Over the weekend I watched a very interesting documentary about Madalyn Murray O'Hair, one of the pioneers of atheism in the US. The youtube snippet from 'Godless in America' illustrates the kind of woman, Madalyn O'Hair was and the story of her life is as compelling as it is tragic. Madalyn served in WW2, bore two illegitimate sons, was refused permission to defect to the USSR by the Russians and successfully campaigned to remove prayer from public schools. One of her two sons converted to evangelical christianity and became one of her greatest enemies. And after 76 years of enjoying life, and fighting theism and ignorance, Madalyn was brutally murdered, not for her activities as an atheist, but because of another person's greed.
In 1995, Madalyn, her son Jon, and her adopted daughter Robin, were kidnapped and held hostage by an associate who wanted to get his hands on over half-a-million dollars of funds. Nobody knew what had happened to Madalyn and many believed that she'd just run off with the money. Reality was much more bizarre. The murderer, David Roland Waters, had deposited 600,000 dollars worth of gold coins that he had extorted from the O'Hair's, in a storage container. He went away and spent a small sum, but on returning to the locker found that the gold coins had been stolen. Finally in 2001, the truth was revealed. Madalyn and her family had been horribly murdered. From CrimeMagazine.Com:
One federal agent at the scene told me of how gruesome the situation was. The bodies had been dismembered and then burned...That same agent also told me that he had offered a prayer over the bodies when they were first discovered. He told me, "No one deserves this, no one."
And so Madalyn O'Hair died for a stack of gold coins; all but one of which was spent on prostitutes, drugs, drinking and gambling by a bunch of opportunistic robbers. I guess in the end, the atheist got the last laugh - though she'll never know it. The murderer, Waters, died in prison of cancer in 2003.Go Top