Madalyn Murray O’Hair took on the Supreme Court to get prayer out of schools, started a culture war, and was violently murdered for it. A new Netflix film finally tells her story.
When pleading her case in public forums, be it on Phil Donahue or Johnny Carson’s talk shows, or in a televised debate with Preacher Bob Harrington, she attacked the religious, ridiculed their beliefs, and provoked with a mischievous glee. At one point in the film, Leo’s Murray O’Hair claimed that the Bible was written by “faggots,” saying that, “Jesus was as queer as a $3 bill.”
“If she had been terribly polite and quiet about it, I don’t know that she would’ve been heard,” Leo says. “So then she’s abrasive, perhaps. Loud, perhaps. Foul-mouthed, for sure. Does that help her cause? Not really! But it gets her heard.”
What’s that saying? Well-behaved women seldom make history?
“It is absolutely true,” Leo stresses. “We have all kinds of men through our history—abrasive assholes that become kings and heroes, and soft-spoken gentlemen who are regarded with respect. I don’t know that I can understand that, but I know that I’ve been a woman in the United States of America all my life and it remains as difficult today as then. Maybe more so because there’s the delusion that things have changed.”
More, in the case of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, here is a woman who literally made history, but who still is written out of the record.
Forget the implausibility that a woman could be so notorious in her lifetime to be branded “The Most Hated Woman in America,” and then entirely unknown in the years since her death. Forget about the fact that any progress that has been made in society as far as the normalization of atheism in a historically Christian society and the removal of religion from government and schools is owed to her.
There’s the simple matter that her story has yet to be told. How is it possible that this is the first time a film has been made about her, when stories don’t get more cinematic than this one?
The David vs. Goliath fight of the single mom with no means taking on the Supreme Court. Her larger-than-life personality and way of speaking. And then, macabre as it is, the dramatic and violent way that she died—kidnapping, mystery, ransom, and grisly murder. LINK