Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Points: 325,730,077, Level: 100
In America, there is an organization like this, it's existed for years and has won lawsuits in the Supreme Court. Interestingly, the leader was murdered by someone in her inner circle and now her son is a Born Again Christian. Try to force anything down anyone's throat and you'll get backlash, I guess.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Madalyn Murray O'Hair (April 13, 1919 – September 29, 1995) was an American atheist activist. She was the founder of the organization American Atheists and served as its president from 1963 to 1986. One of her sons, Jon Garth Murray, was the president of the organization from 1986 to 1995, while she remained de facto president during these nine years. She is best known for the Murray v. Curlett lawsuit, which led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling ending official Bible-reading in American public schools in 1963. Officially-sponsored prayer in schools had been ended a year earlier by the Supreme Court in Engel v. Vitale. O'Hair later founded American Atheists and became so controversial that in 1964 Life magazine referred to her as "the most hated woman in America."
In 1995 she was kidnapped and murdered, along with her son Jon Murray and granddaughter Robin Murray O'Hair, by former American Atheist office manager David Roland Waters
Main article: American Atheists
This article appears to contradict the article American Atheists. Please see discussion on the linked talk page. Please do not remove this message until the contradictions are resolved. (September 2009)
Following her arrival in Austin, Texas, O'Hair founded American Atheists, "a nationwide movement which defends the civil rights of non-believers, works for the separation of church and state and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy." She acted as the group's first chief executive officer.
O'Hair was the voice and face of atheism in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, therefore making her a highly controversial figure. In a 1965 interview with Playboy Magazine, she claimed religion was "a crutch" and an "irrational reliance on superstitions and supernatural nonsense."
In the same Playboy interview, O'Hair gave a lengthy list of incidents of harassment, intimidation and even death threats against her and her family for her views. She read several profane letters she received in the mail, with content including one that said, "May Jesus, who you so vigorously deny, change you into a Paul." In response, O'Hair told the interviewer, "Isn't that lovely? Christine Jorgensen had to go to Sweden for an operation, but me they'll fix with faith – painlessly and for nothing." She stated that she left Baltimore because of persecution from Baltimore residents, including receipt of mail containing photos smeared with feces, the strangulation of her son Jon-Garth's pet kitten, and the stoning of her home by neighborhood residents, which she claimed caused her father's fatal heart attack.
She filed several lawsuits on issues over which she felt there was a collusion of church and state in violation of the United States Constitution, including a lawsuit against the city of Baltimore demanding they assess and collect taxes on property owned by the Catholic Church.
O'Hair founded an atheist radio program in which she criticized religion and theism, and a television show she hosted, American Atheist Forum, was carried on more than 140 cable television systems.
O'Hair was the very first guest on The Phil Donahue Show, when it debuted as a local program in Dayton, Ohio on November 6, 1967; she would make several appearances on the program during its run. Host Phil Donahue would later call her message of atheism "very important," but said that O'Hair was "unpleasant" to be around and that she mocked him off-camera for being Catholic.
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. Jon Murray succeeded her as leader of the American Atheists; he was not liked by many in the organization, and various chapters seceded from the main group. In 1991, the remaining local/state chapters were dissolved.
In the 1990s, American Atheists amounted to O'Hair, her son Jon Murray, her granddaughter Robin Murray O'Hair, and a handful of support personnel. (Robin, the daughter of William Murray, was adopted by Madalyn. William had not seen nor spoken to any of them in many years.) The trio lived together in O'Hair's large home, they went to the office together, they vacationed together, and they returned home together.
On 27 August 1995, O'Hair, her son Jon, and granddaughter Robin suddenly disappeared. The door to the office of American Atheists was locked with a typewritten note attached (apparently with Jon's signature), stating "The Murray O'Hair family has been called out of town on an emergency basis. We do not know how long we will be gone at the time of the writing of this memo." When O'Hair's home was entered, breakfast dishes were sitting on the table, her diabetes medication was on the kitchen counter, and her dogs had been left behind without a caregiver.
In phone calls a few days later, the trio claimed that they were on "business" in San Antonio, Texas. A few days later, Jon ordered $600,000 worth of gold coins from a San Antonio jeweler but took delivery of only $500,000 worth of coins.
Until September 27, American Atheist employees received several phone calls from Robin and Jon, but neither would explain why they left or when they would return; while they said nothing was amiss, their voices sounded strained and disturbed. After September 28, no further communication came from any of the O'Hairs.
Speculation abounded on the cause and meaning of O'Hair's disappearance. Some hypothesized that the O'Hairs had abandoned American Atheists and fled with the money. One investigator working for Vanity Fair, after looking at evidence presented to him by former employee David Roland Waters, concluded that they had escaped to New Zealand.
Exactly one year after the disappearance, William Murray filed a missing persons report. He had previously stated that he would not file such a report due to the inevitable media attention that it would bring. He also noted the lack of evidence of foul play, stating, "I don't want to search for people who don't want to be found." The O'Hairs were declared legally dead, and many of their assets were sold to clear their debts.
Investigation and arrests
Ultimately, a murder investigation focused on David Roland Waters, who had worked as a typesetter for American Atheists. Not only did Waters have previous convictions for violent crimes, there were several suspicious burglaries during his tenure, and he pleaded guilty earlier in 1995 to stealing $54,000 from American Atheists.
Shortly after his theft of the $54,000 was discovered, O'Hair had written a scathing article in the 'Members Only' section of the American Atheists newsletter exposing Waters, the theft and Waters' previous crimes, including a 1977 incident in which Waters allegedly beat and urinated upon his mother. Waters' girlfriend later testified that he was enraged by O'Hair's article, and that he fantasized about torturing her in gruesome ways.
The police concluded that Waters and his accomplices had kidnapped all three O'Hairs, forced them to withdraw the missing funds, gone on several huge shopping sprees with the O'Hairs' money and credit cards, and then murdered all three people. Danny Fry, an accomplice, was murdered a few days after the O'Hairs; his body was found on a riverbed with his head and hands severed and missing, but his remains remained unidentified for three and a half years. Waters eventually pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
In January 2001, Waters informed the police that the O'Hairs were buried on a Texas ranch, and he subsequently led them to the bodies. When the police excavated there, they discovered that the O'Hairs' bodies had been cut into dozens of pieces with a saw. The remains exhibited such extensive mutilation and successive decomposition that identification had to be made through dental records, by DNA testing and, in Madalyn O'Hair's case, by the serial number of her prosthetic hip. The head and hands of Danny Fry were also found at the site.
The gold coins extorted from the O'Hairs were put in a storage locker rented by Waters' girlfriend. Waters had taken out $80,000 and partied with his girlfriend for a few days, but upon his return he discovered that the remaining $420,000 had been stolen. A group of thieves operating in that area had a master key to the type of lock which Waters used to secure the locker. In the course of their activities, they came across the locker, used the master key to open it, and found a suitcase full of gold coins. They eventually spent all but one, which the police recovered.
Last edited by Kristen213; 04-21-2012 at 03:54 PM.