Many atheists are celebrating what would be Madalyn Murray O'Hair's 100th birthday. What many do not know is that O'Hair attempted to defect to the Soviet Union twice before launching American Atheists. - Lauren Ell, President, Republican Atheists
"I am stunned to learn Madalyn Murray O’Hair tried to defect to the Soviet Union"
I was recently watching a documentary called “Godless in America: The Complete Short Film of Madalyn Murray,” and was stunned when the documentary noted that atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair attempted to defect to the Soviet Union.
Murray O’Hair was the notorious founder of American Atheists, the oldest atheist organization in the United States. She became a household name when she challenged prayer being said in public schools, and won.
The video mentioned her attempt to defect to the Soviet Union with her two children. Apparently she went to the Soviet Union embassy in Paris in 1959 but was denied citizenship. She returned to the United States where she then challenged prayer in school in 1960.
What can I say? I am stunned. The hell bent woman that ignited the separation of church and state movement, and brought national attention to the word “atheist,” hated the United States so much that she attempted to defect. That does not make the modern atheist movement look good at all, and I can understand why people are weary of atheists.
I did further research on her to learn more about her history. While Wikipedia says, “It was rumored that she sought to defect..,” there are multiple sources that say she did in fact make the attempt. Apparently she also attended meetings held by the Socialist Workers Party. Additionally her son, William J. Murray, has given a detailed account of his mother’s efforts of trying to join the Soviet Union, and promote “the revolution’s” efforts.
Unfortunately, this is yet another reason why communism can be brought up while discussing atheism, and ultimately the separation of church and state movement. It is clear that Christians are aware of the connection between atheism and communism, yet for some reason many atheists I encounter tend to become enraged when the subject of communism is brought up. Much like their Christian counterparts, it appears that they are selective of history in order to fit the narrative that their beliefs are superior.
I consider communism to be one of the worst failed systems in the history of mankind, and I have been dedicating more time to drawing awareness to its horrific history. Despite being atheist for over a decade, I have become increasingly weary of the separation of church and state movement, as I consider it to have been infringing on religious liberty. To learn that the modern day separation of church and state movement was founded by a woman who attempted to defect to the Soviet Union makes the movement appear even more atrocious.
I hope atheist organizations, and atheists in general, will acknowledge the historical affiliations between atheism and communism, and give credit to the Christian heritage of the west that has greatly contributed to the development of the free societies that we enjoy today.
“O’Hair, Madalyn Murray.” Texas State Historical Association. Link.
“Netflex drama conveniently forgets communist ties of famed atheist.” March 27, 2017. WND.com.
“Madalyn Murray O’Hair timeline.” November 20, 1998. The Austin Chronicle.