When Patrick Greene learned that a county five hours north of his San Antonio home had placed a nativity on the courthouse square, he vowed to file suit if they did it again, the Malakoff News reported. An atheist, Greene did not believe the religious symbol of Christmas had any place on government property.
Then, as quickly as he blew into Henderson County, he withdrew. He would not lead a rally, he told reporters there, because he believed he suffered from a detached retina and was going blind. He had to leave his job as a taxi driver, he elaborated, and he did not have health insurance, according to the Malakoff News.
Greene thought his short foray into Henderson County ended there, but a group of Christians organized to offer him money, the Malakoff News reported.
Jessica Crye of Athens, TX, a member of San Springs Baptist Church, organized the fundraiser. She said that while others in her community were relieved to hear about Greene’s eye condition, she saw the situation differently.
“Why not turn this into something else? This is a great opportunity to turn the other cheek and show God's love,” she told TylerPaper.com.
Erick Graham, her pastor, said they didn’t have time to think or pray about the decision.
“We don't discriminate on who we help, whether they are Christians or non-Christians, church members or not,” Graham told TylerPaper.com. “We just help those with a need.”
Several Henderson County Christians offered to pay for Greene’s eye surgery, but he refused. The surgery wasn’t guaranteed and he said he didn’t want to waste their money.
They asked how they could help and Greene, who was in the Air Force for eight years, admitted that he needed money for groceries until he sorted out his social security.
When a check arrived for $400, he was surprised and touched.
“They said they wanted to do what real Christians are supposed to do – love you – and they wanted to help,” Greene told TylerPaper.com.
Greene asked a friend to spread the word on how he spent the money:
“Our cat now has enough food until our social security checks arrive,” Greene wrote by e-mail. His cat is named Big Boy. “We also have enough food until then. We did not spend any of it on beer or liquor, because not any of the three of us drink any kind of liquor. We did not spend any of it on sports, because all three of us hate sports. Me, my wife and our cat. Our cat is very much into bird watching.”
Recently, Greene has discovered that he also has glaucoma. He set up a blog to solicit help, which he said pains him to do. Some of those donations come from atheists, some from Christians.
In an interesting twist, a property manager has suggested he move to Henderson County, where the rent is cheaper and where he and his wife would be within walking distance of Wal-Mart, a good thing because they don't have a car.
Given the people he's met from there, it doesn't sound like such a bad idea. He, his wife and Big Boy are packing their bags.