Kindness taken advantage of

Published 12:01 am Friday, January 11, 2008

A few things in life shouldn’t be messed with.

You shouldn’t steal from non-profit agencies like Habitat for Humanity, and it’s just not right to use God’s name to con well-meaning citizens.

Yet both wrongs occurred in Natchez this week.

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Walking pastor James Bowman got his foot in the door at the Adams Baptist Union over the weekend — staying at their building and eating meals provided by the group.

Sunday morning he spoke at First Baptist Church. And Sunday evening, his charade was discovered.

A minister in a nearby town heard Bowman was pulling stunts in Natchez and notified local ministers. When the subject was broached with Bowman, he promptly disappeared.

Bowman has reportedly made a life of walking from town to town, claiming that God saved him from an intentional heroin overdose and told him to walk the country preaching the word.

He’s pulled it off in no telling how many other towns, and the people of Natchez shouldn’t feel ashamed for believing his stories.

Natchez merely did what Natchez does best — it helped.

When Bowman said he needed a place to sleep, he got one.

When he needed meals, he was fed.

Several churches in town were prepared to open their doors and hearts to Bowman, making him feel welcome and loved.

The kindness of this community — much like the kindness of the Habitat for Humanity volunteers — was taken advantage of.

But, the walking con kept walking, and Natchez will remain, a welcome stop for passers through.