Christian son of American Atheists founder says Netflix film about his mother is 'full of errors'
William J. Murray, the only surviving son of American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O'Hair, has said that the new Netflix film about his mother is full of errors, omissions and distortions.
The film titled "The Most Hated Woman in America," which debuted on Netflix last week, tells the life story of O'Hair, who founded the American Atheists in 1963 and spent half of her life fighting for the separation of church and state.
O'Hair filed a case against the Baltimore City Public School System in 1960 to prevent her son from taking part in Bible readings in school. She won the case in 1963 with a Supreme Court decision that banned prayers in classrooms.
Murray, who is now a Christian and who currently serves as the chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, referred to the Netflix film as a "Google Movie" because he says the docudrama was based on information available from Google searches.
He asserted that there were no interviews of participants, and he said the filmmakers refused to contact him, even though he was the only main character in the movie who is still alive.
Murray suspects that the filmmakers used certain information that can only be found in his memoir titled "My Life Without God," but he contends that they still got some parts wrong.
He said that the biggest omission was the lack of mention of his mother's ties to the Communist Party and her attempted defection to the Soviet Union when he was still a child.
"In 1960, she led our family on an attempted defection to the Soviet Union that got as far as the Soviet embassy in Paris," Murray told World Net Daily.
Murray recounted that they returned to the U.S. at the start of the school year after they were rejected by the Soviet embassy.
"To re-enroll me required her taking me to the junior high school at the beginning of a school day, and that is when she discovered the prayer. She did create a scene at the school, but not in a classroom as depicted in the movie, but rather in the school office," he narrated, referring to a scene in the film in which O'Hair discovers that children are being forced to pray in school.
Murray said that the movie also had some inaccuracies about the family's home life. While the movie portrays his grandfather leading the family in prayer at the dinner table, Murray remembers him as a man who sold whiskey and women at a roadhouse during the Prohibition.
"There was never a Bible in the home at any time, and while I believe my grandfather may have believed in God, I never saw him attend church to the day he died," he noted.
The movie also highlights the mysterious disappearance in August 1995 of O'Hair along with her granddaughter, Robin, and Murray's brother, Jon Garth. Murray reported them missing in September 1996 after he was contacted by a reporter named John MacCormack.
MacComack eventually uncovered the truth about the family's kidnapping and murder, but he only got involved in the case a year after the family went missing. The movie, however, depicts a reporter who pursued the mystery from Day One.
Murray founded the first commercial Bible publishing company in the Soviet Union in the early 1990s in an attempt to undo the damage done by utopian communists like his mother.