Good News for a Pastor-Turned-Atheist

Our friend Jerry DeWitt is the subject of some exciting news!

Jerry DeWitt (Julie Glassberg – The New York Times)

First,his book Hope after Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey from Belief to Atheism is finally available to pre-order! It’s not scheduled for release until next May, but it’s already one of those books I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Second, as many of you know, Jerry has been having a tough time making that transition out of the pulpit. It’s hard to find a job, period, but it’s especially hard when your entire resume consists of the word “Church.” So the Freedom From Religion Foundation has announced that Jerry will be the first recipient of their “Clergy Project Hardship Grant.” How much money that is, we don’t know just yet, but hopefully, it’s enough to keep Jerry going for a little while as he continues to inspire other closeted atheists to leave the churches at which they serve as pastors.

(via Richard Dawkins Foundation)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Bgriffith6

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!  Good luck, Jerry and we look forward to your new book!

  • Robster

    With an employment background in the clergy, there must be options available for the ex-pastor. What jobs, like being a cleric, requires excellent lying skills? Well, there’s politics, car sales, fraud and associated criminal activity, drug dealing’s always a favourite or child molestation. I’m not suggesting Mr. DeWitt is skilled or experienced in any of these areas, but for the other pile of priests emerging from the fog of belief, there’s plenty of opportunities worth considering.

  • Thin-ice

    Jerry DeWitt addressed, no, he “preached” his de-conversion story at the FFRF convention 3 weeks ago in Portland, with over 800 of us atheists and apostates in his “congregation” shouting encouragement and “preach it brother”. He was spectacular! Even as he faced bankruptcy hearings the following week.

    Here’s a challenge Hemant: the FFRF Hardship Grant, as great a start as it is, probably is a drop in the bucket compared to his needs. Is there any way you could start up a fund that we could contribute to? I would love to have the opportunity to help him out.

  • Hemant Mehta

    At the moment, I’m not doing any fundraisers, but if I find out there’s another going on, I’d be happy to promote it!

  • mikespeir

    As ex-Pentecostal myself, I’m looking forward to this.

  • Mjy1945

     Jerry doesn’t have to get a white collar job. He might have less trouble finding employment if he lowered his sights and started looking for factory work; maybe get a forklift driver’s license. There are hundreds of millions of us around the world doing jobs like that – and we’re raising families, buying cars and purchasing houses. It’s not easy, but it’s not all that difficult either.

  • Thomas Lawson

    If they were expert liars, they’d stay where they are. That’s the rub. Name some jobs that require people with high levels of ethics and trustworthiness and you’ll be helping.

  • Joe Armstrong

    On that theme of pastor turns atheist, you might like to listen to my new documentary about my own journey from belief to unbelief Armstrong

  • Canieldonrad

    Having grown up in Kentucky, in the church and attending a bible college I can definitely side with him.  When you state your reason for leaving as being, “I just don’t believe it anymore” a lot of places turn you down.  Not just decent paying work, but bottom of the barrel work.  They all feel like you leaving a bible college or a pastoral job means you are a flight risk for their position.