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From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader. New York Times

From: cole m.
Sent on: Thursday, August 23, 2012 12:16 AM
New York Times. You don't want to miss this about Jerry DeWitt. It's five pages long but worth the time. Just so you know: Jerry's boss, at the time he came out as an atheist, was his best friend.  WTF!


DeWitt never meant to go public with his unbelief. He figured he could “stay under the radar,” he said, and continue working as a buildings inspector in DeRidder, where, over the years, he had gained a reputation as a community champion and was talked about as a future mayor. But when he heard that Richard Dawkins would be attending a Freethinkers gathering in Houston, he couldn’t resist. He took a day off, without telling his boss where he was going. He got a picture taken of himself and his son Paul (who was then 19 and who has never been religious) with Dawkins. DeWitt posted the photograph on his Facebook page, assuming that “nobody in DeRidder knew who Dawkins was.” He also, perhaps unwisely, updated the “religious views” box on his Facebook page to read “secular humanist.”
It was his grandmother’s cousin, an 84-year-old woman he knew as Aunt Grace, who saw that page and outed him. Word spread quickly. On Dec. 1, his boss asked to meet him at a diner in town. Sitting at the table, the man took out two printouts from secular Web sites with DeWitt’s name on it. “He told me: ‘The Pentecostals who run the parish are not happy, and something’s got to be done,’ ”DeWitt recalled. “Half an hour later I was out of a job.” (His former boss did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.)

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