When a rabbi decides that she or he is a nontheist there is a warm, accepting professional home. When the same thing happens to a preacher – and most especially a Pentecostal preacher – well, the option to stay in the career track are considerably reduced (eliminated).
Jerry DeWitt is a brave ex-preacher who came out as an atheist in Louisiana. His story is the subject of a documentary that is in the works and you can be a part of making it happen. The filmmakers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project about this fascinating man:
Jerry DeWitt had been preaching in and around Beauregard Parish, Louisiana since he was 17 years old. Full of warmth and gifted with electric Pentecostal oratory, he was a popular figure around town. He even planned to run for mayor. But when his 85-year old aunt discovered he was an atheist, the news spread quickly. Within a year he had lost his job, the bank had foreclosed on his house and his wife had left him.
But Jerry’s story only begins there. Thrust into the limelight by a New York Times profile, he unexpectedly finds himself at the center of a growing but dis-unified secular movement. He quickly learns to navigate the intricate politics of organized atheism and sets an audacious goal: to create a sustainable human-centered ministry in the heart of the Bible Belt. It may be an idea whose time has come. But can it happen in time to save his home and his family?
Anyone involved in Secular Humanistic Judaism should be excited by the idea of a “human-centered ministry.” And after hearing him speak – with his Pentecostal cadences intact – I think he can pull this off.
The Kickstarter campaign has only 26 days to go and many thousands of dollars left to raise. The film and Mr. DeWitt’s efforts could be an incredible shot in the arm for secular humanism. Please consider participating! You can find all the details at this link.