Madalyn O’Hair, the ultimate heretic, back in the news

Published 9:26 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Merriam-Webster defines a heretic as a person who differs in opinion from established religious dogma — especially a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church who refuses to acknowledge or accept a revealed truth. By definition, therefore, Madalyn Murray O’Hair was the most well-known heretic of the 20th century. She was so famous, that several documentaries on her life have been produced during the past several years.

Each time, I come across information on her life, I always wonder how a person can become so depraved and void of a conscience. She ruined the lives of her two sons (although one son later, renounced her indoctrination and became a minister).

She hated God, and especially the Catholic Church. This was because she had a child out of wedlock, and her married Catholic lover, invoked church doctrines related to his sin, as the reason he would not divorce his wife for O’Hair.

This woman was a true heretic and atheist and her actions, especially morals, were in opposition to God’s commandments. In 1960, she sued the Baltimore City Public School System for what she felt was her son being forced to participate in Bible readings and prayers. Most atheists and theists believe that it was O’Hair who was responsible for prayer being taken out of schools — she was not. Her suit was collapsed with others that were already headed to the Supreme Court. It did not, however, stop her for taking credit for the court’s decision.

Ministers in discussing O’Hair are quick to say that her ultimate fall is proof that blasphemy against God can have deadly consequences. They emphasize that God has infinite patience. He is the creator of the earth and allows man to believe that he has worldly dominion and control of his creation. He is, however, a jealous God and does not have tolerance for those who do not believe that faith and trust in him will lead to their ultimate salvation.

The manner of her death, and that of her son and granddaughter, was gruesome. Their bodies were so mutilated that a definitive cause of death could not be determined for Madalyn and granddaughter, Robin. Their corpses were found burned and stacked on top of one another with the legs removed. Jon was also found with his arms tied, a plastic bag around his head, and blunt force trauma to the skull, which could have been his cause of death, though nothing definitive was determined. O’Hair’s bizarre and tragic legacy had essentially faded into obscurity until “The Most Hated Woman in America” brought her story back into the spotlight by media giant Netflix and other major media.

This story does have a happy ending. The son of the greatest heretic of the 20th century, who was the basis of her lawsuit against prayer in schools, ultimately renounced his mother’s teachings and became a minister.