Madalyn Murray O'Hair

American atheist activist (1919–1995)

Madalyn Murray O'Hair (April 13, 1919September 29, 1995) was an American atheist and activist.

Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

Quotes edit

  • Your petitioners are Atheists and they define their lifestyle as follows. An Atheists loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist thinks that heaven is something for which we should work for now - here on earth- for all men together to enjoy.
    • MURRAY v. CURLETT, Petition for Relief, 1959
An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.
  • An Atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated.
    • MURRAY v. CURLETT, Petition for Relief, 1959
  • Atheism may be defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a lifestyle and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and the scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.
    • American Atheists charter
  • Perhaps this sort of claptrap was good for the Stone Age, when people actually believed that if they prayed for rain they would get it. But we're a grown-up world now, and it's time to put away childish things. But people don't, because most of them don't even know what atheism is. It's not a negation of anything. You don't have to negate what no one can prove exists. No, atheism is a very positive affirmation of man's ability to think for himself, to do for himself, to find answers to his own problems. I'm thrilled to feel that I can rely on myself totally and absolutely; that my children are being brought up so that when they meet a problem they can't cop out by foisting it off on God. Madalyn Murray's going to solve her own problems, and nobody's going to intervene. It's about time the world got up off its knees and looked at itself in the mirror and said: "Well, we are men. Let's start acting like it."
    • "Playboy Interview: Madalyn Murray", Playboy (October 1965)
  • I was shamed into it by my son, Bill, who came to me in 1960 -- he was 14 then -- and said: "Mother, you've been professing that you're an atheist for a long time now. Well, I don't believe in God either, but every day in school I'm forced to say prayers, and I feel like a hypocrite. Why should I be compelled to betray my beliefs?" I couldn't answer him. He quoted the old parable to me: "It is not by their words, but by their deeds that ye shall know them" -- pointing out that if I was a true atheist, I would not permit the public schools of America to force him to read the Bible and say prayers against his will. He was right. Words divorced from action supporting them are meaningless and hypocritical. So we began the suit. And finally we won it. I knew it wasn't going to make me the most popular woman in Baltimore, but I sure as hell didn't anticipate the tidal wave of virulent, vindictive, murderous hatred that thundered down on top of me and my family in its wake.
    • "Playboy Interview: Madalyn Murray", Playboy (October 1965), on why she pursued Murray v. Curlett
  • Well, as a militant feminist, I believe in complete equality with men: intellectual, professional, economic, social and sexual; they're all equally essential, and they're all equally lacking in American society today.
    • "Playboy Interview: Madalyn Murray", Playboy (October 1965)
  • So my life and the life of my family has been completely disrupted in absolutely every way. But it's been worth it. It's uncovered a vast cesspool of illegitimate economic and political power in which the Church is immersed right up to its ears, and I intend to dive in headfirst and pull it out of there dripping wet for all the world to see -- no matter how long it takes, no matter whose feet get stepped on in the process, no matter how much it costs, no matter how great the personal sacrifice.
    • "Playboy Interview: Madalyn Murray", Playboy (October 1965)

Attributed edit

  • 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.
    • Quoted without citation by Ted Dracos, UnGodly: The Passions, Torments, and Murder of Atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair (2003), on her son William's rejection of atheism and conversion to Christianity and new calling as a traveling evangelist.
  • Marx was wrong--religion is not the opiate of the masses, baseball is.
    • Quoted without citation by Nathaniel J. Ehrlich, Psychology and contemporary affairs, p. 78 (1972)

About Madalyn Murray O'Hair edit

  • I have never encountered a more bitter, more distateful person than Madalyn Murray O'Hair. She was extremely foul-mouthed, to the point that even though we were doing an interview about something that she wanted us to do a story on, we had to stop the interview in the middle because she was cursing so much.
    • Valeri Williams, reporter for ABC's Nightline, in "Without A Prayer", season 7 episode 10 of Forensic Files.

External links edit

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