Today is Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s Birthdayby Don Lacey on Apr. 13, 2012, under Atheism, Christianity, Critical Thinking, Education, Faith, History, Religion, Responsible Government, Separation of Church & State, Supreme Court
Today, the 13th of April, is the birthday of Madalyn Murray O’Hair. She was born in 1919 and was murdered September 29th, 1995. During her 76 years she rose to become “the most hated woman in America” according to Life Magazine (1964). Madalyn continues to be a controversial figure. Her fiery presence, failed marriages, run ins with the law, and violent death cloud her history and are sometimes used to lessen her accomplishments in Atheist activism. It is easy to find things to hate about her. It is also easy to find things to admire. She served in the U.S. Army in World War II, put herself through college and earned her law degree. At a time when the government started putting religious slogans on our money and making the Pledge of Allegiance into a public prayer, she stood virtually alone in her effort to maintain the separation of church and state. While there were others working to remove prayer and Bible recitation from the public schools, she was on the front wave. Here is how she addressed the court:
“Your petitioners are atheists and they define their beliefs as follows. An atheist loves his fellow man instead of god. An atheist believes that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth for all men together to enjoy.
An atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it, and enjoy it.
An atheist believes that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.
He seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god. 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. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man.
He wants an ethical way of life. He believes that we cannot rely on a god or channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter.
He believes that we are our brother’s keepers and are keepers of our own lives; that we are responsible persons and the job is here and the time is now.”
Love her or hate her, today is her birthday and she should be remembered.