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Madlyn Murray O’Hair Murder

January 27, 2012 by staff 

Madlyn Murray O’Hair Murder, Madalyn Murray O’Hair (April 13, 1919 – September 29, 1995) was an American atheist activist and founder of the organization American Atheists and 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.

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