A Louisiana atheist is imploring his Christian neighbors to help identify and “publicly condemn” an anonymous individual who wrote him two threatening letters threatening to take unspecified actions to”protect” his children from Jerry DeWitt’s “devil-enabling ways.”
DeWitt, who attends a monthly secular meeting in Lake Charles, Louisiana, reported the messages to police and moved other members of his family elsewhere for their safety. He told Patheos that he wants to be clear that this appears to be the handywork of one or two deluded and insane individuals, rather than a representation of the theistic community as a whole.
DeWitt posted the letters, which are filled to bursting with misspellings, to Facebook.
“We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. You’re little group of devil worshippers isn’t welcome here. Let the love and message of the Lord filter through you and may you escape from the eternal damnation that you have condemned you and you’re innocent children to,” the first letter reads.
“Repent you’re Satanistic ways or you will find that the Lord works in VERY mysterious ways. You are against God and are not welcome in this area and we WILL spread his message to the hearts and minds of your innocent children. To deny His word to your children is abuse, and if you do not learn to love Him and His word then we will have no choice but to take action to protect your children from your devil-enabling ways,” the missive continues. “Do not even try to report this to the police — we are every where and His work will be done in His name thru us, the true beleivers.”
When DeWitt did not allow the first to scare him, apparently, the sender added an additional love letter, which read, “You could not keep away from it, could you? You and your group are infecting this area and driving THE ONE TRUE GOD out. We have warned you before. We are warning you again. We will stop you any way we have too. He has misterious ways. Keep you’re family close.”
DeWitt posted an open letter on Facebook, begging those who are threatening his family to contact him to engage in rational discussion:
An open letter.
To whoever is leaving us these hateful notes in our mailbox, I implore you to contact me directly and allow us to have a reasoned discussion over what has happened up to this point. If the group that I am part of is offending you and your beliefs, then let’s talk about why that is, and how we can move beyond it.
Despite the obvious threats that you have made against me and my family, I have done nothing but encourage people to try to co-exist with the local communities. It hasn’t been easy because my family is my world and they have been threatened, but I also understand that your beliefs are your world to you and you feel that those are just as threatened by us in some way.
I want to understand why you are threatening us like this, and why you didn’t just message me directly in an interactive fashion – that’s perhaps the most frustrating part of all of this. There is no need to terrorize us and make us feel unsafe and unwelcome in our own home, not to mention in our own community. Why do you feel the need to follow that path? Threats won’t make us change our beliefs, nor would we wish to try and change yours, but through reasoned discussion I hope that we stand a chance of understanding one another better and co-existing on common ground that we can discover together.
I don’t want for anyone to get hurt, lose their job, or even worse over all of this if we can work this all out as reasonably and amicably as possible. Let’s set a positive example and use this as an opportunity to bridge a gap in understanding on both sides of this issue. Despite all of the stress, concern, and paranoia that you have generated, I want us to be able to produce something good from it all. We may not be able to agree on a lot of things, but I hope that we can cement home that instigating fear is not the best way forward for anyone and that everyone benefits from reasoned discussion.
Yours in anticipation,
He also asked local “believers” to help him find this person.
Calling on all SWLA believers!
As you may know, a very lovely and loving family in our group has received two anonymous letters threatening their well-being and the safety of their children just for being a part of our congregation.
You may not agree with our lack of belief in the supernatural but I’m hopeful that you do believe in our right to assemble peacefully and to proclaim a message of community, tolerance and love without fear of physical harm.
So I’m asking each of you to take the following four actions:
1. Publicly condemn this kind of behavior.
2. Extend a hand of friendship and encouragement to the Jeffels family.
3. Help us identify the author(s) of these letters so that they can be helped.
4. Share this message with everyone that you know.
Community Mission Chapel believes in unity, acceptance and in “loving our neighbors as ourselves”. We also believe that these letters do not reflect the good nature of our neighbors and fellow SWLA residents!
Will you stand with us against this form of terrorism?
This is an opportunity for all of us to join together and do something truly special for our area. It’s an opportunity to show the world that ‘Love Leads in Louisiana’….and to show the Jeffels that they are safe and loved by our community.
Unfortunately, this is the sort of extremist, Bible-thumping bullsh*t that has infected the Christian world as of late. It’s time for REAL Christians to stand up to people like this, and anyone else who believes that religion is anything but a private, personal belief — because any other attitude leads to what can only be described as terrorism.