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Jeremiah's Journey: from church janitor to a symbol of tolerance

Posted at 4:50 PM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 08:15:47-04

CATONSVILLE, Md. — From being a janitor at his dad's church to becoming a symbol of tolerance and compassion.

RELATED: From church janitor to American Idol contestant

Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon doesn't need to win American Idol, this Catonsville man has won the love of his family and strangers from coast to coast, including his biggest fan, his dad.

“The ride has been amazing, scary,” said Jeremiah.

And there was the news that he broke to the nation – that a pastor's kid was gay.

“We have talked about it together, we prayed about it together, and we cried about this together," said Jeremiah's father Pastor Jerry. "My reaction is as a father who has taught him the bible since he was little; it was hard to accept it."

On Thursday, his dad sat on a couch to make sure we all know this.

“I don't mind saying, 'look we struggled,'" said Pastor Jerry. "I have a problem with people saying that we rejected Jeremiah; that's an outright lie.”

After Jeremiah's first appearance, Pastor Jerry delivered a sermon on Sunday.

“You got to bring compassion and love and reaching out," said Pastor Jerry.

If you think people walked away from the church, it's the opposite. The pastor is now more open, more welcoming, more willing to love.

“It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, what your background is, the doors of this church are open to everybody,” said Pastor Jerry.

For Jeremiah, hearing his dad's words is better than hearing Lionel Richie say, "You're going to Hollywood.”

“I want everybody to know that I will never turn my back on my son, ever," said Pastor Jerry.

Sure, it's a singing contest, but Jeremiah's voice is helping thousands who are going through the same moment in their life.

“It's been overwhelming for me to see how many people not only relate to my story but just cheering me on," said Jeremiah, "Don't be afraid to tell your story. What you've experienced is valid, and it's your responsibility to tell your story and no one else's responsibility."

Jeremiah has recently received a quilt from Momma Bears, 'Mothers of Gay Children.' The quilt has 1,600 signatures from mothers wishing him great luck.

You can continue to watch Jeremiah's journey Sunday, March 31 at 8 p.m. And you could go to church with Pastor Jerry.