Not the London Olympics — 1788

Another interesting passage from the Life of Murray, this later in his career. He left Gloucester, Massachusetts, his new home, when prosecuted — one might say persecuted — for performing marriages illegally, though his congregation contended he was properly ordained, if not in the way commonly known in the Standing Order. Because the cumulative fines would have absorbed fortunes, he left for England while the state legislature could provide relief.

In this context, though see:

But the following advertisement appeared in a London paper:—

“Mr. Murray is an American, the most popular preacher in the United States. In the conclusion of one of his sermons, preached on that continent, he endeavored to enforce with all the powers of eloquence, the necessity of establishing in those States the same Olympic games, which were for many ages established among the Grecians.” But this was not all; it was storied that he had left America in consequence of a criminal prosecution.

Murray, promoting the modern Olympic Games more than a century before their resumption! Fascinating. I wonder if they would be held only among the Americans, or simply to be hosted here.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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