One of the many grinding controversies that have pitted people of faith against atheists over religious symbols on government property took a new twist when Christians united to help the very atheist with whom they had been fighting.
Christian Charity for an Atheist
Patrick Greene, the atheist in question, has pronounced himself "flabbergasted" when local Christians in Henderson, Texas, raised money to help with his living expenses as he struggled against a detached retina that threatens to take his sight, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph. Greene's interactions with Christians have been less than pleasant, according to him.
The Henderson Nativity Scene Controversy
Greene gained some notoriety when he became involved in a controversy in February when he threatened a lawsuit to remove a nativity scene that was displayed at the county court house in Henderson, according to Malakoff News. The controversy had started in December when a Wisconsin based organization called the Freedom from Religion Foundation urged that the nativity scene in question be removed. Then the FFRF shifted its efforts to trying to get an atheist banner displayed next to the nativity scene. Greene is not a member of the FFRF and has been acting separately
Greene's Sight is threatened
Things took a turn when Greene was diagnosed with a detached retina which threatens to take his sight. Retina detachment can be caused by a variety of causes, including aging, eye injury, and the side effects of diabetes, according to WebMd. Surgery, either using a laser or a cold probe, can generally fix the condition and restore the sight that is threatened.
Greene has since dropped the case to concentrate on dealing with his medical issues. He has stated how astonished and pleased he is to meet Christians who are behaving as they are supposed to behave. He has actually pronounced himself so moved that he has donated a star to the nativity scene that he had been struggling to have removed.
As for his surgery, since Greene is an eight year veteran of the United States Air Force, there is the possibility of the VA handling his medical expenses. In the meantime, a website has been set up for those moved to donate to his expenses.
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.