AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC. P O Box 140195 Austin, TX 78714-0195 (512) 458-1244 PRESS RELEASE

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AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC. P O Box 140195 Austin, TX 78714-0195 (512) 458-1244 PRESS RELEASE November 23, 1990 Madalyn O'Hair, founder of American Atheists, who has been called for jury duty in Travis County on November 27, 1990, invites the media to a photo opportunity for a "Summons burning" event at the American Atheist General Headquarters at 2:00 P.M. on Monday, November 26, 1990. Mrs. O'Hair, and American Atheists, have been fighting the unconscienable legal obligation of Atheists being forced to recite an oath "So help me God" in order to qualify for jury service, [TRCP, Rules 226 and 236] during the last twenty years. There is currently in the federal appellate system the case of Robin Murray-O'Hair, her daughter, who was charged with contempt of court, forcibly taken to jail, strip searched, cold-water showered, deprived of her clothing (including her shoes) and incarcerated with felons in the Travis County jail when she refused to take the "So help me God" oath in a Travis County court in December 1988. Recently, Jon Murray, her son, who had sued following his expulsion from a Travis County court because he was an Atheist, lost a federal court suit when the Supreme Court of the United States on its first day in session in November 1990 upheld a lower court decision that Atheists (and everyone else) have neither a constitutional right or a vested interest to serve on a jury; that the phrase "So help me God" is incidental to the secular purpose of conferring an atmosphere of formality on the jury deliberations (by requiring the oath); and, that the demand for all to reveal their religion when summonsed is a benefit to attorneys' exercise of jury strikes. Mrs. O'Hair, in burning her jury summons, will ask that all Atheists everywhere in Texas take one of three actions: (1) join her in a similar protest when they recieve a summons for jury duty; (2) simply fail or refuse to appear for jury duty when summonsed; or (3) appear for jury duty and refuse to either swear or affirm "So help me God." All Atheists in Texas have legal sanction for such protests under the federal appellate court ruling ("Murray v. Travis County District Court and Jim Mattox, Attorney General of the State of Texas") ". . . the district court determined that . . . the right to serve on a jury is not a constitutionally protected one . . . We agree." [No.89-11463, Fifth Circuit, 02/26/90] *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: * * PO Box 140195 FTP: * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: * * Info on American Atheists:, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************


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