Madalyn Murray-O'Hair Files Suit Against Religious Oath for Jurors

Madalyn Murray-O'Hair Files Suit Against Religious Oath for Jurors

Madalyn Murray O'Hair, 1969

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Madalyn Murray-O'Hair and other atheists file suit in federal court to eliminate the words "so help me God" from the oath that prospective jurors in Texas must say.

Because of this requirement, O'Hair and other atheists are not able to serve on Texas juries, creating a situation of significant religious discrimination.

Madalyn Murray-O'Hair says:

"There is no need to call upon an imagined God to assist one in civic duties. ...

Every time that an atheist has objected, they have been dismissed from the jury. ...

An honest atheist will object, (but) an atheist who has been hounded by his relatives or his employers and who is hypocritical and fearful might go along with it."

O'Hair's son, Jon Murray, says that he and his mother have been called for jury duty six times over the last ten years and dismissed each time after they objected to the oath. In one case, a Travis County judge had Madalyn Murray-O'Hair detained in his chambers so he could lecture her on why she should have simply recited the oath.

The jury oath says:

"Do you and each of you solemnly swear that you will true answers make to such questions as may be propounded to you by the court, or under its direction, touching your service and qualifications as a juror, so help you God?"

In December, Robin Murray-O'Hair, granddaughter of atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair, will be jailed by County Court Judge Guy Herman for refusing to take the oath.

Video

Godless In America: Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Part 3

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Madalyn Murray-O'Hair