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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 (31-40):
LindaClement
by Linda on Feb. 26, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Nice.

Reminds me of the Catholic Recovery Programs...

ashellbell
by shellbark on Feb. 26, 2013 at 5:52 PM
See, you don't understand and you can't. It's difficult to believe in something whole heartedly and try to imagine your life without that belief. I was the same way. When I came across previous believers as a believer I assumed they chose it, they were angry at god, or they never believed to begin with. The belief isn't there any longer. For people in my shoes, the rose tinted glasses are removed and it's just no longer there. I never, in a million years, thought I'd be on the other end of this conversation. Oh, the irony.


Quoting TranquilMind:

 If you ever had it, it's still there somewhere, buried under other things you chose to go with instead.  It's not over 'til it's over. 


You can't not know, what you once knew.  It would be like not recognizing your child or something. 




Quoting ashellbell:

That's just not true. 5 years ago, my answer would have been the same as yours. I had plenty of faith at one point. I believed with all my heart. I lost faith gradually. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with losing. I prayed, I cried, I bargained...I still lost it. People don't don't just wake up and choose to be atheist. It just happens. The stories don't make sense at some point. I tried so hard to get that belief back with no avail. I've lost friends and family because of it. I've had horrible things said to me. He probably thought he knew the answer at one point but now it's changed.



Quoting TranquilMind:


 People who know the answer to this do not end up in his predicament.



 



Quoting ..MoonShine..:

To who, exactly? LOL





Quoting IhaveHisjoy:



  He should pray for a job...



 



 





 


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 26, 2013 at 5:57 PM



Quoting nbgg8687:

I have nothing against STUDENTS receiving scholarships. the scholarship goes to support their education and not the family so that they can "figure" out what to do. I have received scholarships... u think an ounce of that went to feed my children, put cloths on.my back, pay for rent, gas, and my car. no... I worked for that. If its training he wants, he should.be held.to.the same standard as anyone else quitting their job. Get a new one... and if u have to.live it PA then so be it. maybe a little humility. go.a long way. I show no sympathy for.someone who doesn't.like their.jobs when, especially something like this. he is ripping people off. People don't change their stance of religion like this.over night obviously... he should have quit long ago.there is.someone ready and willing to. fill his position. I get it... things happen. But, religion or no religion you reap what u sew.


Quoting TranquilMind:



Yeah. Not a lot of respect for that. 


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.










Why do you give a rat's ass who gives money to this? It is the donators' prerogative. And did it ever occur to you that there might be, oh I don't know...another way of looking at this? By people who aren't you?

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 6:04 PM

 Ok.  Well, talk to me when it IS over.....we shall see.  All things are possible...

I've never had any rose-tinted glasses.  That's what you don't understand. 


Quoting ashellbell:

See, you don't understand and you can't. It's difficult to believe in something whole heartedly and try to imagine your life without that belief. I was the same way. When I came across previous believers as a believer I assumed they chose it, they were angry at god, or they never believed to begin with. The belief isn't there any longer. For people in my shoes, the rose tinted glasses are removed and it's just no longer there. I never, in a million years, thought I'd be on the other end of this conversation. Oh, the irony.


Quoting TranquilMind:

 If you ever had it, it's still there somewhere, buried under other things you chose to go with instead.  It's not over 'til it's over. 


You can't not know, what you once knew.  It would be like not recognizing your child or something. 


 


Quoting ashellbell:

That's just not true. 5 years ago, my answer would have been the same as yours. I had plenty of faith at one point. I believed with all my heart. I lost faith gradually. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with losing. I prayed, I cried, I bargained...I still lost it. People don't don't just wake up and choose to be atheist. It just happens. The stories don't make sense at some point. I tried so hard to get that belief back with no avail. I've lost friends and family because of it. I've had horrible things said to me. He probably thought he knew the answer at one point but now it's changed.



Quoting TranquilMind:


 People who know the answer to this do not end up in his predicament.



 



Quoting ..MoonShine..:

To who, exactly? LOL





Quoting IhaveHisjoy:



  He should pray for a job...



 



 



 


 



 

nbgg8687
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 6:05 PM
Honestly I don't. its just another form.of a hand out for a ridiculous reason. reminds me of.the.tax money that could be used for something legit, but.rather spent.on keeping a museum of tea cups open, that only.received a few hundred visitors. Luckily its nothing that comes out.of peoples actual paychecks! Although... wait... people have supported a fraud for years. He lied... at any other job u would be fired. if I a doctor quit wanting.to save lives, would u want him as your doctor even though he doesn't really care? No. its not.lack of faith its his lack.of character. I do not support liars. which is what he is.


Quoting Goodwoman614:




Quoting nbgg8687:

I have nothing against STUDENTS receiving scholarships. the scholarship goes to support their education and not the family so that they can "figure" out what to do. I have received scholarships... u think an ounce of that went to feed my children, put cloths on.my back, pay for rent, gas, and my car. no... I worked for that. If its training he wants, he should.be held.to.the same standard as anyone else quitting their job. Get a new one... and if u have to.live it PA then so be it. maybe a little humility. go.a long way. I show no sympathy for.someone who doesn't.like their.jobs when, especially something like this. he is ripping people off. People don't change their stance of religion like this.over night obviously... he should have quit long ago.there is.someone ready and willing to. fill his position. I get it... things happen. But, religion or no religion you reap what u sew.





Quoting TranquilMind:




Yeah. Not a lot of respect for that. 



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.
















Why do you give a rat's ass who gives money to this? It is the donators' prerogative. And did it ever occur to you that there might be, oh I don't know...another way of looking at this? By people who aren't you?


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM



Quoting nbgg8687:

Honestly I don't. its just another form.of a hand out for a ridiculous reason. reminds me of.the.tax money that could be used for something legit, but.rather spent.on keeping a museum of tea cups open, that only.received a few hundred visitors. Luckily its nothing that comes out.of peoples actual paychecks! Although... wait... people have supported a fraud for years. He lied... at any other job u would be fired. if I a doctor quit wanting.to save lives, would u want him as your doctor even though he doesn't really care? Spectacular logic fail. but not surprising, considering the lack of cogent thought in your comments, generally No. its not.lack of faith its his lack.of character. I do not support liars. which is what he is.


Why do you give a rat's ass who gives money to this? It is the donators' prerogative. And did it ever occur to you that there might be, oh I don't know...another way of looking at this? By people who aren't you?



ashellbell
by shellbark on Feb. 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM
All things are possible? Can you put a fire out with gasoline? If yes, I'll buy in to your theory here. I'm at a point in life where I don't look at if it's possible, I ask is it plausible. Is it possible the god of Abraham is the only true god out of the millions over time? Sure. Is it plausible? Probably not. I don't pretend to know absolutely one way or another. I'd also never be so arrogant to assume I know the reasoning of someone's faith or lack there of. I don't make those judgments.


Quoting TranquilMind:

 Ok.  Well, talk to me when it IS over.....we shall see.  All things are possible...


I've never had any rose-tinted glasses.  That's what you don't understand. 




Quoting ashellbell:

See, you don't understand and you can't. It's difficult to believe in something whole heartedly and try to imagine your life without that belief. I was the same way. When I came across previous believers as a believer I assumed they chose it, they were angry at god, or they never believed to begin with. The belief isn't there any longer. For people in my shoes, the rose tinted glasses are removed and it's just no longer there. I never, in a million years, thought I'd be on the other end of this conversation. Oh, the irony.



Quoting TranquilMind:


 If you ever had it, it's still there somewhere, buried under other things you chose to go with instead.  It's not over 'til it's over. 



You can't not know, what you once knew.  It would be like not recognizing your child or something. 



 



Quoting ashellbell:

That's just not true. 5 years ago, my answer would have been the same as yours. I had plenty of faith at one point. I believed with all my heart. I lost faith gradually. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with losing. I prayed, I cried, I bargained...I still lost it. People don't don't just wake up and choose to be atheist. It just happens. The stories don't make sense at some point. I tried so hard to get that belief back with no avail. I've lost friends and family because of it. I've had horrible things said to me. He probably thought he knew the answer at one point but now it's changed.




Quoting TranquilMind:



 People who know the answer to this do not end up in his predicament.




 




Quoting ..MoonShine..:

To who, exactly? LOL






Quoting IhaveHisjoy:




  He should pray for a job...




 




 




 



 





 


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
nbgg8687
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 6:21 PM
Ummm no silly Willy. Some religions do.not believe in doctors.. right? How.is.this.log ic fail? People take faith very seriously! It should not be led by a fraud because he wants the money. He lied. some people rely on their faith more then the latest medicine.... how does comparing this seem so crazy. You don't think he ripped people off and lied? You think that this says nothing.of his character? I think the way a man lives by his word is how you.judge the man... he lied every single day to get money.


Quoting Goodwoman614:




Quoting nbgg8687:

Honestly I don't. its just another form.of a hand out for a ridiculous reason. reminds me of.the.tax money that could be used for something legit, but.rather spent.on keeping a museum of tea cups open, that only.received a few hundred visitors. Luckily its nothing that comes out.of peoples actual paychecks! Although... wait... people have supported a fraud for years. He lied... at any other job u would be fired. if I a doctor quit wanting.to save lives, would u want him as your doctor even though he doesn't really care? Spectacular logic fail. but not surprising, considering the lack of cogent thought in your comments, generally No. its not.lack of faith its his lack.of character. I do not support liars. which is what he is.



Why do you give a rat's ass who gives money to this? It is the donators' prerogative. And did it ever occur to you that there might be, oh I don't know...another way of looking at this? By people who aren't you?






Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Feb. 26, 2013 at 6:50 PM

*shrugs* At least he is able to be true to himself. I am glad this exists. However, I am actually surprised at some of the comments.. well, not really. 

I know what it is to lose faith in what you were brought up to believe... , as long as he is happy in his non belief, right? :3

AdellesMom
by on Feb. 26, 2013 at 8:15 PM
Wow.
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