The Outcast of Beauregard Parish Kickstarter Campaign

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They have so far raised $32,756 (June 6).  $25 gets you a digital download of the movie when it released.

Richard Dawkins, the intellectual face of the atheist and secular movement, personally donated $6000 to our Kickstarter campaign! And he is challenging everyone to make a contribution, be it for the first time, or second, if you are already one of our generous donors. He saw the trailer and was floored—and wants to help us get the word out to get this film made, so we can help change lives. 

So please take the Richard Dawkins challenge! We would be ever so grateful—but more importantly, all those who are afraid to come out as a nonbeliever, and who may gain the strength to do so through this film—-will be even more grateful for your help.

Thank you!

The Outcast of Beauregard Parish team


This project will only be funded if at least $30,000 is pledged by Tuesday Jun 25, 9:00pm EDT.

 

The Outcast of Beauregard Parish

Kickstarter Campaign

The Film

Headline: Help Support a Documentary Film on discrimination against atheists

Deck: The Outcast of Beauregard Parish profiles a preacher who lost his faith and was ostracized.

Jerry DeWitt had been preaching in and around Beauregard Parish, Louisiana since he was 17 years old. Full of warmth and practiced in the fiery oratory of the Pentecostal faith, he was a popular figure around town. He even planned to run for mayor. But when his 85-year old aunt discovered he was an atheist, the news spread quickly. Within a year he had lost his job (his boss was pressured by the local city council to fire him), the bank had foreclosed on his house and his wife had left him.

But Jerry’s story only begins there. Thrust into the limelight by a New York Times profile, he sets an audacious goal: to create a sustainable human-centered ministry in the heart of the Bible Belt. It may be an idea whose time has come. But can it happen in time to save his home and his family?

The Outcast of Beauregard Parish, a feature length documentary film developed for a national market by the Peabody-award winning team at Bread and Butter Films, will tell Jerry’s story, and in the process explore some of the burning issues in secularism today, including discrimination against atheists, the recent rapid growth of nonbelievers in America, and the quest to form communities among nonbelievers that meld the best of religious communities, without the dogma and belief in a higher power.

The Kickstarter Campaign

The team at Bread and Butter Films just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for the initial filming of The Outcast of Beauregard Parish. The goal is to raise $30,000 by July 25. And if they don’t¾per Kickstarter’s rules, they lose all the donations pledged.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter a website where people—often artists, filmmakers and writers¾request donations to fund their project. In exchange we offer some fun rewards¾plus you get to support the making of this film. Unfortunately, in today’s documentary film climate, with foundations cutting back on their giving, filmmakers are turning to crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, where people who believe in the project or cause, become partners and make sure it gets made.

Want to see The Outcast of Beauregard Parish on national TV in 2014? Help make it happen! Click

The Outcast of Beauregard Parish

to view our Kickstarter campaign and trailer. Also, like us on Facebook!


continue to source article at kickstarter.com

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    • In reply to #1 by OHooligan:

      Unconvinced this is a worthy project.

      Then don’t partake.

      If You throw $10 they only get the money when the goal is reached, So you are partly protected from scammers, but all kickstarters are still donator beware.

      As a Awareness raising exercise it probably reaches further than 6 or so billboards if it does get broadcast. Will probably generate more discussion etc.

      • In reply to #2 by ozkrenske:

        As a Awareness raising exercise it probably reaches further than 6 or so billboards if it does get broadcast. Will probably generate more discussion etc.

        Good point. Maybe worthwhile after all. I suppose the best conversion stories are about the ones who go from one extreme to the other. Like St Paul, maybe?

      • Thanks for defending our honor! If it’s the legitimacy of the filmmakers that has people concerned, they can look up Bread and Butter Films. We are a Peabody Award winning team with many PBS docs under our belts. I promise we’re not out to take people’s money and not make a film!

        In reply to #2 by ozkrenske:

        In reply to #1 by OHooligan:

        Unconvinced this is a worthy project.

        Then don’t partake.

        If You throw $10 they only get the money when the goal is reached, So you are partly protected from scammers, but all kickstarters are still donator beware.

        As a Awareness raising exercise it probably reaches…

    • Hi. Jason Cohn, director of the film here. Happy to answer questions if I can help convince you. We found Jerry to be a really compelling individual and his story opens doors into profound issues in American life. What part of the project leaves you unpersuaded?

      In reply to #1 by OHooligan:

      Unconvinced this is a worthy project.

  1. The reaction was due to his hypocrisy more that his atheism. People are harshest when others commit the sins they are hiding themselves. In a religion everyone has to pretend to his neighbours they take the nonsense seriously and have no doubts. Without the blanket of false consensus, many more people would reject religious silliness. In Islam, apostacy is considered far more wicked than non-belief. It is more of a direct attack on Islam.

      • Let’s not get snarky! You may not need a “counseling service” or “human-centered ministry” but that doesn’t make the idea worthy of ridicule. Religions have persisted not because the answers they provide make sense logically, but because they “work” for the people who subscribe to them. Life isn’t one-size-fits-all. There may very well be large numbers of people out there who would be willing to move away from religion if there were godless congregations (or whatever the ^$& you want to call them) that gave them the benefits of a church or mosque or synagogue. Jerry and others just want to test the market for it. In his case, he has no other real skill or calling beyond ministering so can you blame him?
        *In reply to #6 by justinesaracen:

        In reply to #5 by sbooder:

        “human-centered ministry”…Please no!

        I think that’s called a counseling service.

  2. If it was a documentary or compelling life tale just of discrimination against an atheist then I’d be for it – but the whole ‘they found out I was an atheist preacher and lost my job’ overshadows the story. If you’re still preaching when you’re an atheist then you are continuously and – this is the kicker – knowingly lying to your congregation day in, day out. Hard to paint him as the hero, there. And building a ‘human centred’ ministry? So you mean a church for atheists?

    Looking at it from a religionut’s point of view this is a documentary about a lying atheist who systematically and deliberately deceived the honest folk in his flock and then got all butthurt when he was found out – oh, and atheism is a religion too.

    What would be wrong with a doc(/mock)umentary about a modern, educated atheist moving to a small, parochial town and suffering discrimination and distrust because he’s not a god botherer, he’s unmarried etc. Heck, he might even be black or gay or, shucks, even a woman! It could be a heart warming tale of how he overcomes the discrimination with calm, reasoned comments and thrilling heroics. Even though he was harrassed out of the pub for his perceived lack of morals by heckling drunken townfolk the night before, he’s still there first thing in the morning to help build the extension to the primary school with nary a murmer. Later, he’s racing into the burning church in a lightning storm to rescue the kids when the local preacher simply knelt on the grass and prayed. Clichéd as all hell but, let’s face it, you’re not attempting to write next Titanic or Ben Hur.

    I’m not being funny, but there’s a lot you can do with stories that highlight the foolishness and injustice of discrimination and prejudice but the outline for the kickstarter project seems rather like an own goal.

    • In reply to #7 by BenS:

      Yadda yadda yadda

      Whilst I was penning my epic response (and getting breakfast), Roedy and sbooder both pointed out the two things that set the alarm bells ringing for me on this project. The hypocrisy of the protagonist and the ‘human-centred ministry’. Might be worth considering.

    • Hi. Jason, the director of the film here. Of course you’re welcome to make your own film! But I do want to correct a common misperception about Jerry’s life. He moved out of the ministry when his own doubts became too strong to deny. When he was “outed” by his aunt, he was working as a building inspector. And in the year before that he was working for the mayor of his hometown. He hadn’t pastored for something like two years. In other words, he was never an “atheist preacher” deceiving his flock. I think the transition from religionist to atheist was probably pretty murky for Jerry, as it is for most who’s lives take that trajectory. But my sense of Jerry is that he handled a very difficult situation with as much integrity as he could muster. Thanks for listening…

      In reply to #7 by BenS:

      If it was a documentary or compelling life tale just of discrimination against an atheist then I’d be for it – but the whole ‘they found out I was an atheist preacher and lost my job’ overshadows the story. If you’re still preaching when you’re an atheist then you are continuously and – this is the…

      • In reply to #13 by jason.cohn.395:

        he was never an “atheist preacher” deceiving his flock

        OK, sounds better now. The original article didn’t make that clear, and I think is the origin of a lot of the negative reaction here, my own included. It came across more like he got “outed” while still in the job, which would make him a much more difficult character to sympathize with. Unless it’s presented as black comedy, along the lines of Reginald Perrin or Blackadder. Good luck with the fundraising.

        • Yeah, you’re not the first person operating under that assumption. I don’t think Robert Worth, who wrote the NY Times article, made that very clear.

          Thanks for your support!

          jc
          In reply to #15 by OHooligan:

          In reply to #13 by jason.cohn.395:

          he was never an “atheist preacher” deceiving his flock

          OK, sounds better now. The original article didn’t make that clear, and I think is the origin of a lot of the negative reaction here, my own included. It came across more like he got “outed” while still in…

    • I think your arguments are quite sound, yet I think shunning is something religious people do, so giving him an other Chance might be the way to go.

      I like your story a lot actually, you are right that would be a lot better story but this man in all fairness had it rough as well and we have a chance to help him out.

      Do we always need someone in the worst case possible to help her/him out, just for the sake of more attention?

      I will help, 10$ is not the world and if your Idea comes out I might pay even more! :P

      Moreover this is as well very helpful for our cause! :)

      • Supernova, thank you! We appreciate your support.

        –The Outcast of Beauregard Parish team

        In reply to #24 by SuperNova:

        I think your arguments are quite sound, yet I think shunning is something religious people do, so giving him an other Chance might be the way to go.

        I like your story a lot actually, you are right that would be a lot better story but this man in all fairness had it rough as well and we have a chanc…

  3. This is a worthy project! When you are raised in a religious cult, groomed, “formed,” and basically brainwashed to be a preacher of that religion’s lies, it is very difficult to leave one’s job as a church leader. Those of you you have attacked Mr. DeWitt for being a hypocrite in your comments have disregarded the complex social, religious, and psychological dynamics that controlled his life. Not all atheists are born into a world without religion. Many of us had no choice in the matter. We were spoon fed religious lies from our birth and controlled by religious fear and guilt into our teens and adulthood. When we finally saw through the lies, we were cast out from our families and communities. For those of us who were in positions of power in the church, we lost not only our families and communities, but our careers, homes, and the decades of time and work that we put into our eduction and professional life. One doesn’t go into religious ministry thinking, “I’m doing this because I’m a hypocrite and will become a closet atheist someday.” Rather than attacking our fellow atheists and humanists who have different experiences of coming to atheism, why not meet people where they are in their own journeys and support them? The atheist/humanist/none/freethinking community is as diverse as humanity. Since we only have this life, why not support a diversity of ways that humanists attempt to make the world a better place? I wish Mr. DeWitt the best in his work. The nonbelievers of the Bible Belt need to know they are not alone and that there is a viable option for living apart from the religious establishment that controls the politics and work places in much of the United States.

    • Thank you for saying so! Now please help get the word out — we have a long road ahead for this Kickstarter campaign (not to mention the film) to succeed! Please join us on Facebook and share the Kickstarter with whomever you can! Thanks again –
      jason

      In reply to #9 by TMR:

      This is a worthy project! When you are raised in a religious cult, groomed, “formed,” and basically brainwashed to be a preacher of that religion’s lies, it is very difficult to leave one’s job as a church leader. Those of you you have attacked Mr. DeWitt for being a hypocrite in your comments hav…

    • In reply to #9 by TMR:
      “Many of us had no choice in the matter. We were spoon fed religious lies from our birth and controlled by religious fear and guilt into our teens and adulthood.”

      It’s called “intellectual pedophilia”

      • In reply to #19 by Econolicious:

        In reply to #9 by TMR:
        “Many of us had no choice in the matter. We were spoon fed religious lies from our birth and controlled by religious fear and guilt into our teens and adulthood.”

        It’s called “intellectual pedophilia”

        I think better would be “spiritual pedophilia”…

  4. Looks like this could be a very enlightening documentary. I just donated $25 to also get the free digital download off amazon when it is completed.
    I hope you find a way to get this broadcast on national tv so that it is not just us atheists who watch it. This type of program needs to be seen by the religious most of all. Maybe you can send it to every states public access tv station to have it broadcast nationally. This will surely raise the general publics consciousness about atheists and help to win the hearts and minds of those who only hear bad things about us from their religious leaders.

    Many respects to all involved and good luck.

  5. Making a living as an Atheist preacher is as corrupt as making a living as a Pentecostal pastor. I’m not here to convert the faithful, that will happen organically. I can not see anything but irrelevance in his story. What’s the big deal..? Is this guy a hero because he was ignorant and now he’s somewhat rational…? Everyone knows I’m an atheist and no one discriminates against me, (why…?), because I don’t give a crap. I don’t want to be with anyone that doesn’t want to be with me and if all these fine Christian evangelicals are going to “Heaven” for eternity, I don’t want to be anywhere near that place…. No deal baby, you’re not getting one red cent from me….

    • In reply to #18 by Econolicious: Ever lose your job for being atheist?

      Making a living as an Atheist preacher is as corrupt as making a living as a Pentecostal pastor. I’m not here to convert the faithful, that will happen organically. I can not see anything but irrelevance in his story. What’s the big deal..? Is this guy a hero because he was ignorant and now he’s…

  6. Thanks for your thoughts…but I think the story is important because of the discrimination Jerry faced. Here is someone prominent in his community, who agonized and struggled for years with his belief, who owned up to them and will not let his community—which has ostracized him to a great extent—him away. You may not need that sort of inspiration or modeling, but many who are too afraid to come out, may derive strength from his story.

    In reply to #18 by Econolicious:

    Making a living as an Atheist preacher is as corrupt as making a living as a Pentecostal pastor. I’m not here to convert the faithful, that will happen organically. I can not see anything but irrelevance in his story. What’s the big deal..? Is this guy a hero because he was ignorant and now he’s…

  7. We must recognize that organized religion can kick butts in many areas…For example, when comes the time to finance stuff like that, if we’d turn the table: the filmmakers would probably have raised over half a million dollar by now (if not more) and would have had coverage in National TV…. We still have a long way to go…

  8. Have you thought about writing to the Todd Stiefel foundation for help.. He is an atheist millionaire who is doing all he can to help spread secular humanist and atheist ideas to create a better society.
    http://www.stiefelfreethoughtfoundation.org/about.html.

    If I was a multi millionaire I would give you all the funding you need and publicity with just the interest on my savings. I would also start my own tv station and broadcast this and the thousands of other atheist videos on YouTube 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.
    This needs to be shown to believers so they can see just how bigoted and divisive their beliefs are.
    If we are going to change anything we need to have at least one national tv media outlet.
    YouTube has over a billion channels, whereas tv has about 200 and is watched by millions of religious people who sit on their sofas flicking through the channels. The potential to raise the consciousness of the general public is huge.

    • Thank you Paul! We are making progress, but now raising the second half of the funds to make sure the campaign succeds is the hard part!

      In reply to #31 by Paul M:

      Great trailer – have pledged $50.

  9. The response ended up being on account of his / her hypocrisy a lot more that his / her atheism. Folks are harshest as soon as other folks devote your sins they may be disappearing independently. Within a religious beliefs anyone needs to make-believe to be able to his / her nearby neighbours these people carry your absurdity critically and possess absolutely no questions. Devoid of the blanket of false opinion, a lot more individuals would reject non secular silliness.


    Bridal Saree

  10. I wouldn’t give to this. He lost his house and so have many others. His wife left him so he can get another wife – no biblical restrictions now for sure. haha Many others have lost jobs and why not get another one instead of asking for people to donate to make you a movie star of your own pity party. Discrimination is on both sides – look at Ball State University where a professor can’t teach a class unless Jerry Coyne approves? Maybe Dewitt can get Prof. Hedin’s job as he may be fired for not being an atheist.

  11. I think that a lot of the people who think his story is not worth telling are not fully understanding his circumstances. I come from Colombia, a country that, in my point of view, is 90% catholic, and by that I mean full blown catholics that believe in the rapture. I went to a catholic school where I had to go to church every week with my class etc. Mostly every one I know in my life are catholics, who don’t believe in gay rights, or abortion, or even taking birth control. That being said, it was incredibly difficult for me to face my parents and tell them I’m an atheist. They blame one of my friends for corrupting me, even though she had nothing to do with it, and it was mostly the internet that enlightened me. Nevertheless, every so often I have to face my mom saying things like: “if you’re not going to worry about your soul then I have to,” she ‘s still waiting for my husband and I to get married through the church, and whenever I do have a baby, he/she will most likely be baptized, not because I want to, but because I fear that my actions will have social repercussions in not just my life, but those of my parents, and my extended family as well. It’s easy to THINK that you can treat this off-handedly and just ignore everyone who is important in your life, and it’s another thing entirely to actually go through with it. It’s easy when mostly everyone you know believes in other things, or is an atheist as well, but not so easy when you’re alone in a sea of catholic believers. This is why this film is important.

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