I am willing to appreciate Madalyn for the odd character she was and the good work she did do, and leave it at that. -willard — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quinewill (talkcontribs) 03:43, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

While I laud her efforts at removing prayer from schools, what astronauts on duty do, military on or off duty do or any other federal employee does on their down time is none of her business. At the time, the reading of a scripture of three large religions was a commonplace thing, now she removed the first amendment from those fine people, while her rights are paramount. As for the rest, one book is insufficient reference for multiple items, one needs more than one source that is verifiable, such as news sites and other reputable sources.Wzrd1 (talk) 01:58, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Updates Required[edit]

This article is quite out of date though extensive, and could do with a little sanitisation as well. There is now also far more follow-up information available about the O'Hairs' murders and murderers. The esteem Madalyn is held in still today, in spite of (or somewhat because of) her outspokenness, by the American Atheists and atheists worldwide, needs to be mentioned - as does the fact she was somewhat ahead of her time in recognising the psychological dangers of religion. 218.214.138.11 04:14, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Point of view[edit]

uh, this seems a little POV: "It should also be noted that O'Hair was extremely abusive and abrasive towards just about everyone."

This is a generalization and not NPOV at all. Despite the fact that she may have been very "violent" in debates, this sentences portrays the picture of a woman who walks into convenience stores and breaks old ladies' bones. Should we remove it? Lockeownzj00 21:03, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It should be toned down if not altogether removed. -Sean Curtin 00:14, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)
There is nothing POV about it if it is mentioned by enough reputable sources. Hi There 18:52, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Sorry I disagree, number of sources does not equal degree of impartiality. 218.214.138.11 04:18, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

I too came across this article while researching something else and found it to be on the pov side. I'd suggest moving the attempt to attain Soviet citizenship to the criticism section as the citation is to an article that is on the pov side and cites her son William (clearly opposed to his mother) as the source. Focomoso 23:26, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

This is a ridiculously negative article about this person. As a founder of the American Atheists, presumably there are numerous positive actions she performed. Unfortunately, I am not familliar with her so I cannot make any changes myself, but this article just leaves me with the impression that it was written by people who hate her, and everything she stands for. The weaved quotes by her son are pointless, and seem derivative, for example. (Why not just say he converted and became estranged -- the other details are just relay of his testimony and opinions.) Qed 06:21, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes I'm sorry but I have to agree with the above comment, even if the effect of the article is unintentional it is still overburdened with negative bias. The basic thing is that O'Hair did not accept religion as tolerable, safe or healthy in any respect (something I heartily agree with), and set out to say so. Many seem unable to cope with this, but as religion slowly dies out, more voices like hers are indeed being heard nowadays - and she was speaking in the stoneage of the 60's. 218.214.138.11 04:21, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

This board is not for religious debate.Bjoh249 (talk) 02:44, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

i have to agree too. madalyn was abrasive but was good p.r. for american atheists. madalyn made the point that her lawsuit should not have been combined with abington because she included in her argument that prayer was worthless and a waste of time! she also once said about her estranged son's rebirth that "he's still an atheist, he's just tired of being poor." too bad i don't have any sources :-( DyNama 01:43, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

I think some of the posters on this topic are a little POV - "did not accept religion as tolerable, safe, or healthy in any respect (something I heartily agree with), and set out to say so. Many seem unable to cope with this, but as religion slowly dies out, more voices like hers are indeed being heard nowadays - and she was speaking in the stoneage of the 60's." Is this what you'd rather the article said? 'Cause if so, you're not any more NPOV. 12.208.84.94 (talk) 23:44, 23 November 2008 (UTC)


As someone who knew Mrs. O'Hair and her son Jon, I can vouch for the following. Madalyn did call herself "the Queen of Atheism" and she was nicknamed "Pope Madalyn" and "Mad Madalyn" by other atheists. She spent a great deal of time fighting with other atheist groups. Most other Atheist groups left Madalyn alone and even admired her for the good work she did in the 1960s. Madalyn insisted that she was the only voice of Atheism, and she would not tolerate other groups. Nor would she have any dissent in her own organization. She went so far as 1. filing phony local police reports against former employees, 2. sicking federal authorities on insubordinate chapter officers on suspicion of mail fraud, and 3. hiring off-duty cops as security to rough up dissenters at a convention. Most other Atheist groups simply had a "let's move on" attitude toward Madalyn and her abuse- after all, the enemy are the 50% of American adults who think that the world is 5,000 years old, not Madalyn. Note on the above- a former Atheist Center employee sued Madalyn and won a defamation case against her for a phony police report.

In the mid 1980s, Madalyn successfully sued William F. Buckley Jr. for calling her a communist. Madalyn could prove that she was never a communist party member, although she was active in Marxist circles for a time and supposedly attmepted a defection to the USSR. Madalyn could not talk about the Buckley case, as part of the deal. It is true that Madalyn financed her group and lived like an aristocrat largely through donations and estates of wealthy atheists. Larry Flynt also had given her some money. Madalyn launched a totally phony suit against the Estate of atheist publisher James Hervey Johnson of California. Johnson was a virulent racist and anti-Semite; his atheism seemed to be an afterthought. Madalyn was going for Johnson's 16,000,000 dollar estate on the grounds that she held stock certificates that gave her majority control. Madalyn did have a relationship with several older Atheist leaders who gave her some financial help and turned over their mailing lists to her after she started the Society of Separationists. The Johnson Estate unsuccessfully countersued Madalyn under the RICO act.

Side notes: Jon Garth and Robin were generally despised by officers and rank and file members of AA. Garth was particularly vulnerable to criticism because of his lack of social graces, lack of serious reading, and his "Elmer Fudd" way of saying the letter "r." It is true that Garth used to give all kinds of awards to an Athiest chapter director who he wanted as a girlfriend- to no good result. On the plus side, the Murray-O'Hairs and their late Vice-President, Gerald Tholen, were tremendous dog-lovers and IIRC did much good in Austin to promote animal welfare. Gerald Tholen trained hunting dogs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.28.138.167 (talk) 05:51, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Wow! That's an impressive string of wild, unsubstantiated accusations! You obviously have some ideologically-based hostility towards her, whatever your claimed relationship. There's no doubt that she was a flawed person (as are we all), but she was obviously a courageous woman who put herself at great risk advocating unpopular ideals that she felt were of benefit to mankind. You, on the other hand, seem content to anonymously slander her, repeating every lie, myth and warped half-truth concocted by the religious right to attempt to discredit her by any means they could devise. We get it guys; you're angry because you lost your "right" to force the rest of us into compliance with your ancient mythological/ideological system and its rigid, archaic rules. Heavenlyblue (talk) 00:13, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

There is obvious bias from her son's testimony and it is painfully clear he simply hated his mother. This bias should not be included in this article, son or not. It is not neutral and is coming from a source of anger and hatred. It paints this woman as a demon and that is obvious religious bias right there. He goes on to talk of praying and hell, this that and the other of religious thinking. That is bias. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.166.70.214 (talk) 01:33, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes! A paragraph-length block quote full of obvious exaggerations and untruths, deep personal animosity, and clear religious/ideological bias seems a little excessive for an encyclopedia article. This quote seems to incorporate every wild rumour created by her enemies during the period of her disappearance. How then can it be included here as if it were legitimate childhood memory? Heavenlyblue (talk) 00:13, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
So, a cited statement is not permitted because it presents her son's POV? It is noteworthy, includes accusations that were partially verified by other persons from the organization statements and is germane to the article. We don't bless someone here, we report, in NPOV form, what was done, said and what was said of them.Wzrd1 (talk) 02:02, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Again: This is a paragraph-length quote, obviously full of wildly-exaggerated, unsubstantiated accusations:
"No, she was just evil. She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents' inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company....Regardless of how evil and lawless my mother was...."
This is really a bit much! Heavenlyblue (talk) 09:05, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
It was a quote from her own son who was there.Bjoh249 (talk) 02:39, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

FCC petition[edit]

The phrase: "It cites a petition to the FCC, which in real life was denied in 1975." is somewhat ambigious. Does it mean that the FCC denied the petition, or denied that there WAS a petition? Assuming it is the latter, I have changed this sentince to: "It cites a petition to the FCC, which in 1975 the FCC denied having received.". If it is supposed to mean the former, I would suggest changing it to: "It cites a petition to the FCC, which was denied by the FCC in 1975." - Peter Darley

It means the former. When a petition is denied it means it was turned down. The correct phraseology for the second case would be "a petition, whose existence was denied...". DJ Clayworth 06:06, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Atheistic fundamentalists[edit]

Clearly they are roaming Wiki to try and detheisthize anything that dares to stand in their way. This is pathetic. It is like a tribute to this woman or something. Free thinkers my fucking ass, Chomsky hates you all.The preceding unsigned comment was added by 217.42.228.8 (talk • contribs) 7 July 2005.

This is illustrative of the damage she did. He name is so conjoined with naturalist thought (atheism). Wyss 18:55, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
It should also be noted that as a child she wanted to kill her father, and that she was a psycho bitch The preceding unsigned comment was added by Piemanmoo (talk • contribs) 20 October 2005.
It should furthermore be noted that such statements as "psycho bitch" need to be supported with evidence, and use NPOV language. Thank you.--droptone 02:48, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
An illustration of how bizarre life can become on Wikipedia. I wrote quite a lot of this article. I'm certainly not an 'atheist fundamentalist' and I personally think she is loathsome. DJ Clayworth 15:14, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm also a substantial contributor to this article and have a naturalistic worldview. I also tend to think of her as loathsome and feel she did extensive damage to secularism and rational thought during her lifetime. She was angry, shrill and vindictive, hardly a helpful spokesperson or advocate for those with a scientific outlook on the cosmos. Wyss 22:54, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't see the point of stating your biases here. I am myself a Christian who appreciates the intellectual merits of O'Hair's views but nevertheless I try to stick to Wikipedia guidelines. Your opinions only go to show that your contributions may have a penchant against the five pillars of Wikipedia. Welch10 09:39, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
My point of stating my personal view here was to illustrate to the original poster that his assumptions about 'atheist fundamentialists' was entirely wrong, and that it is actually possible to write an article without giving vent to your biases. I doubt it made much impact, but sometimes you've gotta try. (I've still no idea what I've done to upset Noam Chomsky though) DJ Clayworth 04:28, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Wow! And I thought the views expressed in the ISIL discussion were opinionated! It's blatantly obvious that this woman was detested. It's a miracle that a useable article was even made with all the controversy surrounding this figure. I say that anything in the article that sounds too opinionated should be either removed or, if it is based on fact, reworded so that it sounds like a neutral statement of facts. With so many strong opinions of this woman out there, anyone editing this article should take caution when editing this article. Anasaitis (talk) 20:33, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Repudiates her son: Cite?[edit]

From the article --

Murray called her son's conversion "unforgivable," and spoke of symbolically murdering him for what she viewed as a transgression against her: "One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times...He is beyond human forgiveness."

Does anyone have a cite for this rather strong statement?? - 6 december 2005

It sounds so much like her that I've left it in, though it should be cited. Wyss 22:55, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I found it [1] and added it to the article. Wyss 01:35, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't think rotten.com counts as a valid citation source. It basicly recycles anything it finds on the internet with no checking. DJ Clayworth 23:40, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Here is a citation from a valid source: http://crimemagazine.com/ohair.htm Hi There 16:32, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
The citation and source have now been integrated into the body of the article.Hi There 17:12, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
This is NOT a valid source!! The (very hostile) Crime Magazine article gives no direct source for the quote, but the context implies that it is NOT a quote from her, but instead a quote from her son William, whose memories of his mother all seem to be filtered through a lens of deep ideological and personal hostility. Again, Crime gives no direct citation, but instead simply lists seven URLs at the bottom of the story. Only ONE of those sources contains the second-hand, hostile, vaguely-remembered "quote", and it DOES in fact turn out to be Rotten.com!! (Which, as has already been pointed out, is not a valid source!) This "quote" should either be removed or clearly labelled for what is - at best, the tainted recollection of a hostile, ideologically-driven child. Heavenlyblue (talk) 01:47, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
It is what it is. Everything posted on her page comes from sources close to her and also the facts spoken and done by Madalyn herself. Please respect that fact.Bjoh249 (talk) 02:37, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

"An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said" Best quote ever!

Not really, since I have never heard of any atheist hospital. While many hospitals are religiously owned.Bjoh249 (talk) 02:37, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, that ignorant quote pretty much sums her up, huh? Like there are no religiously affiliated hospitals. 72.144.198.53 20:45, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
That quote says nothing of the sort. It simply says that, given the choice, the author would prefer that money be spent on improving health, rather than promoting religion. Heavenlyblue (talk) 01:03, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Of course, no atheist group has ever actually BUILT a hospital, whereas tons of churches have. But don't let that slow you down. You TALK about building hospitals, after all, and that's kind of the same thing, isn't it? Carlo (talk) 02:26, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

"God helps those who help themselves." --Look, a better quote, and that's not even what's in the Bible!

You're sick religious, guys. You're so weak. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.203.51.71 (talk) 14:09, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Okay, why your comment was not removed but mine was is beyond me.Bjoh249 (talk) 02:37, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

User:Wyss[edit]

I just want to state that numerous edits by the following user introduce bad references, NPOV langauge. This article needs a lot of cleaning-up. It only needs to state facts, legitimate references. True, it is called an article but it has to be objective.

I removed something that said that Christians believe atheists are 'by definition' immoral. That is certainly not the case. It is true that a popular Christian position is that atheists are 'without moral foundation' - i.e. though they may act morally, they have no philosophical basis for doing so. Obviously atheists may dispute this, but that's not a discussion to have here. DJ Clayworth 15:39, 5 June 2006 (UTC)


Overlooked Sources?[edit]

I came here after reading an article an article here: http://crimemagazine.com/ohair.htm which also referenced a webpage by Murray-O'hair's son, here: http://www.rfcnet.org/news/default.asp?action=detail&article=144 where he writes as follows: "My mother was an evil person ... Not for removing prayer from America’s schools ... No ... She was just evil. She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents’ inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company." (That is a straight copy-and-paste and the ellipses are in the original.) Some of this stuff really ought to be incorporated into the article, I think. The original Crime Magazine aarticle - which in keeping with Crime Magazine's standards is quite good - lists various sources for its story besides William O'hair and are worth looking into. Also see here: http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/vol18/issue19/pols.naked.html for a few excerpts from her diary, including the following: "A 90-minute forage through the documents reveals a woman obsessed with money and power. On Jan. 6, 1973, O'Hair wrote her goals for the new year: "Begin a Bible chair at U. of Texas. Get a mink coat and a Cadillac car. Humiliate Billy Graham, for money." Again in December of 1975, after reviewing the poor state of her financial affairs, she wrote, "And where are your dreams Madalyn. I need money and power. One is synonymous with another. I need numbers and money. One gets the other. How to break into the circle?" And there's a deep-seated bitterness, as well. More than 40 years ago, long before she dashed into the media spotlight carrying the banner of atheism, O'Hair wrote about her passion for discord: "What is the matter with hating?" she wrote on Oct. 9, 1956. "It is treated as a leper among the emotions. Why in the hell should we go exuding sweetness & light?" Hi There 11:06, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

"O'Hair wrote her goals for the new year: "Begin a Bible chair at U. of Texas. Get a mink coat and a Cadillac car."" Do you not get humour? Or has ideological hatred blinded you to common sense? Heavenlyblue (talk) 01:24, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
And when she writes "I need money and power. One is synonymous with another. I need numbers and money.", she is obviously talking about resources to further what she saw as her mission of combating excessive religious influence in society. Trying to conflate those ideas to make it look as if her primary motivation was greed is just silly and dishonest. You may disagree with her and even hate her if you wish, but in terms of her personal motivations, this quote from the Crime Magazine article makes it clear that she was a courageous (if abrasive) person with a strong sense of mission:
"O’Hair herself told Life magazine back in 1963 that it would only take one crazy person to end her life: "These death threats are no picnic...I think sooner or later some night some nut is going to get a message from Jesus Christ and I'm going to have had it. But as long as I'm still round I'm going to keep on being a squeaking wheel." Heavenlyblue (talk) 01:24, 24 February 2012 (UTC)


She really was a disgusting person, no wonder Atheists idolize her as their God. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.138.0.221 (talkcontribs)

Note- there is a secondary source called THE ATHEIST by Bryan F. Le Beau (NYU Press, 2003) that confirms much information about Madalyn as given on this page. His book even mentions the Chicago and Los Angeles splits. I think that there is now enough evidence to support the basic facts of O'Hair's crusade against other Atheists and its notability. Value judgments about Madalyn's personality, character, and financial dealings can be left out without affecting the basic case made by the facts themselves. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.28.138.167 (talk) 21:34, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't think Wikipedia is the place for the constant spouting of bigoted hatred for atheists, though. Make sure to sign your comments. Star Ghost 23:00, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm an atheist who was appalled by Madalyn Murray O'Hair, and the reasons she appalled me are unaccountably missing from this article, but are well-documented in sources like G. Richard Bozarth's The Mouth That Roared (Bozarth worked at American Atheists HQ in Austin for many years), like Fred Woodworth's The Atheist Cult (Woodworth edited the Tucson chapter of American Atheists' newsletter for a few years), like testimony from excommunicated members of American Atheists such as Jeff Frankel, Brian Lynch (former treasurer of American Atheists), and Anne Gaylor (founder of the Freedom from Religion Foundation). Some of these reasons are documented in Lawrence Wright's profile of O'Hair in the Texas Monthly and his book Saints and Sinners. She was a bigoted, hateful, dishonest, control freak who wanted to turn atheism into a hierarchical organization that had her as Pope. Lippard (talk) 04:28, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

The Founding of American Atheists And Later[edit]

I have changed the title of the section "American Atheists" to "The Founding of American Atheists And Later" as the the original title did not accurately what was contained in the section.Hi There 17:19, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Attempted Defection to the Soviet Union[edit]

I know that this will prove controversial but it comes from a good source; from TWO good sources in fact. The original quote is a book from a very reputable publisher - Viking - and it was cited in an article which, although very much anti-O'hair, was written by a fellow atheist.Hi There 19:21, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm a little doubtful about this. One article referencing another book is pretty poor referencing. It may be true but I'd be happier if it were better backed up. DJ Clayworth 20:45, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Found another reference [2]. Happier now. DJ Clayworth 20:47, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
First rate! Thank you for finding that reference! Hi There 22:13, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Restored Paragraph Concerning The Fate Of The Extorted Gold Coins[edit]

It seems that the paragraph has been removed, but there is no explanation here regarding the reasons for it, so I have taken the liberty of restoring it. Although I understand that the fate of the coins is not an important matter in O'hair's biography, it is still nonetheless an bizarre occurence that really does deserve to be mentioned. If someone wants to note their reasons for the excision, I will be more than glad to discuss it further. Hi There 18:28, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I think "not an important matter in O'hair's biography" covers it nicely. DJ Clayworth 21:10, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Indeed it is not but there are biographical pages with "trivia" or "anecdote" sections with interesting yet not terribly important facts (and fables too;) the fate of the gold coins falls in that category of fact. It is such a bizarre occurence that it merits some mention. As the whole point of the extortion plot was to get those gold coins, a reader would be justified in thinking that Waters & Co had gotten them, unless told otherwise. And discussing the fate of the coins is not necessarily all that different from discussing the fate of David Waters, really.Hi There 22:18, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I found it quite informative, and am glad it was in there. The story would have felt half-finished had it been left out. Kenn (talk) 20:40, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

As some tend to find conspiracies behind every corner, the ultimate fate of the gold is of general interest, if not critical to the article or her life, only of significance in the matter of her death.Wzrd1 (talk) 02:11, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Re: Atheistic fundamentalists[edit]

The hateful and ignorant comments left here by people who did not even know Madalyn O'Hair, or her family, only serve to illustrate the difference between people guided by reason and those who are not. I knew her well, had the pleasure of working with her for a number of years, loved her -- she presided at my wife's and my wedding -- and I enjoyed her wonderful humor and down to earth personality. The same goes for her adoptive (read abandoned) daughter Robin, who was a gem. Also, Madalyn did not invent atheism or atheist activism -- it has a rich history stretching back even to Demokritus "the laughing atheist." However, she was the first person to give atheists the courage to come out of their "closets" in large numbers and there would be no turning back, despite the sad, stupid, and occassionally violent bigotry of some religionists. This entry does not do justice to her -- for instance, ignoring the impact of her landmark book "Freedom Under Siege" -- nor is it an accurate (leaving out that she earned a JD degree from South Texas College of Law) or well-balanced portrait, in general, relying heavily upon unsubstantiable rumors, specious sources (like Bill Murray, a man who abandoned his young family to poverty, and who showed up drunk and armed outside the Pacifica radio station I volunteered at in Houston, demanding that we "send out the bitch so I can kill her!"), and sordid police gazette table scraps. All the talk about the socked away millions is such a joke, as both the family and the organization scraped by for many years on a trickle of donations. Madalyn lived in a modest home, had a proletarian wardrobe, ate at taco joints, and adopted abandoned animals, yet she was generous. If the money existed, she certainly wasn't showering on herself. Repeating ugly slander only makes one person look bad - the writer. --J-no 04:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Madalyn's house did not seem very modest or proletarian to me, and her tastes in wine, restaurants, home furnishings, and cars was not very proletarian either.

Madalyn lived as an aristocrat and her house reflected that interest. (Untrue - jdc)

when were you there?

Keith K —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.28.138.167 (talk) 19:41, 24 January 2011 (UTC)


THE FACTS FROM A GUY WHO WAS THERE (I don't know where you were, but I doubt you ever worked with Madalyn - jdc) I do believe that fundamentalist Christians exaggerate the evils of "doctor" O'Hair and her movement. Her group never had more than 2500-3000 members and another 6600 subscribers to her journal. An old friend of mine was involved in Chicago back in the late 70s and there were two centers of activism- one in Chicago itself and one in U of I Champaign-Urbana. Her well-publicized "picketing" of Pope John Paul 2 in Chicago involved the O'Hairs and about 14 other local Atheists. Others had come in from out of town. Small numbers for America's 3rd largest city. However, my contention, based on what I know to be true, is that rival Atheist groups were soft on Madalyn, not too hard on her! She could have been sued any number of times for defamation of character assaults against other secularist leaders like the Buffalo-based philosopher Paul Kurtz. A continuing claim she made, when kicking out her members who took a liking to Kurtz, was PAUL KURTZ SCREWED ME OUT OF MONEY. In fact Madalyn hated college professors with real doctorates so much that I can't imagine that at all.

In Indy, in the mid 70s, I tried to get something going for AA, an informal breakfast gathering at a Denny's or a Shoney's rather than a big thing. The most I ever got from several attempts were 4 people at a time, mostly Roman Catholic college kids who wanted to rebel against their parents for a few years before getting married, getting their kids baptized, and then being normal RC young fathers. I have always believed that secularism/atheism should be about local meetings. There are national groups advocating church-state separation, evolution in public life, civil rights, and other causes that most Atheists support. There is no need for a national Atheist church.

As an aside- I used to possess a copy of the vulgar, x-rated letter she sent in reaction to an inquiry by GALAA (Gay and Lesbian Atheists of America; Madalyn's homophobic rant was one that no Alabama bab-tist preacher could match in his wildest dreams! The letter was initialed in attest by at least one of the other Murray-O'Hairs and I believe by Gerald Tholen. She and son Jown Gowth also mocked Indian humanists who stopped by Austin while touring the US, calling them n****** and monkeys. The one (other) person she seemed to admire was Ayn Rand. She hated libertarians and objectivists in general but she never said or wrote anything bad about Ayn. Maybe there was a grudging respect from one Atheist diva to another.

I give Mrs. O'Hair credit for the Curlett case and for the courage to go public with an unpopular view. However, most of her public actions since 1970 were either futile gestures of windmill-tilting or self-aggrandizing, greed-based wild goose chases. Because of Madalyn and Madalyn only, conservative Protestant and traditionalist Catholic "theocrats" (I will not name names here) are able to label anyone who believes in the 1st Amendment as an "atheist." Because many conservatives are able to rhetorically identify separationists as either radical Atheists or "ACLU Jews," as if no true Christian can believe in the 1st Amendment, Madalyn's life and times caused more harm than good. We would all be better off if she passed the bar, went into property law or tort law, and never became a public figure. SCHEMPP V. PENNSYLVANIA would have eliminated mandatory school prayer, anyway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.28.138.167 (talk) 16:58, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

(The facts from a guy who really was there) I have never edited or contributed to Wikipedia so I hope I am doing this correctly. It is tempting to make changes but I am making none here, only adding mine. I do not recognize any of the other writers here, but I worked with Madalyn from 1978 to 1985, becoming her chapter director in Kentucky and then moving to Austin to work with her cable TV show and perform other functions. I also knew her son, Jon Garth Murray, and Robin Murray O'Hair, as well as Gerald Tholen and his wife. I intend to come back later and address issues more completely but for now, I simply want to agree with J-no in the first note above and refute the anti-Madalyn bigotry here. The second note by Keith K is completely untrue. Madalyn's house was very modest, as were her tastes. In no way did she live an aristocratic lifestyle. I think someone donated an older model Mercedes at some point, hardly cause for such criticism. When she was representing the organization, she tried to present a professional and successful appearance but her 'off-hours' dress was usually a simple house-dress and other than a preference for martinis over beer, she and her family led a middle or lower-middle class lifestyle. I am offended by the "aside" above which refers to Madalyn's so-called 'homophobic rant'. I never heard such a thing from her and I think it is telling that the writer continues by referring to her son, Jon Garth, as 'Jown Gowth', obviously mocking his speech impediment. Perhaps the prejudices he alludes to are his own. I also knew some of the people from the India Atheist Center and never heard her refer to anyone there in the manner indicated. I will be happy to discuss this with anyone interested. Since there appears to be people here claiming first hand knowledge which seems doubtful, I will give some indication of my association. I sponsored her 1984 Atheist Convention in Lexington, Ky, where I briefly met her other son, William J. Murray. I wrote introductions to two books reprinted by American Atheist Press, The Rational View, and Dog Fennel in the Orient, both by Charles Chilton Moore. I wrote and recorded two atheist songs (sorry Steve Martin, Atheists DO have songs), 'Shake Loose' and 'I'm Not Falling Anymore', which were sold by her organization. Out of time for now. It is not surprising that attacks on Madalyn and her work continue. Don't believe everything you read. jdc 12.237.106.5 (talk) 18:51, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

If there is information missing from this biography, and you can cite sources, then feel free to add whatever you think is missing. DJ Clayworth 18:22, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Article Writer[edit]

I'm using this article as a reference for a paper I'm writing and I can't figure out who wrote the original article. Can someone help me out? 63.245.255.27 14:54, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't think that this, or any Wikipedia article, can meaningfully be spoken-of as having an author. They all are community efforts - this one, perhaps, especially so. For what it's worth (effectively nothing), a perusal of the article history page,[[3]] if I read it right, reveals that the first entry was by Wyss [[4]] , who is not otherwise identified.

I'm not sure how one might cite a Wikipedia article (although there's probably information somewhere on the site), so I'd use standard format for web pages (not forgetting to include the date and time the page was accessed - especially important for Wikipedia articles). --Deaconse 14:16, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia. DJ Clayworth 19:55, 19 September 2006 (UTC)


According to "The Atheist" by historian Bryan Le Beau, internal turmoil in the O'Hair grganization and conflicts with other freethought groups made news in the mainstream press. Madalyn's use of off-duty officers as security for a meeting taken over by her and Jon is discussed. Le Beau covers Madalyn's homophobia and anti-Semitism along with the TRUTHSEEKER lawsuit. The chapter directors' view of Madalyn and Jon is discussed. Bozarth and Conrad are mentioned several times, as are Gaylor and Gerald Tholen. Many of the details left on the "talk" page can no longer be argued to be nonnotable, nonNPOV, or original research. The book also confirms some of the rather expensive tastes of the O'Hairs- a fact that they did not hide! A book by a recognized historian, richly documented, should end factual discussion of these matters. Of course, what the editors of Wikipedia decide is worth putting into an article about as relatively minor historical figure, is a matter open to reasonable disagreement.

I was never a regular at the center. I do know that at around the last contact I had with MMOH or JGM (1984?) she threw out a life member who had the gall to bring his Roman Catholic wife to a reception for lifers at the Murray-O'hair home. Class all the way, Madalyn! I used to possess a copy of the incendiary homophobic letter she wrote to the head of GALA. My recall of events (with very unimportant and uninteresting persons, I might add!) may be rather shotty, I must admit, but I am very sure of the fact that MMOH made racist and homophobic in private while making the standard liberal noises about such matters in public.

My main criticism of MMOH is that everything had to be about her. She launched these broadsides at the ACLU, PFAW, the UUA, and other groups that stood for state-church separation MORE SUCCESSFULLY THAN HERS DID. She used to mock evolutionists whose writings were more popular and important than hers were, such as those of Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, and Stephen J. Gould. Madalyn used to criticize aspects of quantum theory (about which she knew nothing) because acausality is too religious, and as if 18th century mechanical determinism was still the law of the land.

On balance, I believe that Mrs. O'Hair had some success as an activist, but her overall achievements were negligible. As one having some limited first-hand knowledge of the Murray-O'Hairs, and not as much as many others, I will stand by my assessment that Madalyn's main problem was that everything had to be about the great "Doctor" O'Hair. If someone has another view, then I respect that view.

-kmk — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.30.209.199 (talk) 01:37, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

References need fixing[edit]

Several citation references need fixing to use the <ref> .... </ref> tag method. DFH 12:22, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Legend/urban legend[edit]

I changed the "legend" heading to "urban legend" as it seemed a lot more appropriate to me, but when looking back at the history I see that it was "urban legend" originally and that someone had changed it to "legend". Does anyone have any idea why? Esn 08:19, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Personal commentary[edit]

I removed this paragraph of personal commentary, since Wikipedia has a rule against original research.

I will put it here so that if it turns out that it was just an improperly formatted quote from a third-party source, it can easily be restored:

O'Hair, like many others, had to steel herself for conflict. Consequently she was often perceived in the worst possible light because of her combative stances and actions. The idea that she hated Christians is belied by her conduct on April 19, 1994. As I walked past her office, she called my name in a croak that was hardly recognizable. I entered her office where she sat behind her desk. She pointed toward the television that was opposite her. I saw the then-familiar shape of the Branch Davidian compound engulfed in flames. Incredulous, I asked if that was the compound. She could not speak, but nodded to indicate that it was. I stood with her and watched the unfolding horror while she sat and silently wept for the dying Christians.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by ChristinaDunigan (talkcontribs) 02:51, 11 January 2007 (UTC).ChristinaDunigan 02:51, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Birthplace[edit]

I noticed that the caption and the first sentence do not agree with each other. Which (if either) is correct? Rklawton 04:54, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

An anonymous editor recently added a long paragraph to the criticism section. I hope I'm not the only one who thinks it may be a bit of a problem that the criticism section is becoming as long as the actual article, so I'd like to ask this: Who exactly is Jane Kathryn Conrad, and why should someone care that she published a critical pamphlet which contains (from what I can see) a number of unproven allegations? Is her name mentioned in a news article somewhere as one of O'Hair's top critics? Esn 03:48, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Good point... deleting until such time as someone can give a solid reason why anyone should care what that person thinks. DreamGuy 11:45, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

WP Biography Rating[edit]

Due to a backlog it is no longer possible to give comment on ratings. Please put any comments/questions on my talk page. GDon4t0 20:23, 4 March 2007 (UTC)


I no longer have the Jane Cathryn Conrad book, but it was largely "right on the money." The closer you got to Madalyn herself, the more you learned of incidents of bad behavior that were hitherto unknown.

I guess the self-appointed editors of an article like this have to decide what facts are nonnotable, nonneutral point of view, or original research. I do think that it does a disservice to the reader to avoid mentioning her wars with other publishing houses, her abrasiveness in dealing with other secularists, and her naked, bold attempt to acquire a 16M estate by fraudulent means. I would also like to see more information on the SCHEMPP case thematized, as the media has always tended to exaggerate the importance of CURLETT, as does this article.

I was there, and I know. If that makes me nonnotable, nonNPOV, and original-researched, so be it.

"I did not make up the facts." - Karl Kolchak —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.28.138.167 (talk) 19:33, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

One did not make up the facts, but one MUST provide citations. When multiple claims are made, multiple citations should be provided, to further back up the claims. Else, I could cite the bible for everything under the sun, but utterly fail when it comes to FACT REPORTING, as I'd be using a faulty source for astronomy, physics, geology and many other sciences. However, the bible COULD be considered a basic field hygiene manual, possibly the first of its kind (but THAT would require multiple citations, if relating as fact.)Wzrd1 (talk) 02:25, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

ULC[edit]

Poor Richard's was a charter church of the ULC. It is mentioned in both the book Modesto Messiah and on page 148 of the book The Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair ISBN-10: 0814751725. cited with 2 sources. Any objections to re-adding the catagory? JDBlues 22:54, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

William Denies Being Victim of Violence?[edit]

From the article" (William later publicly stated that her claims of his being a victim of violence were fraudulent; see below.)"

I can't find the "below" do we want to put it in or take out the reference or do I just need to learn to read?LittleBrother 06:45, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

see the "Critism section, second paragraph and related references. JDBlues 12:15, 8 June 2007 (UTC)


this is true: keith k —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.28.138.167 (talk) 19:35, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Murray's Writings[edit]

Just glancing in, but wondered where mention of Murray's writings were. The bibliography didn't have any. Didn't she write any books? And surely she wrote essays. Also, I didn't notice any mention of Paul Krassner's magazine, which made a big thing of Murray. The Realist, I think it was called. Krassner's view of her would be interesting, I think.


````a long-ago fan of Madalyn's —Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.215.250.163 (talk) 22:13, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, she published a few items in The Realist, which is being put online here: http://www.ep.tc/realist/ Lippard (talk) 04:29, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

This is very POV[edit]

I cleaned up some POV issues and removed a claim cited to a Geocities.com website. Since the 1960s years Christian groups claimed she was stealing money, but that does mean they were correct. In fact, detectives thought Waters bought into the myth, which is why he killed her. Lets use sources and let them do the talking. TYie34 (talk) 04:18, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Still not NPOV[edit]

There are some snippets here and there that really don't sit well with me, but the following paragraph is quite blatantly not suitable for Wikipedia: "O'Hair remained a polarizing figure into the 1980s. She served as "chief speechwriter" for Larry Flynt's 1984 presidential campaign, and continued to be a regular talk show guest.[2] American Atheists did a brisk business selling anti-religious books and trinkets, and she enjoyed some financial success as the group's CEO. However, her callous and unfeeling personality caused her to go through employees and "friends" like a hot knife through butter. O'Hair would flatter and coax someone into working for American Atheists or one of its satellite groups, then start to severely criticize him/her for petty reasons, then cut into his/her character viciously and publicly. Ultimately, O'Hair alienated almost every person with whom she came into contact, and failed to give her son Garth any set of social skills or ability to deal with people. The belligerence of the mother and son forced American Atheist chapters to secede from the main group, and by 1991 all local/state chapters were dissolved." I dislike Madalyn O'Hair as much as the next guy, but come on...Metalrobot (talk) 04:44, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I made a bunch of changes; hopefully it's better now. If not, go ahead and put the NPOV warning back, and it can be dissected a bit more. 69.221.158.99 (talk) 20:40, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Note- the above writings may have weasel words or inappropriately emotive references, but the bulk of it is all factually true. Madalyn used to call herself "Dr. O'Hair" on the basis of a JD degree and a Ph.D. from "The Minnesota Institute of Philosophy." Her assaults within the atheist community were very well-known. In fact, she booted out a life member of her group (who paid $500 or more for the honor, in 1986 or before)because he brought his Catholic wife to O'Hair's home during a reception for lifers. At least one life member engaged an attorney to try to get back a life membership (nonrefundable)after being kicked out. In 1985 or '86 the entire Chicago chapter was rent asunder because Madalyn went into a tizzy over the fact that the Chicago area group's newsletter mentioned written material published by a rival atheist group. Atheists United (AU) started as the LA chapter of AA. The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) started as the Madison (UW-M) Wisconsin chapter of AA.

O'Hair had no tolerance for humanists or anyone else who did not use the term "atheist" and who did not pay her due deference as the "queen" (her term) of atheism.

Overall, the piece on Wiki is like it was written by the mainstream media- there is no in-depth knowledge about Madalyn and her history, and no desire to know. Madalyn was an egomaniacal autocrat who did not recognize the principles of anarchism and First Amendment freedoms when it came to any who would question or challenge her queenship of all that is secular. Her AA hotline recordings used to regularly attack groups such as the ACLU and People for the American Way. She used to lambaste publically known nonbelievers like Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov. She seemed to have a special grudge towards anyone with an earned doctoral degree. All of this is common knowledge among those of the time who knew her- it is neither POV nor original research. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.97.181.133 (talk) 02:53, 7 August 2010 (UTC) ::

Never having heard of the woman who was the topic of the article, I came away from a reading feeling that she must be one of the earth's great villains, a lifelong champion of suffering and evil. By comparison, the articles on Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin and Josef Stalin are far more balanced. Might be worth another go-round by the POV police. 99.65.213.158 (talk) 19:01, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, I grew up hearing about her, my parents rather disliked her, due to her being a "troublemaker". But then, they disliked anything that went against ANY religion and especially disliked ANY kind of activist. That said, I read the article tonight, I came away thinking, "Thank you for getting forced prayers out of schools, but you seem to have been a quite disagreeable person if you don't like someone.", I'd even use the word harpy, for her reported outing of her murder's theft and criminal past, the latter being utterly uncalled for, as it was irrelevant to what he did to the organization.Wzrd1 (talk) 02:31, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Contradict[edit]

This article says the group dwindled to nothing in 1991, yet the American Atheists article says it is current and named a new president in 1995. If anyone can find a source that explains the group's status in the early 90s, please add it. 69.221.158.99 (talk) 20:51, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

If I recall correctly American Athiests had 1707 members and 19 chapters back in 1985. There were about 11 or 12 other chapters that existed "in re" but had been long dormant as of 1985. She had claimed anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 members at different times. She used to encourage local chapter officers to creatively fudge numbers when talking to the media. I believe her quote was "if they knew how few we were we can never be taken seriously." This fake-it-til-you-make-it idea was one of her hallmarks. For example, with many ex-hippie types in her group, she insisted on formal dress for the National Convention because "the media will be there."

The best source for real information about the o'Hair organization would be the so-called "interchapter newsletters" sent only to local officers and were never to be seen by ordinary members. Historians of the secularist movement can only hope that an old-timer will scan and upload these gems.

I was never involved in all of that, even though I knew the O'Hairs. My focus is the idea of having good conversation over a nice dinner about once per month with other nonbelievers. Other issues such as the First Amendment and the advocacy of evolution can be pursued through specialized organizations. Progressives lost on 11/2/10 because they try to do everything at once instead of doing one thing well.

ALOHA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.28.138.167 (talk) 19:17, 24 January 2011 (UTC)


Relationship with Mr. Murray[edit]

The article states, "[i]n 1945, while posted to a cryptography position in Italy, she began an affair with an officer, William J. Murray, Jr. Murray was a married Roman Catholic, and he refused to divorce his wife."

By stating Mr. Murray "refused to divorce his wife," the article implies that whether Murray obtained a divorce was entirely up to him. It must be remembered that, in 1945, there was no no-fault divorce. On the facts presented, Murray's wife could have divorced him for adultery, but he had no ability to divorce his wife, at least not without her consent.

130.13.4.45 (talk) 20:44, 26 January 2008 (UTC)John Paul Parks130.13.4.45 (talk) 20:44, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I find this criticism to be the kind of thing that only people who weren't around in those times can assume. The way people tend to assume that Victorians hardly had any sex. There is a difference between the so-called rules and what happens on the ground, particularly in Roman Catholic culture, but even in supposedly inescapable codes like the law. Just because technically he shouldn't be granted a divorce, doesn't mean he wouldn't, if he would try. If he wouldn't even go to a priest to discuss it, she had every reason to be disappointed, IMO. In any case, I strongly disagree with any wikipedia articles being edited on the assumption that Roman Catholicism is a functioning, self-consistent organisation, and that any fact that might imply otherwise should be removed. It would be like saying, 'How could she have been angry at him for not being industrious enough, when everyone is aware that it ain't what you know it's who you know.' Okay, maybe true, but not even close to the point.--99.234.69.225 (talk) 16:38, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't think priests come in to it. I'm pretty sure 130 was referring to a civil divorce Nil Einne (talk) 09:59, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Without digging heavily into divorce law to find what date divorce became "legally easier", such as no fault divorce, one must remember, divorce laws and indeed, any laws that may vaguely touch upon something that was under some degree of control of religious organizations, was highly fragmented. In some states, the laws would pass, even back in 1945, in more conservative states, much later. As the federal government has zero input on marriage, other than the blatantly unconstitutional DOMA, one would have to ascertain in which jurisdiction a divorce would have been sought. From memory, California was one of the earliest "easy divorce" states.Wzrd1 (talk) 02:41, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Neutrality[edit]

I think this page should be checked for neutrality. I do not think it presents an even remotely neutral point of view on the subject. Its author seems to have selected only negative information about Ms. O'Hair and left out everything good that she ever said or did. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Blueroses2525 (talkcontribs) 19:06, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Nuetrality is a word that by all syntactic and semantic notions does not apply to this article. There is no mention of Lemoin Cree and the usurption of the "Freethought Society of America" and it's assets. There is no mention of the State of Marylands Trial in absentia, ex post facto punishment, or attempt at extradition, nor the subsequent litigation documented and carried out by one Hyman Greenstein. This is just the begining of this list, omission of facts clearly relevant to the article is a pretty good indicator of bias, a bias that seems, at least at first glance to be rather malicious. Mosaoner (talk) 04:56, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, as you didn't bother to put those into the article, with citations from reputable sources, we can only assume such does not exist, hence is not included in the article. BE BOLD, but DO cite reliable sources that can be easily verified.Wzrd1 (talk) 02:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Jon Garth Murray[edit]

Suggestion to change wording in this article: Under DISAPPEARANCE, a person is called "Garth" without identifying that "Garth" is the same person previously called "Jon Garth Murray" and "Jon Murray." It is confusing to the reader.74.235.234.71 (talk) 23:37, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Agreed and done. I've changed all instances to "Jon" because that's the name used on the American Atheists website. justinfr (talk) 13:52, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Frankel was Champaign-Urbana (U of I) area and he resigned after two Chicago AA leaders were kicked out- he did not get excommunicated. Mr. Jeff Frankel was murdered in the early 1990s. I do not remember the circumstances. Jon Garth Murray was known as "Garth" to one and all. Jane Conrad was a Colorado-based journalist and small publisher who had some sort of negative experiences with O'Hair. Her material on O'Hair is stuff I have not read in 25 years, but I remember at the time that I thought it was right on. Knowing Madalyn, my view is that she spent more time hating other atheists (libertarians, agnostics, humanists, ayn-randites, etc.) that she did hating Catholics and other religious persons. She and her son were well-known for private racist and homophobic rants, even though they made liberal noises about such matters in public. Part of the problem is that before the internet, much of the "inside" information about O'Hair and her dealings with other atheist leaders and organizations was transmitted through private letters, circular letters, articles in tiny magazines or newsletters, etc. Another tidbit is how she would write articles that were obviously hers and then sign Garth's name to them. FRANK B —Preceding unsigned comment added by 165.139.19.60 (talk) 15:04, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Legacy section is really bad[edit]

The first and last paragraphs of the Legacy section have zero citations. The middle part of this section (about her son's conversion) really has nothing to do with her "legacy." Should the whole thing just be removed until it can be redone properly? LarryJeff (talk) 21:46, 12 January 2010 (UTC)


I never met Madalyn, Jon, or Robin personally but I was very active in the FFRF in the 1980s. I have never been to Texas. I heard all about the split, and I think Madalyn's behavior was disgusting. Of course I am going by the FFRF view and not the Center's view. If someone from the center wants to defend Madalyn in this, then so much the better. I also have some first-hand knowledge about the Los Angeles and Chicago splits. It seemed to me at the time that most LA and Chicago members were in fact loyal to Madalyn and to AA. The Los Angeles split happened because of deep personal emnity between the O'Hairs and certain leaders in the LA chapter. Chicago was ridiculous. Madalyn went berserk because the newsletter editor had listed the address of "Free Inquiry" magazine. I guess the poor guy did not know that there was an unwritten rule against saying anything nice about "snivelling humanists" and rationalsits. In any case, most of the Chicago people were loyal to Madalyn- wasn't the picketing of the Pope in Chicago? Madalyn seemed more interested in fighting other Atheists than in fighting religion. At least, that was my surmise of her views during the 80s and early 90s. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quinewill (talkcontribs) 00:00, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Religious leader?![edit]

I think it's pretty inaccurate to use the category of "religious leader" when we're talking of an ATHEIST leader!

Might want to change that! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.51.44.12 (talk) 13:25, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Why not use a more all-encompassing term for this category, such as "philosophical leader", "socio-cultural leader", or even "theological [position] leader" (since, although she might have said that atheists have "no theology", the denial or absence of belief in a deity could surly be construed as a theological stance, or at least a definitive answer/side to a theological position. Afterall, there has even been some professed Christians who have held this position!173.23.8.168 (talk) 05:58, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Just watched a documentary on the woman- this article reads like the script to that show - wish there was more quotes from people who were around her. Many accounts - which claim to be neutral - reflect that she was not a personable woman. One here say story has her in the front yard of her home - before neighbors - during a lightening storm - screaming, "If you exist, God, come and get me!" Amazingly - this was an exact scene in Forrest Gump - and that story was circulating before the movie - is fact stranger than fiction? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.88.67.74 (talk) 23:44, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

This article doesn't need neutrality![edit]

One of the problems with doing a biography of MMO'H or a history of the SOS is that most people do not think Madalyn is important enough for all kinds of historical detail, while those who hero-worship Madalyn would not believe the truth in any case. Madalyn's assaults within the nonbeliever community are notable, as they have been thematized by mainstream biographers and even newspapers. If a biography by a recognized historian mentions MMO'H and her problems with other Atheists' groups, that cannot be original research. I knew several people personally who were booted out of AA or had their membership renewals returned, merely because they were members of other (nonMadalyn) Atheist groups. To me it is "notable" because it seemed important to Madalyn to fight with other Atheists. Only the arcane editors of Wikipedia know what constitutes notability, neutrality, and nonPOV, so I guess I will have to bend my will to their judgment. My view is that an historical fact IS an historical fact, even if it is nonnotable. Revert all the edits you want. w. quine — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quinewill (talkcontribs) 02:56, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Be bold, edit away, but DO include citations. If something is removed without comment on the talk page, revert it and make a note of the reversion on the talk page. If it looks to become an edit war, get some of the admin types to arbitrate.Wzrd1 (talk) 02:50, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Quinewill, You just demonstrated why neutrality is important in every case. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.223.130.60 (talk) 17:08, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

How Did David Waters Only Get 20 Years in Jail?[edit]

He's a convicted felon who kidnapped, extorted money then killed the three members of the family. Then killed his accomplice. And was only sentenced to just 20 years, in Texas, of all places. I know he died in prison but how the hell did he not get the death penalty? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 100.4.28.178 (talk) 00:10, 2 January 2014 (UTC)


He was sentenced to 20 years under a plea bargain. He was already in state prison for 60 years due to violating his probation for the $54,000 embezzlement and would have to complete that sentence before serving additional years related to the kidnapping and murder. He wanted to serve his time in federal prison because he felt that conditions were better so he agreed to providing the location of the bodies and pleading guilty to the charges in exchange for a federal transfer and 20 consecutive years in prison. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 148.78.242.10 (talk) 18:48, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Lacking video and cartoon sections[edit]

Why, I am appalled to find that this article fails to note any filmed appearances like archival footage, and any animated shorts featuring her. IMDB lists some of them, but not enough, definitely not a reliable source. To this extent, I might take it upon myself to create such a section. This will be done to the zenith of my ability, but I may need assistance as far as organization is concerned. Yes, I am an atheist, I'm also not afraid to admit my belief that our very lives are the result of extra-terrestrial creations. But, forget about what I think. Madalyn, the most despised woman in the US, deserves it. That being said, fellow editor(s), is all that can really be said. Zarbon — Preceding unsigned comment added by RoaringFlamer41 (talkcontribs) 20:53, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Request for Comments[edit]

There is an RfC on the question of using "Religion: None" vs. "Religion: None (atheist)" in the infobox on this and other similar pages.

The RfC is at Template talk:Infobox person#RfC: Religion infobox entries for individuals that have no religion.

Please help us determine consensus on this issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:04, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Madalyn Murray O'Hair/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

The article says: "Withers, the Murray-O'Hairs' legal inquisitor,". What is a legal inquisitor? I have been a lawyer in Texas for 20 years and there is no such thing here. Is that a British term? I seriously doubt that Withers was her "legal inquisitor" as that is just not possible in Texas. Her attorney? Her executor? Something like that maybe, but not legal inquisitor.

Last edited at 19:31, 22 April 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 22:45, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Homicide not Murder.[edit]

It was a homicide not murder. Gary "Roach" Sanderson (talk) 23:39, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Master key for the lock at storage facility where stolen coins were stolen again.[edit]

This a technical point, and could be made better by a locksmith. There is no such thing as master key for particular type of lock. Locks have to be keyed for a specific master key(s). For example in a pin tumbler lock with one master keying, the lock has to have additional pins that are put in there, generally, by a locksmith. This allows for two different keys to create a break in the shear line, so that the key can turn the core engaging or disengaging the latch or bolt. This part of the article about the thieves having a master key seems not be correct. Anthony Norton 1962 (talk) 21:14, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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Pseudonym?[edit]

This article is in Category:Pseudonymous writers but I could't find evidence in the text that she published under a pseudonym. Did I just miss it? Pburka (talk) 20:48, 27 May 2018 (UTC)