JOS, Nigeria—The Christian journey of William Murray began in San Francisco, where he experienced a pivotal moment that led him away from atheism. 43 years later, The Epoch Times met him in Nigeria, specifically in a location where widows and orphans are living in the constant presence of danger.
William Murray, the son of the renowned atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, was sleeping in his San Francisco apartment one night in 1980 when he felt the Holy Spirit guiding him towards seeking truth in the Bible. This experience eventually led him to become an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist Church.
As he stood in Mangu, Nigeria on September 1, comforting survivors of terrorist attacks, Murray was commemorating the 50th anniversary of his involvement in the landmark case, Murray v. Curlett. This case played a significant role in the larger School District of Abington Township v. Schempp suit, wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 17, 1963, that any form of Bible reading or prayer mandated in public schools is unconstitutional.
Murray’s journey has been extraordinary, transitioning from growing up in a dysfunctional Marxist household to building homes for victims of violence in Nigeria. He believes that the removal of prayer from public schools was not the sole event that changed America, but part of a chain of events including the drug culture, counterculture movements, radical underground organizations, and more.
He clarifies that his mother’s objection to prayer was not simply that of an atheist, but stemmed from her dedication to Marxism and her belief that religion supported capitalism. Born on May 25, 1946, Murray had a troubled upbringing filled with anger and violence. He battled addiction during his early years, which was a result of his traumatic childhood in Baltimore.
After converting to Christianity in 1980, Murray wrote a bestselling memoir titled “My Life Without God” in 1982, recounting his spiritual journey. He started advocating against the issues that once troubled him. During the 1990s, he established the first Bible-publishing company in the Soviet Union and organized evangelistic tours to the region.
Anticipating an Islamic jihad against the secular West during the collapse of the Soviet Union, he happened to be near the Pentagon when American Flight 77 crashed into it on September 11, 2001. Murray further campaigned for religious freedom and fought against the persecution of Christians worldwide.
In recent years, he has focused on setting up orphanages and safe houses for victims of Muslim ethnic-cleansing attacks in Nigeria. During his visit to Mangu on September 1, he criticized the American government for failing to support Christians facing constant pogroms in Nigeria. As the president of the Religious Freedom Coalition, he has been fighting for the rights of persecuted Christians and providing aid to widows and orphans forced out of their homes due to attacks by Sunni Muslim extremists.
Murray believes that America needs to remember its history of confronting Sunni Muslim pirates and demands that the Muslim-majority government of Nigeria receives the same social and economic punishment as China over its treatment of Muslim Uyghurs. He urges American Christians to stand up against the massacres in Nigeria and witness the devastating impact on innocent lives.
Murray’s visit to Mangu was part of his ongoing efforts to address severe cases of persecution. He has been involved in constructing school buildings in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, supporting IDP camps for Christians, and providing assistance to orphans and orphanages caring for Christian children, including those in Iraq.