Visitor Escapes Terrorism
Arts & Entertainment Editor
|Like It Is
— Bill Stevenson,
whose father was a terrorist, said Jesus pulled
him away from terrorism. Stevenson spoke with a
campus organization recently.
Bill Stevenson experienced terrorism on
a personal level long before 9/11 was a buzzword.
His father was a high ranking member of the Ulster
Volunteer Force, a protestant response to the
traditionally Catholic Irish Republican Army.
“In the late ‘60s, the IRA and the UVF developed a more organized
approach to terrorism, and by the late 1990s they
were considered the most sophisticated terrorist
organizations in the world,” Stevenson said.
This training would later be handed down to Al- Qaeda.
“I grew up in a family where, as a young boy, I developed a lot of
fear. I remember on one occasion, machine gun
bullets coming through my living room window,”
Stevenson’s viewing of John Wayne movies and other popular American
culture inspired him to move the United States, then
a land free from terror. However, he credits
something else with actually getting him out.
“I came to America in 1982. What got me out of Northern Ireland was
Jesus Christ,” he said.
Although Stevenson readily found his spiritualism, his father was
less accepting, even going so far as to threaten to
break his son’s legs if he mentioned Jesus one more
However, his father soon had a change of faith and Stevenson, with the
rest of his family, went into hiding. They then
traveled the globe, preaching to people worldwide.
Recently, with tensions easing in Northern Ireland, he and his
family have made several trips back.
“Nine-eleven had an impact worldwide. All of a sudden, terrorists
like the IRA wanted to separate themselves from
terrorists like Al-Qaeda. The Irish still value
life,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson is very active in
the current peace process between Catholics and
Protestants. He has met with Sinn Fein leader Gerry
Adams and former President Bill Clinton to talk about
the trouble in his home country. He currently teaches at
John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.
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© The Voice 2005
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