Atheist Activist Becomes Christian After Believers Show Him Compassion
A few days ago we noted the story of Patrick Greene, the Texas activist who sued to stop a nativity scene in Athens, Texas. When local Christians discovered he had an eye condition that required surgery, and couldn’t afford groceries, they donated hundreds of dollars to him. Greene was “flabbergasted” by the Christians’ generosity, which caused him to rethink his opposition to them and the faith.
Now, it’s reported that he has not only rethought his opposition to Christianity, but that he’s actually become a Christian. What’s more, he says he now wants to enter the ministry. Now before anybody gets too excited, take note of the next waypoint in Green’s journey:
Greene plans to either join a nearby liberal congregation or may even start his own chapter of the Rainbow Baptists, an outreach ministry of The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists that supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He says he feels strongly that homosexuality is acceptable in Christianity, and claims the Bible’s original approach to issues of homosexuality has been altered over the last 2,000 years.
Greene says his wife of nearly 34 years, who is still an atheist, was “surprised” at his conversion but understands him. Even though they disagree on the issue, they haven’t argued over it.
“We don’t interfere with each other’s differences, we don’t put each other down because of it,” he said.
As a symbol of his appreciation to the Christian community both in and around Athens, Greene has purchased a star for the top of the tree that is part of the Christmas display he once railed against. He has also written a letter to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an organization that said the Nativity display was unconstitutional, to explain why their legal arguments against the Nativity are not valid.
It’s tempting on Good Friday to look past Greene’s frankly wrong-headed understanding of Christianity as regards homosexuality, and look with hope to the possibility that an examination of Scripture and the life and resurrection of Jesus will lead him to an orthodox embrace of the faith, but I guess I’ve seen too many of these episodes end in grief to be very optimistic. Still, this is a step in the right direction, and among the many prayers you might say over this Easter weekend, include one for Patrick Greene, that the actions of Christians, behaving as Christ taught them, might lead him to a fuller understanding of the Gospel.
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