Emily Thompson
Fri, Sep 8, 2023 9:15 PM

From Atheism to Activism: The Remarkable Journey of William Murray

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From Atheism to Activism: The Remarkable Journey of William Murray
William Murray, the son of outspoken atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair, has embarked on a unique journey that spans from atheism to activism. From being a plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case to becoming an ordained minister, Murray's path has led him to Nigeria, where he now advocates for religious freedom and helps victims of terrorist attacks. In this article, we delve into Murray's extraordinary life story and his efforts to provide aid to persecuted Christians in Nigeria.

JOS, Nigeria -- His Christian path began in San Francisco with a pivot from atheism. On Sept. 1, 43 years later, The Epoch Times met him in a Nigerian killing field where widows and orphans live daily in the shadow of the cross.

The son of outspoken atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair, William Murray lay sleeping in his apartment in San Francisco one night in 1980 and felt the Holy Spirit direct him to seek truth in The Bible.

Mr. Murray followed up on his epiphany and was soon on track to becoming an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist Church.

As he stood in the town of Mangu in central Nigeria on Sept. 1 comforting survivors of terrorist attacks, Mr. Murray was marking the 50th year since he had been a plaintiff in Murray v. Curlett.

That legal case eventually became part of the larger suit known as School District of Abington Township v. Schempp in which the U.S. Supreme Court on June 17, 1963, ruled (8-1) that any form of legally or officially mandated Bible reading or prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.

For Mr. Murray, it has been quite the journey, from coming of age in a dysfunctional Marxist home to building homes for displaced victims of violence in Nigeria.

"While more conservative Christians such as evangelicals view the removal of prayer from the public schools as the singular watershed event that changed America, it was not," Mr. Murray told The Epoch Times.

"Rather, it was part of a chain of events during the period that included the drug culture headed by LSD guru Timothy Leary, the Counterculture, the radical underground including the SDS, and Symbionese Liberation Movement [Patty Hearst kidnappers], and the so-called "love-in" symbolized by the pop song about San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear a Ribbon in Your Hair)," Mr. Murray said.

"Many secularists who live outside the bounds of Judeo-Christian logic view the destruction as random," he went on. "Yet others see it as an overall plan -- a conspiracy."

"This was not a case of an atheist objecting to prayer as depicted by the media. My mother was a dedicated Marxist bent on the destruction of the free-enterprise system and its institutions. She viewed religion as one of the three legs of support of capitalism, as did Marx," Mr. Murray added.

Born on May 25, 1946, in Ohio, William J. Murray, also known as "Bill," grew up in a home filled with constant anger and violence.

In his early years, Mr. Murray struggled with addiction as part of his traumatic upbringing in a Baltimore rowhouse.

At the age of 17, his mother, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, a U.S. veteran and well-known atheist activist, named him as the plaintiff in her legal challenge against mandatory prayer and Bible reading in public schools.

In 1980, after converting to Christianity, Mr. Murray published his bestselling memoir, "My Life Without God" (1982), recounting his spiritual journey and began advocating against the very issues that had troubled him.

During the 1990s, he established the first commercial Bible-publishing company in the Soviet Union and organized evangelistic tours to the region for Christians.

As the Soviet Union collapsed and former Soviet states gained independence, Mr. Murray predicted a looming Islamic jihad against the secular West.

On Sept. 11, 2001, he happened to be driving near the Pentagon when American Flight 77 crashed into it.

By the end of September, Mr. Murray ran ads in national newspapers, highlighting the similarities between the governments of Saudi Arabia and the Afghan Taliban, and continued as a leading advocate for religious freedom, championing the rights of persecuted Christians worldwide.

Mr. Murray's visit to Mangu on Sept. 1 was one of dozens he has made in recent years to set up orphanages and safe houses for victims of Muslim ethnic-cleansing attacks.

On Sept. 1, Mr. Murray took the American government to task for not standing up for Christians undergoing constant pogroms in Nigeria.

As the president of the Religious Freedom Coalition, a U.S. nonprofit that lobbies Congress on issues affecting Christians in Islamic and Communist countries, he fought to provide aid to widows and orphans who had been forced from their homes due to attacks by Sunni Muslim extremists in Plateau state's Mangu county.

The attacks had resulted in more than 350 deaths in mid-May, and more than 80,000 residents had been displaced, with 18,000 internally displaced persons seeking shelter in a primary school in Mangu during Murray's visit.

"The Muslim-majority government of Nigeria will stop the attacks if they receive the same social and economic punishments handed to China over [the] treatment of Muslim Uyghurs," he said, calling for American Christians to speak up against the massacres.

"Christians in America who think they are persecuted need to visit the men and women with life-changing gunshot wounds in the hospitals of Plateau state, Kaduna state, and Benue state.

"They should watch the tears fall down the cheeks of a woman with four children married for 19 years who found out her husband was dead when a Fulani called her on her husband's cellphone to tell her that he had killed him and now she was "inherited" to him as a wife by Islamic law," he said.

"It is unfair what has happened in Plateau state and in Benue -- so many attacks and many people who have lost their homes. The Christians whose churches have been destroyed and burned. Farms that have been ravaged and destroyed.

"Irrigation systems that have been pulled up out of the ground and deliberately broken so that the pipes cannot be used again. Pumps that have been deliberately taken and worse.

"The worst is that people have lost their loved ones; they've lost their husbands, they've lost their brothers, they've lost their sisters.

"There has been grief amongst the people because of these attacks and the West does very little to ease the grief and the misery of these people who have suffered at the hands of the Fulani and those that would impose Islam on the Christians of this country," he concluded.

Mr. Murray's trip to Mangu was part of a series of visits to Nigeria focused on addressing the most severe cases of persecution.

His recent efforts have included the construction of a school building in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in nearby Benue, helping IDP camps supporting Christians in both Benue and Plateau and ongoing support for orphans and orphanages that care for Christian children, including those in Iraq.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-08 News

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