Biographical Note On Jon G. Murray President, American Atheists A graduate of the U

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************************************************************ Biographical Note On Jon G. Murray President, American Atheists ************************************************************ A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a second generation Atheist, Mr. Murray is a proponent of "aggressive Atheism." As a member of the "First Family of American Atheists," he knows by first-hand experience how difficult it is to be free from religion in the United States. Mr. Murray has been involved in the American Atheist movement since the day his family first objected to mandatory prayers in the schools of Baltimore, Maryland, and as he went through the public school system he was confronted with official religion at every grade level: the Pledge of Allegiance (grade school), teachers' giving Bible lessons (junior high school), religious services in assemblies (high school), graduation prayers (college). He "officially" joined the staff of American Atheists in 1975. Ever concerned for the outreach of Atheism internationally as well as nationally, he serves as the co-director of United World Atheists, arranging its tri-annual conferences. As well as overseeing the day-to-day activism of American Atheists, he organizes the very successful annual national conventions of American Atheists. He assumed the presidency of American Atheists in 1986. Mr. Murray had the honor to be the second American Atheist leader to address a congressional committee, when he was invited to speak to the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and Coinage on September 14, 1988. The committee wished to have the American Atheist perspective on the design of our nation's coins. Thirty-nine years old, Jon Murray is the son of the United States' best-known Atheist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the woman who took the issue of prayer in the public schools all the way to the Supreme Court in 1963, thus starting a controversy which has lasted over two decades. ATHEIST ACTIVISM **In 1979, Mr. Murray planned and promoted the American Atheist picketing of John Paul II in Chicago, Illinois - the first time in world history that any Atheists had picketed the alleged "vicar of Christ." **He also arranged the 1982 American Atheists' picket of the White House, another first for an Atheist group. **He organized and led the First Atheist Pride March in Denver, Colorado, in 1987. LEGAL ACTIVISM Mr. Murray has been or is a litigant in the following attempts to secure the civil rights of Atheists and to protect separation of state and church: **"Murray v. Ai" (1964), a challenge to the inclusion of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. **"O'Hair v. Blumenthal" (1978), an attempt to remove the phrase "In God We Trust" from U.S. currency and coins. **"O'Hair v. Hill" (1978), a successful attempt to remove a requirement in the constitution of the state of Texas that all officeholders believe in a god. **"O'Hair v. Andrus" (1979), an attempt to stop the National Park Service from paying for facilities for a Mass during the pope's 1978 visit. **"O'Hair v. Clements" (1980), a challenge to the display of a nativity scene in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Austin, Texas. **"Murray v. Buchanan" (1981), a challenge to the opening prayers in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate. **"Tucker v. United States" (1982), an attempt to eliminate the tax-deductibility of gifts to religion from personal income tax. **"Murray v. Travis County District Court" (1987), a challenge to the swearing in of jurors with the phrase "So help me God" and the requirement that jurors disclose their religions. **"Murray v. Travis County" (1987), an attempt to have church-owned real estate taxed. **"Murray v. City of Austin" (1987), an attempt to remove a cross from the city seal of Austin, Texas. PUBLICATIONS **Columnist in the "American Atheist" magazine since 1976. **The following books: "Atheism and Children" (editor); "An Atheist's Bertrand Russell" (editor); "Essays of an Atheist Activist" (2 volumes); "Essays on American Atheism"; "All the Questions You Ever Wanted to Ask American Atheists" (with Madalyn O'Hair) **Editor, "American Atheist Newsletter" *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * 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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