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From the The Montana Standard, 2/3/'02

Famous atheist's son now campaigning
for prayer in public schools

By the Associated Press

     BOZEMAN (AP) - As the son of a famous atheist, William Murray thought it was great when, as a teen, he learned the U.S. Supreme Court ordered religion out of public schools.
     Today at age 56, having completely rejected the teachings of his late mother, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Murray is lobbying to bring prayer back to schools.
     "Good Christian education works - it's working for 4.5 million students in the United States right now," Murray said in a phone interview from his Virginia office. "On average, those 4.5 million students are performing at two grade levels beyond their peers in public schools."
     Murray is a fundamentalist minister and chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition and the political action committee Government is Not God. He is scheduled to speak Saturday night at a fund-raising dinner for the Petra Academy, a private Christian school in Bozeman.
     Murray, who rejected his mother's atheist beliefs years ago, said he believes religion is needed back in public schools, which he characterizes as a "failed system."
     Murray's mother was a very outspoken atheist who founded the group American Atheists. The 76-year-old O'Hair disappeared in 1995 along with another son, Jon Garth Murray, and her 30-year-old granddaughter Robin Murray O'Hair. Their dismembered and burned remains were found in January 2000 in a mass grave in Texas.
     Police were led to the grave by David Waters, O'Hair's former office manager, who has admitted kidnapping and killing the three to obtain $600,000 in gold coins O'Hair owned.
     Waters pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge as part of a plea bargain and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. A second man convicted in connection with the kidnapping, Gary P. Karr, is serving a life term.
     Murray, who had a falling out with his mother years earlier, described her as a committed Marxist-Leninist who indoctrinated her children into an atheist lifestyle.
     "I was indoctrinated in the 'fact' the U.S. was a fascist slave-labor camp run by Jewish businessmen," he said. "My mother taught me the most important things in life are food, booze and sex," he said. "Living that kind of life nearly destroyed me." ---
 

 

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