Help a Former Pastor Make the Transition Out of Church

Ex-pastor Jerry DeWitt, the first graduate of the Clergy Project, is working through that transition period between making a living (and lying) behind the pulpit and finding work outside of the church world. The Kansas City Atheist Coalition is chipping in to help him out and they’ve already raised a significant amount, but you can chip in here if you find it worthwhile (and I hope you do):



About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • RockMyWorld

    So Jerry is still begging for money, just from a different crowd.

    He could always get a real job like the rest of us poor bastards.

    • Guest

      You’re right, it was definitely Jerry who wrote this article and posted the ChipIn account…. don’t at all see how he’s begging but I guess good will just makes me a little blind. You can certainly see things crystal clear. 

    • Josh Hyde

      As an organizer of this fundraiser: no, Jerry had nothing to do with its inception or management. We, as his friends, came up with the idea and, after making sure Jerry was okay with it, moved ahead with this.

      To make it crystal clear: Jerry was never involved in the starting or management of this fundraiser.

  • Fsq

    Yeah great, this chump finally figured out what is what, but now, instead of trying to better himself with other professionals, he is begging for money.

    Sorry. Fail.

    My money goes to much more worthy organizations. The Mugie Conservation effort in Kenya, Elephants Without Borders, and The Leakey Foundation get my money and volunteer efforts each year – this chump just needs to stop sounding the Whiney Alarm and get over it.

    • Guest

      Then go donate to your “worthy causes” and stop belittling other people’s issues that you don’t need to be a part of if you’re not supporting him. 

    • Josh Hyde

      Jerry had absolutely nothing to do with this fundraiser’s inception or management. It was created wholly independent of him, for him by concerned friends.

  • Tainda

    Really?  

    I help people whenever I can but there are a LOT of out of work people in the world these days.  When I was unemployed, I got a job.

    • Josh Hyde

      …and Jerry is actively pursuing that. But, in the meantime, he could use help, and we, as his friends, took it up ourselves to start and manage a fundraiser to help him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1610947543 David Bentley

     I’ve had the pleasure of  introducing  Jerry DeWitt when he spoke at a meeting of our group in Little Rock. I met him again and heard his rousing speech at the American Atheists Convention in DC. He’s returning again to speak to our group this Sunday at no charge, although we insist on taking up a collection for his travel costs.

    Jerry is a great asset to the atheist community and works full time, currently with no salary, as Executive Director of Recovering from Religion, working with The Clergy Project, doing interviews for TV and radio, and speaking to atheist/freethought groups. I think this new effort of coaxing clergy out of the pulpit and going public with their non-belief may just be the straw that breaks the supernatural camel’s back, and Jerry is the perfect spokesperson for that effort.

    If we were talking about just any old ex-preacher who quit his church job and did nothing further for the atheist cause, then I could see being critical of taking up donations.  Otherwise Jerry is really no different from Dave Silverman, Dan Barker & Annie Laurie Gaylor, Fred Edwords, and many other great leaders in the movement who get their salaries through donations to the organizations they lead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wonderist Thaumas Themelios

    Great show from the cynics in the first three comments! ;-)

    I’m proud to have been part of the community who helped Jerry pay his bills and feed his family after being forced into a rough patch through no fault of his own. I’ve been through rough times too. There’s no shame in it.

    I don’t support just anybody. Jerry is a keeper, and if you don’t know that, too bad for you. While the cynics sit and watch, we’ll be on the march. Cya.

  • Jerry DeWitt

    Thanks for the support Hemant!
    I truly appreciate your kindness and the great work you’re doing. :-D

  • Darrel Ray

     My thanks to Hemant for his help on this. Per the critical comments, I was the one who initiated this effort, Jerry knew nothing about it until it was already under way. Jerry has already put thousand of hours into Recovering from Religion and as Chraiman of the board of that Organization, I thought it only appropriate for us to support him until we can get some regular funding for the organization. He is positively impacting hundreds of people as is Sarah Morehead who puts in as many hours as Jerry, for no compensation. It is clear from the comments critical of Jerry that these people know nothing of what is actually happening in the religious recovery part of the movement. It is also probable that those who criticize most have done next to nothing to advance the cause. Easy criticism comes from those who know nothing about the organization and all that Jerry has already accomplished. Thanks again to all of your who have given so generously, I can assure you, our investment in Jerry will be paid many many times over. Just look at the map of new groups on the RR site. There are many times more groups than when I turned it over to Jerry just this last November, and our outreach is just beginning with our other initiatives like the Secular Therapist Project. When people decide to leave church and join the reality based community, we are the first stop for them.

    Let Jerry know that we appreciate all that he is doing, despite the nay sayers.

  • Shaken Not Stirred

    Jerry is a wonderful friend and a great human being who felt no real choice in giving up a very well-paying career due to his convictions.  That should say something in this age when there are so many insincere fakes in the pulpit who knowledgeably take advantage of their churches.  He’s probably touched more lives and helped more people in a meaningful way since leaving faith than he could have in church, and I’m proud to help support him any time I’m able to.  We all should.  :)

  • Josh Hyde

    Having now reprimanded the nay-sayers: thank you, Hemant, for posting this. We appreciate all that you do – for Jerry, KCAC, and the atheist community at large.


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