Jerry DeWitt's story

Sometimes atheist activists get more media attention and I groan, because I know they’re really a shitbag beneath the atheist activism and I hate the prospect of having that type of person making public appearances representing atheists.

But when I see CNN discussing someone like Jerry DeWitt my cold heart grows three sizes.  And then the article rules and I want to retire, hand Jerry my blog, and see which fast food restaurant will pay me the biggest pittance above minimum wage while someone like Jerry dispenses his opinions on my internet lawn.

Late one night in early May 2011, a preacher named Jerry DeWitt was lying in bed in DeRidder, La., when his phone rang. He picked it up and heard an anguished, familiar voice. It was Natosha Davis, a friend and parishioner in a church where DeWitt had preached for more than five years. Her brother had been in a bad motorcycle accident, she said, and he might not survive.
Readers’ Comments

DeWitt knew what she wanted: for him to pray for her brother. It was the kind of call he had taken many times during his 25 years in the ministry. But now he found that the words would not come. He comforted her as best he could, but he couldn’t bring himself to invoke God’s help. Sensing her disappointment, he put the phone down and found himself sobbing. He was 41 and had spent almost his entire life in or near DeRidder, a small town in the heart of the Bible Belt. All he had ever wanted was to be a comfort and a support to the people he grew up with, but now a divide stood between him and them. He could no longer hide his disbelief. He walked into the bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror. “I remember thinking, Who on this planet has any idea what I’m going through?” DeWitt told me.

A terrific memo to those who think religion doesn’t win through guilt.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • AJ

    I forgot not to read the comments at the original story. I am now 10% stupider.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com Enopoletus Harding

    Why is “Readers’ Comments” after “survive.”?

    • baal

      It’s block quoted text. I suspect it’s in the original that way.

  • http://atheistshelpingthehomeless.blogspot.com/ Joe Zamecki

    JT Eberhard,

    Howdy. This gets my attention:

    “Sometimes atheist activists get more media attention and I groan, because I know they’re really a shitbag beneath the atheist activism and I hate the prospect of having that type of person making public appearances representing atheists.”

    Who are you referring to? Certainly not all or even most Atheist activists, right? I’m dying to know if you’re thinking of one activist or incident. That’s quite a jarring paragraph.

    Joe Zamecki
    Austin

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com Enopoletus Harding

    It isn’t just the regular comments that sound dim-witted; the NYT editors/moderators appear to be complete dumb-fucks as well!

    If these people are really atheists, then why do they feel the need to proclaim their (non)-faith? If God doesn’t exist, why is it so important to deny his existence, and to do so publicly? Do they feel the need publicly to deny the existence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny (to say nothing of the Great Pumpkin)?

    Growing up in Flatbush, I often heard the line “you can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy.” This seems to be a case of you can take the man out of Evangelicalism, but you can’t take Evangelicalism out of the man.

    is presently the top “NYT pick”.


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