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A Pastor Who Is Secretly an Atheist Is Getting a Grant to Help Him Leave the Ministry for Good

February 26, 2013 By

Earlier this month, the Stiefel Freethought Foundation made a huge contribution to The Clergy Project to the tune of $100,000. The purpose: To help pastors-turned-atheists leave the ministry for good and learn skills that will help them transition into a secular career:

 

 

The first recipient of an "Employment Transition Assistance Grant" has now been announced on the Clergy Project's website: It's "Adam," a closeted atheist and current pastor:

 

For the last four years, I have felt trapped and at times hopeless because I am a closeted atheist pastor. After much reflection, I no longer share the religious beliefs of the faith community I serve. I belong to a fundamentalist, evangelical, Bible-believing denomination, which means if anyone found out about my change in beliefs, I would lose my job immediately and plunge my family into financial ruin.

 

For the last two years, I have secretly sought a secular job but have been unable to find one. While I have good skills that are transferable, I, like many other job seekers, have been facing tough competition and challenging economic conditions. Not being able to be open with others about my situation and my desires has compounded the difficulty. I became so discouraged that I eventually stopped applying for jobs and wondered if I would ever be able to leave the faith that I no longer accepted. While I longed to leave hypocrisy and pretense behind, I felt I had to put the security and wellbeing of my loved ones above my own comfort and learn to live with the pain of professing a faith I no longer believed.

 

Fortunately, I became a member of The Clergy Project and, thanks to the generosity of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, I am receiving valuable assistance in finding sustainable employment. Having the services of a professional outplacement service - including a highly trained transition coach, a resume writer, use of personality and skill assessment tools, access to numerous private training resources, and even handpicked placement opportunity leads - has made all the difference. I am once again hopeful.

 

I know I am not alone in my desire to leave the ministry, so I am very excited not only for the prospect of my own new life, but also for the prospects of my friends currently in ministry who want to lead a life centered on reason instead of faith. Securing secular employment will no doubt be the crucial first step in safely moving beyond faith to a much wider world of opportunity.

 

"Adam"

 

I asked the acting Executive Director of the Clergy Project, Catherine Dunphy, if she had any advice for "Adam" and she told me this:

 

Shortly after the Clergy Project launched in March 2011, Adam and I spoke about the challenges that our members face when leaving ministry and what was need to help them transition to secular employment. At the top of that list was the need for employment resources; thanks to Todd [Stiefel] and the Stiefel Freethought Foundation we now have the resources to respond to this challenge.

 

Adam is my friend, peer, and Clergy Project brother and I am tremendously excited about the potential impact this program has to assist him as he takes steps to transition out of active ministry."

 

And I'm excited about the fact that Adam won't be the first and last person leaving the ministry as a result of this program. There are no doubt many more pastors out there who don't believe in God, yet who stay in their jobs because of the paycheck. If there was a way out, they would take it. Like getting a big inheritance, the assistance won't solve all of their problems, but it will certainly help.

 

This is a way out.

 

by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 2:39 PM
Replies (11-20):
rgba
by Bronze Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:04 PM
Interesting.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:05 PM

 He did.  Did you read the article?  He said he has skills, but I would question that.  What kind of skills can he have?  I mean, he's probably a good speaker ... but that's not getting anyone a job.  Most of us can suck it up and do our jobs until we find another one ... it may not be fun ... but it's not a huge deal.

This guy was living a lie, and lying to his congregation on a daily basis.  This is the best case scenario for everyone.


Quoting nbgg8687:

Honestly... why doesnt he look fit another job. I mean.. I get he's atheist and a pastor. but what do normal people do when they don't like their job... they don't get a grant, they find another job.


 

nbgg8687
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:10 PM
I know its tough with no training... but McDonalds trains,grocery stores train, in home health care trains.... it sucks to live a lie. Every single church I have been to the.pastor has an outside job.


Quoting pansyprincess:

 He did.  Did you read the article?  He said he has skills, but I would question that.  What kind of skills can he have?  I mean, he's probably a good speaker ... but that's not getting anyone a job.  Most of us can suck it up and do our jobs until we find another one ... it may not be fun ... but it's not a huge deal.


This guy was living a lie, and lying to his congregation on a daily basis.  This is the best case scenario for everyone.




Quoting nbgg8687:

Honestly... why doesnt he look fit another job. I mean.. I get he's atheist and a pastor. but what do normal people do when they don't like their job... they don't get a grant, they find another job.



 


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
AslantheLioness
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:16 PM

If its all not real then it doesnt matter if they believed in it or not. Religion is largely manmade rules. There's no proof either way. I agree with you if it was a real job (like a doctor or a fireman), but being a religious leader is kind of a joke in a way.... since its not based on anything concrete and based largely on people's blind faith in something intangible.


Quoting pansyprincess:

I'm glad this exists.  It's a win/win for everyone.  This man should be able to support himself and his family without faking a belief in god.  The church deserves to have someone leading them that believes as they do.




pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:41 PM

 Well, it probably matters to them.  I mean, I get what you are saying, but it makes sense to have a believer lead a bunch of believers. 

I just can't imagine having to go to work all day and talk about god and praise god and tell everyone about how much I love god.  That sounds like a freakin' nightmare as an atheist!  So I wouldn't want this guy to have to live like that.  I don't care as much about the parishoners, since it's not like they knew he was lying (and my personal belief is the same as yours, that it is all lies anyway.)

 


Quoting AslantheLioness:

If its all not real then it doesnt matter if they believed in it or not. Religion is largely manmade rules. There's no proof either way. I agree with you if it was a real job (like a doctor or a fireman), but being a religious leader is kind of a joke in a way.... since its not based on anything concrete and based largely on people's blind faith in something intangible.

 

Quoting pansyprincess:

I'm glad this exists.  It's a win/win for everyone.  This man should be able to support himself and his family without faking a belief in god.  The church deserves to have someone leading them that believes as they do.

 

 

 


 

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:47 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting pansyprincess:

I just can't imagine having to go to work all day and talk about god and praise god and tell everyone about how much I love god.  That sounds like a freakin' nightmare as an atheist!  So I wouldn't want this guy to have to live like that.

About 1 in 6 pastors secretly don't believe in God.  It is a much more common problem than people think.


stringtheory
by Gold Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 3:58 PM
2 moms liked this
He has looked for employment. Entry level jobs would likely land him and his family on PA, so why wouldn't he take advantage of willing financiers with private money offering to retrain him? Are you opposed to students seeking out scholarships too?

Quoting nbgg8687:

Honestly... why doesnt he look fit another job. I mean.. I get he's atheist and a pastor. but what do normal people do when they don't like their job... they don't get a grant, they find another job.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
furbabymum
by Gold Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 4:06 PM

 Depending on his church he may have been living in a church provided home with church paid utilities, etc. How do you expect someone to set up a new life on a McDonald's salary? Welfare?

Quoting nbgg8687:

I know its tough with no training... but McDonalds trains,grocery stores train, in home health care trains.... it sucks to live a lie. Every single church I have been to the.pastor has an outside job.


Quoting pansyprincess:

 He did.  Did you read the article?  He said he has skills, but I would question that.  What kind of skills can he have?  I mean, he's probably a good speaker ... but that's not getting anyone a job.  Most of us can suck it up and do our jobs until we find another one ... it may not be fun ... but it's not a huge deal.


This guy was living a lie, and lying to his congregation on a daily basis.  This is the best case scenario for everyone.


 


Quoting nbgg8687:

Honestly... why doesnt he look fit another job. I mean.. I get he's atheist and a pastor. but what do normal people do when they don't like their job... they don't get a grant, they find another job.

 


 


 

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM
1 mom liked this

Oh Great and Wondrous Pasta Queen!

i ask that you help this man, and that be be touched by your Noodly Appendage, 

And find sauce, and plates to pile it upon, for him and his family!

RAmen!

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 26, 2013 at 4:12 PM
1 mom liked this

Seriously, though: if you want to support assisting this pastor as well as the other ppl who want to leave the lie they are living as leaders of faith communities, you can go here 

http://www.clergyproject.org/

and donate.

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