Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of the American Atheists in 1963, was a forerunner to the atheistic movement that has grown significantly over the past quarter century and has gained social and political influence. It was her lawsuit against the Baltimore school system that resulted in the 1963 Supreme Court decision forbidding Bible reading in public schools. O’Hair, together with her son Jon and granddaughter Robin, were murdered in 1995 by a former employee of the American Atheists who also stole a half million dollars from the organization. O’Hair’s oldest son, William, became a Christian in 1978. In his autobiography he described his mother’s legacy as follows: “I thought my mother was a Marxist, and she was. I thought she hated God, and she did. She hated American society and the concept of the nuclear family centered on a heterosexual marriage. Her vision was of a society without marriage, but with plenty of sex. She sought a civilization with no rules but with a perfect order. Her ideal was a culture in which all human needs were supplied but no demands were made on the individuals. ... But none of these single insights allow me or anyone else to view the core of what Madalyn Murray O’Hair was; they just nibble around the edges. However, put everything together--the atheism, the Marxism, the sexual anarchy, the social standards that have never existed in any functioning society--and one soon sees that she existed in a state of Magic Thought. She was a utopian. She believed that humankind could devise a system on Earth that supplied all needs to all people. In her vision of society, there would be no hunger, no pollution, and no war. ... Utopians often approve of dictatorial or even violent means to reach the impossible utopia they envision, and all of them who have achieved power became mass murderers. ... in 2011 America lives in the fantasy land of the Internet, where perfect societies are created in virtual mode in only minutes. The cries for the masses to be supplied with their needs virtually out of thin air, in a perfect world arranged by the government, are no longer made just by dreamers like Madalyn Murray O’Hair and a handful of sixties radicals like Timothy Leary, but by presidential candidates as well. ... [What] were just pipe dreams of my mother and a few others in the 1960s, are now shared by an ever-expanding percentage of a population with hands perpetually outstretched toward government. At some point between the tough reality of 1960 and the insanity of my mother’s vision, the Western world gave up its sanity for a reality that does not exist. If Madalyn Murray O’Hair lived today, she could probably run for the presidency on the Magic Thought Party ticket promising change that would bring prosperity without perspiration and an effortless material paradise rather than struggle and opportunity” (William Murray, My Life Without God, 2012 edition, “Retrospect from 2011”).
(Friday Church News Notes, May 18, 2012, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
Ad above does not necessarily imply endorsement