Changed Life Paths

There are a few stories today about a special someone who is promoting public prayer on the steps of the Supreme Court:

William “Bill” Murray, whose mother Madelyn Murray O’Hare [sic] used her son to legally end voluntary prayer in public schools in 1963, was to return to the US Supreme Court Thursday, May 3, to support a ‘National Day of Prayer’ service on the High Court’s front steps, organizers said.

Murray heads the Religious Freedom Coalition, a non-profit educational organization, and is author of a new book ‘The Pledge: One Nation Under God’.

“It’s fitting for Mr. Murray to join us advocating for public prayer at precisely the spot where he once stood after his lawyers argued against it,” added the prayer event’s chief organizer, evangelical minister Rob Schenck.

Note the headline on that article, too.

It does bring up an interesting idea, though. That of how certain people are known for one cause or one particular viewpoint… but later in their life, their attitude does a complete 180.

William Murray didn’t believe in God (and was indirectly famous for it) and is now a born-again Christian.

It brings to mind a couple other instances of the same thing.

Norma McCorvey is better known as Roe in Roe v Wade. Her case overturned state and federal laws against abortion.

But in 1995, McCorvey converted to Christianity and became a vocal pro-life advocate. She also became a “reformed lesbian.”

Antony Flew was a well-known atheist and signator of the Humanist Manifesto III. But in 2004, he announced his deism, saying that God was responsible for the first cause.

To a lesser extreme, John Robbins is the son of Baskin-Robbins co-founder Irv Robbins. Instead of following in his father’s footsteps, he chose to advocate a vegan lifestyle, essentially walking away from the ice cream business. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I heard part of the reason he left had to do with the fact that Baskin-Robbins used animal products (such as eggs) in their ice-cream.

With the exception of Flew, it’s not like Murray, McCorvey or Robbins were extreme advocates of atheism, abortion, or eating unhealthy foods, respectively. But their names did become linked with the causes.

It just goes to show that even the most passionate people– or people synonymous with a particular way of thinking– can eventually change.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Supreme Court, William Murray, Madelyn Murray O’Hair, National Day of Prayer, Religious Freedom Coalition, Rob Schenck, Christian, Norma McCorvey, Roe v Wade, Antony Flew, Humanist Manifesto III, deism, first cause, John Robbins, Baskin-Robbins, Irv Robbins[/tags]

  • Vincent

    “I don’t know if this is true or not, but I heard part of the reason he left had to do with the fact that Baskin-Robbins used animal products (such as eggs) in their ice-cream.”

    or um,
    milk? cream? you cannot make icecream without animal products since milk is an animal product, thus vegans eat tofuti (which is actaully pretty good).
    They could use eggs, but not likely. Raw egg is a traditional thickener in milk shakes though state health boards pretty much outlawed it in most, if not all, states.
    And a New York egg cream contains neither egg nor cream. Go figure.

  • http://atheistself.blogspot.com David W.

    There is also Ron Reagan Jr., son of the [born-again Christian] former president, who is a vocal atheist.

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    Are you changing paths, Hemant?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Are you changing paths, Hemant?

    Perhaps one of these days, Bjorn. One of these days… :)

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    I’ll keep an eye out for pictures of you with a hamburger and a crucifix then…

  • Jen

    Norma McCorvey drives me crazy. She didn’t even have the abortion! Her daughter, the one that case was about, is an outspoken pro-choice advocate and author.

    John Robbins was interviewed in Super Size Me, and it seemed from that that the reason he turned down his money had to do with health. He was a fat child, and his father and uncles all died of heart attacks early.

  • Glory K. Hemmingway

    When I was in high school Madelyn Murray O’Hare enrolled her son in the Hay School, Hays, Kansas to get the nuns out of the school system. Her mother moved there. I am writing a book and wish to reference this but can’t remember which year in the 50′s she began this. It would help me a lot if I had the year she did this. Thank you.


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