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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 (41-50):
..MoonShine..
by Redwood Witch on Feb. 26, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Ah, but there isn't just one right answer. :D 

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...




angelachristine
by Bronze Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 8:45 PM

laughing

That's a joke right?


Quoting IhaveHisjoy:

  He should pray for a job...



It's Cassandra Cat! 

12hellokitty
by Ruby Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 8:48 PM

Unfortunately this is the New Atheism, full of ridicule and arrogance....

eye rolling

Quoting AslantheLioness:


i wouldnt be able to do it for long either, but I applaud his ability to do it for as long as he did. Shows how much like sheep people can be, though and how easy it can be. But ya, I couldn't pretend it was all real and solid like that for very long, I'd probly leave the sermon laughing calling everyone a buncha gullible idiots at some point 

Quoting Clairwil:

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.






IhaveHisjoy
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 8:51 PM

 Yes...

Quoting angelachristine:

laughing

That's a joke right?

 

Quoting IhaveHisjoy:

  He should pray for a job...

 

 

 

"Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone- except God"...Billy Graham
Ziva65
by Gold Member on Feb. 26, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Odd that they need a grant to find a new career. I know a lot of Pastors who have changed careers. They are just like everyone else. I know a Unitarian minister who is now a PG&E worker; I know an Episcopalian minister who is a DA; another was an Evangelical Free Pastor who now owns his own Engineering firm. Some did it for money, some did it because they didn't like church politics. I have another friend (a couple) who is an ex-preist who married an ex-nun. They met at my Catholic college...

All sorts of people stay in a job for a paycheck, and many are savvy enough to figure out another career... doesn't really matter what they believe or not. People's skills and talents can transfer to all sorts of different careers. Seems the people in this article weren't able to change the career on their own? IDK.

 

pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:26 PM

 So you believe that only atheists are unemployed?  I have never in my life heard anyone make such a ridiciulous claim.


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...

 

 


 

pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:32 PM

 You are comparing apples and monkeys.  You do understand that this is exactly what this "scholarship" or foundation is for, right?  Cause no one is giving a scholarship to attend college to a priest who wants to leave the church.  Private citizens donated their money to fund THIS EXACT SITUATION.  Not for something else.  Would you be angry if you donated money to cancer research and they spent that money on something different?  I know I would. 

I guess I just don't get your problem.  This guy doesn't want to be in the church.  If you hated your job, would you quit it before getting a new job?  No sane person does that.  You don't quit your job and go on PA.  They find a new job first.  But for priests (or the like) in his situation, there is a foundation to help them NOT have to stay and lie about who they are and what they believe.  Why wouldn't people support this?  It is a private organization.  you don't have to pay for it.


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.

 


 


 


 



 

soonergirl980
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Frankly he is quite pathetic the moment he decided he didn't believe in his faith he should have quit.

pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I feel terrible for him.  What you are missing is that most people do decide to leave a career or job that doesn't suit them anymore.  And they do that once they have secured a new position.  Especially if they are the sole provider for their family.  Do you know a single person that has quit their job just because they don't like it anymore, even though they support their family?  Cause that's sounds like a pretty stupid and irresponsible move to me.  This guy is using this organization as a means to speed up the process of him getting out of the church. 

I guess I don't get why you are so disgusted.  I'm sure he grappled with his decision for a long time ... don't' most believers have moments of doubt?  Once he figured out that he truly didn't believe, and therefore shouldn't be a member of the church, he looked for work.  And couldn't find any.  So he turned to this organization to get help

Are you so blinded by your fierce need to defend religion that you can't see this isn't AGAINST religion?  It's just a man that needed help and got it.  But of course there are going to be asshats like you that have to turn it into a person being absolutely horrible because they don't believe in your god.


Quoting TranquilMind:

What a revolting thought. 

A active, working, preaching, counseling pastor who is an atheist.  Wow.  What astonishing lack of character and ethics to keep THAT little piece of info under wraps and continue to pretend to serve your people with what you don't have to give.

So he can get another job.  It happens all the time when people decide that the current job - which is clearly ALL it was to this guy -doesn't suit him anymore.  Move on.  Nobody should have to pay for it, especially while you are actively deceiving people. 

Just ugh.   

It's not over til it's over, is the only good thought here. 


 

pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Why are you rolling your eyes?  Do you have information that says different?

You would have no way of knowing if your pastor didn't truly believe ... so I'm not sure why the dramatics.


Quoting 12hellokitty:

 

 

Quoting Clairwil:

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.

 

 

eye rolling


 

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