Madalyn Murray O'Hare and FCC Petition


A persistent rumor, one that has being going around for over two decades and just won't seem to die, is that prominent atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hare has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to deny broadcast rights to religious broadcasters. Such a petition if granted would obviously put an end to EWTN and other religious stations. It would also violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was on such grounds that in 1975 an actual petition from two individuals, neither of which was Mrs. O'Hare, sought to prohibit the access of religious organizations to public access educational channels. The FCC denied this petition.

Nonetheless, this urban legend continues, notwithstanding the fact that Mrs. O'Hare is dead, the presumed victim of foul play in the early 1990s by one of her associates.

The rumor that the FCC has before it a proposal to deny licenses to religious broadcasters still continues to circulate, 25 years after the Commission denied that request.
– Federal Communications Commission
I don't think it's going to die out or ever be debunked successfully. No matter how hard we try to debunk it, there will be people who haven't seen it and will help spread the rumor the next time around.
– Jan Harold Brunvand, Folklorist

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

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