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Greg Ellis: Inside the Billion-Dollar Industry Pushing Family Breakdown

Family breakdown is the single greatest threat to American society, argues Greg Ellis in his new book, “The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law.”

Ellis says that every day, 4,000 children are separated from one of their parents in the family court system, which is biased against men and does not afford them due process in the face of hearsay allegations.

Ellis is an Emmy Award-nominated actor and voice actor.

Jan Jekielek: Greg Ellis, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Greg Ellis: Thank you for having me Jan. It’s great to be here.

Mr. Jekielek: Greg, I just finished reading your book, The Respondent, with you, of course, as the respondent, the key character. It’s an incredibly profound piece of work, I have to say. It caused me to think a lot about the relationships I have with all sorts of different people in my life. Yours was a profound journey discussed in the book— a journey not just of yourself, but also of discovering some of the fascinating and disturbing systems we have in America. Tell me, what did you find?

Mr. Ellis: Before I entered the American justice system, I believed in justice and the legal system, and I learned very quickly. When I first walked into court for my first court appearance, I had a clean criminal record, had never been in trouble with the police, hadn’t been arrested, and still haven’t been arrested. We can talk about that. I believed in the system.

I remember sitting in court and looking up at the crest of Sacramento in California, and thinking, “At last, at last, there’s going to be a judge. There’s going to be someone who will be reasonable and make sense of the insensible, and see that this is nonsense and ridiculous—these falsehoods, these litany of lies presented in court— it’s transparent.”

And I quickly learned, to my shock and horror, that I had left America, and entered the star chamber of family law, where there is no presumption of innocence, and where the legal system or the cartel of family law is not answerable to the Supreme Court. Many times, men and fathers, sometimes mothers and women, but more often than not, men and fathers are found guilty until proven more guilty.

Mr. Jekielek: So you say, it’s guilty until proven innocent in family law court. It’s probably very difficult for many to believe that could possibly be the case in a U.S. court. How does that work?

Mr. Ellis: I’m not a legal scholar, but I have the experience of going through the family law system. Family law is not neutral. It doesn’t afford due process. Someone can make an allegation against you, and you don’t have Miranda rights. You don’t have access to an attorney. Your human rights are trampled on. Law enforcement can enter your home, and they can remove you from your home.

Many of the constitutional rights that we think are in place, are not in place. Hearsay evidence, which would not be admissible in criminal court, is not only admissible in family law court, but many times it’s the basis and the grounds for the allegation and accusation to be taken seriously. What you have is, law enforcement comes out to “disturbance,” and they don’t have the discretion anymore.

They used to have discretion, but it’s now mandated that someone, one of the parties, the targeted party, usually a man or a father, is removed from the home and can’t be arrested because no crime is being committed, many times. Sometimes, there’s clear evidence of a crime, obviously. That’s not to say that this is always the case, but jurisprudence in Western civilization was introduced for a reason. So that the burden of proof would be on the accuser, not the accused.

Unless we have that in family law like we have for criminals, terrorists, murderers, and pedophiles, we see a system that is propagating guilt until proven innocent, or more guilty. I can’t prove that I have not committed a crime, you have to prove that I committed the crime. “You’re a thief. You stole that woman’s ring. Prove that you didn’t.” How can you prove that you didn’t? It’s very difficult.

We can’t have a legal system that behaves that way, and yet we do in 2021. If you would have told me my story six years ago, I would have found it preposterous and hard to believe. But it could happen to me and it has. It’s happened to many others like Johnny Depp, who kindly wrote the foreword for my book. Alec Baldwin wrote the introductions in my book, and also wrote the foreword for my book. Brad Pitt has been going through this recently, as well as Jeremy Renner.

There are hundreds of thousands of parents, fathers, mothers, and by de facto, their children, if they have children, that have entered the star chamber and experienced the same. So this in effect, completely uppends jurisprudence.

Mr. Jekielek: It sounds like it would be unconstitutional, although I am not a constitutional scholar.

Mr. Ellis: Speak to constitutional scholars and they will tell you, it is unconstitutional. What’s going on is not constitutional. I spoke with Steven Baskerville recently, a constitutional scholar and social policy expert. He’s been talking about this for decades. I have come across many people and many experts way more proficient than I, who have been talking about this with organizations and movements for many, many decades. It’s not constitutional. And that’s the crux here.

I’ll give you an example. There’s the executive director of my new charity, CPU, [Children and Parents United] Mike McCormick. He’s been working in this particular area for decades now. It was 20-something years ago that he was in court falsely accused of domestic violence.

He held his wrists up to the judge and he said, “Your Honor, arrest me.” And the judge said, “What are you, crazy?” He said, “No, Your Honor. Instruct the bailiff to arrest me.” And the judge said, “What are you talking about? Why?” He said, “Because violence, particularly domestic violence is a serious offense. It needs to be treated as such. It’s a criminal offense, so arrest me.” What he was saying was, and the irony of what he was saying was, “Arrest me because I’ll get more rights as a criminal than I will as a father, or a parent, or a husband.”

And that’s the tragedy. That’s what we’re living with right now. Many legal scholars know it. So many know it. They don’t talk about it, because they’ll lose their livelihoods, and because it’s too risky. There are people in positions of power who want to protect the $60-billion-a-year industry, the American divorce machine.They’re afraid to speak out, because there’s too much money. It’s incentivized to break down the family, and that’s wrong. We shouldn’t be incentivizing the legal system to break down the family. We should be encouraging family unity and our familial bonds.

Mr. Jekielek: Again, the book is titled, The Respondent. There’s something powerful in initiating a divorce process in this system that you describe, becoming the petitioner as opposed to being the respondent. When I was reading it, I started to wonder, is there some kind of perverse incentive for this system to invite people to become petitioners, so to speak, in such proceedings?

Mr. Ellis: Yes, I think there is. It’s being used as a strategy or a playbook, if you will, being written. The state bar associations run themselves. They write the family law code book. 15 or 20 years ago, it used to be a quarter-of-a-inch thick. If you look at it now, it’s six or seven inches thick. It is this tangled mess of legal codes that really is used to incentivize acrimony.

Attorneys are trained to make arguments, I get it. But when two people fall into disillusionment within a relationship, I think we have to continually strive to improve the system. The system of family law has been the same since the 1960s. No-fault divorce laws were introduced in California first, and then it spread like wildfire. The good intentions of that were over the years lost and have been usurped, and now we have a system that judges guilty until more guilty, rarely guilty to proven innocent.

Now we have law enforcement who are called and have a very difficult job. They are called on these domestic violence allegations to a home, and then charged with working through what in effect is just a hearsay allegation, and they have to make a determination. It used to be that they had discretion. Now, there is no discretion. It’s mandatory for them to remove one person from the home. The moment that happens, it sets off what I refer to in the book as the “six silver bullets of high conflict divorce,” and the “magic ballistics of family law,” or family war even.

Bullet one is the incarcerating incident. That’s usually a hearsay allegation called in. At that moment, the respondent is targeted. Silver bullet two is the order of restraint. They are easy to get these days, so easy to get. They hand them out like hot dinners. So that hearsay allegation is many times a false allegation. In fact in the majority of domestic violence, abuse allegations are false.

But they’re so successful, because if you couple that with family law, and an attorney, and a filing by a petitioner to insert the petitioner and the respondent, the partner, into the system—there is no way out. There is no trapdoor from the divorce trap once the respondent is in. And particularly, if the petitioner is a mother and has a war chest of more money, the attorneys look at the estate. “How much money do we have here? How long can we keep this acrimony going, churning the billable hours to keep the acrimony going?”

Mr. Jekielek: I want to look at it from the other side for a moment. You say that no-fault divorce created this monster of a system. Presumably, this was created to protect children, to protect mothers, to protect wives, and protect everybody in theory. Are you saying that the system just doesn’t work for anybody, or that it doesn’t work for select people?

Mr. Ellis: It’s working out for a lot of people with bad intentions. When it happened to me in 2015, I started looking for books and information on this subject, so that I could educate and then at least convince myself that I wasn’t going insane, because my whole world had turned upside down in an instant. What I found is that there is very little information out there and what information there is were all books written by women for women on how to ruin your husband, how to get rid of your spouse, how to win the house, and how to get custody of the kids.

There were books talking about the silver bullet. A silver bullet is defined as a simple, seemingly, magical solution to a difficult problem, in this case, marriage disillusionment. I was astonished that there was a whole industry behind the divorce industry profiting from this.

They were profiting from promulgating the breakdown of the family, the evisceration of man, manhood, fathers, and masculinity in general, and laying the blame for all of society’s ills at the feet of the male. We may be a little flawed as men, but I don’t think we’re 100 percent responsible for all the world’s ills, even if it is in certain people. But I don’t believe that. I didn’t believe that.

So I started to look deeper into it and try to understand where this was coming from. And part of the reason why I wrote The Respondent was to actually provide some hope—that similar people going through what I went through or will go through will realize they’re not alone. They’re not going insane. In their existential angst and terror, in their fear, and in the worry that they will lose everything, at least they will feel less alone.

I can’t guarantee they won’t lose everything, because the system is primed for that. That’s what the system does, when you have a system of justice where the burden of proof is on the accused. The attorney that represented my ex-wife one day showed up in court and accused me, in front of the judge, of burglarizing her home, of breaking and entering and that she had to get security. I sat there in disbelief and voiceless because you can’t speak, listening to this wild, baseless accusation.

Mr. Jekielek: In this case, there were never any charges filed for this burglary?

Mr. Ellis: No. I doubt there was a burglary. And if there was, then shouldn’t there be a police report filed? Wouldn’t the Beverly Hills police have called me, interrogated me, and a detective contacted me? I would have been just as incredulous then as I am now, with nothing to hide. But no, that didn’t happen, because it didn’t happen.

Mr. Jekielek: You provide some very interesting evidence of this as a big business operation. How does that work?

Mr. Ellis: If you look at the petitioner, or let’s say for example, an individual wants to file for divorce. It’s almost like the art of war. It’s the surprise, stealth attack while engaging in reflective diplomacy on the surface. Sign with an attorney, and the attorney will serve papers, and then declarations are written, usually, about the worst aspects of each partner.

But because the petitioner gets to strike, and always gets to speak first in court, they are leading the charge. They’ll present their evidence. There isn’t due process. The most wild, ridiculous accusations are often made. And if you couple it with celebrity, then the press gets hold of it and fiction becomes fact, or at least there’s a gray area about what is fact or fiction, and it gets sensationalized.

Then two people find themselves in court with two attorneys speaking on their behalf about their entire estate, their family, and their children. Then you have these cottage industry of “guardians ad litems,” of mediators, of child psychologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are all earning and churning from the system. What happens in family law is that two parents enter a courtroom and one leaves as a parent, and the other leaves as a visitor. We shouldn’t be sacrificing our children’s upbringing at the altar of attorney’s billable hours. It’s wrong. It’s just wrong.

Mr. Jekielek: One of the things that I found in here, which kind of blew my mind, was that you said that there are 4,000 children being pulled from their parents in American courtrooms every single day. That seems like an astounding number.

Mr. Ellis: It’s astonishing, isn’t it, when you actually sit and think about that number? 4,000 children a day lose a parent for the eight hours that the family law courtroom is open. And what happens to those children? They are denied their basic human rights. Now many of them or some of them, people might argue, need to be removed from parents who aren’t behaving responsibly. But a great deal of them are being removed from their families, their parents, their loved ones, their siblings, and their extended families, unnecessarily.

Mr. Jekielek: This is one of the things that you describe in the book as the ultimate cancellation, if I recall the term. Basically, you represent a whole number of men that have been deprived of spending time with their children. Then there’s a societal cause to that. You have explored that quite a bit in the book, the importance of a father role.

Mr. Ellis: Yes. We have a fatherless crisis in Western civilization, and particularly in America. Children who are dad-deprived, particularly boys in our younger generation and young men, I think it’s safe to say that—I talked with Caitlin Flanagan recently, and she said—it takes a mother to raise a boy, it takes a father to raise a man. We need to start honoring the patriarch as much as we do the matriarch. A balanced home life for children is a good thing.

Of course, there are times when two parents can’t always be present, two biological parents. There are many reasons for that. But if there are two biological parents who are good, and loving, and have always been present, we shouldn’t have the state and a legal branch come in and basically, “dadnap.” That’s what happens a lot.

Fathers are removed from homes. Not having committed a crime, with clean criminal records, a good man, and the system just whisks them away. Before they know it, they are either incarcerated or they have child support payments they can’t pay. That’s not to say that there aren’t men out there that obfuscate their responsibilities. I know there are some of those. But there are so many that don’t and find themselves in the child support trap.

The state charges them a certain amount of money, and they have to pay child support. They don’t pay, and they go to prison. There are interest payments, and then $3,000 becomes $30,000. They lose a job. They can’t keep a job because they’re in prison. It’s just a spiral down. So many men give up, are hopeless, and then tragically end their lives. I’ve read too many suicide notes from good men—fathers who were present in their children’s lives, who were summarily removed for no other reason than an accusation or allegation was made against them.

Mr. Jekielek: In the book you mentioned the statistic that eight times more divorced men commit suicide than divorced women. Could this be true?

Mr. Ellis: Yes. In fact, another statistic as well is that every day in America, 10 divorced men take their own lives. And that’s not accounting for the men and fathers who are trapped in the system, and the mothers as well. Because I want to make it clear, this happens to mothers and women too. It’s more rare, but it does happen.

I spoke with a mother recently who was a nurse with two kids. False allegations were made against her, the children were removed and put into care. She lost her job as a nurse, was thrown in prison, and had a heart attack. She had no recourse because the system doesn’t provide the same rights, family law does not provide the same rights that criminals get. Think about that. Terrorists, rapists, murderers, and pedophiles get more rights than parents. How is this right?

Mr. Jekielek: You alluded to this earlier, and you talked about it in The Respondent. You make a connection between how this system of family law has developed, and what you described and others have described as a war on masculinity. Tell me about that.

Mr. Ellis: Yes. It was through the odyssey of what happened to me, then entering the court system, learning about family law, and then learning about the institutions of the legal system, many of which are now psychologically conditioned to think that men and masculinity are bad and toxic. And then there is the public messaging and the signaling through our mainstream media and social or antisocial media, as I sometimes call it, of toxic masculinity, smash the patriarchy, and all men are bad.

Warren Farrell has mentioned this before—we need a #MeToo dialogue, not a #MeToo monologue. While some of the bad men were swept up in a way, and rightfully served by the #MeToo movement, there were some good men who were swept up in that maelstrom, not femalestrom. We have to start having that conversation, looking at the statistics, and really strive to understand why this situation of demonizing men has been furthered. What’s the agenda behind it? Who’s behind it? Why are they behind it? Through my journey, there’s been a few telling moments.

I talked with Erin Pizzey, she started the world’s first domestic violence abuse shelter 52 years ago. She informed me about a meeting of the feminist movement, I think it was back in 1969, where there was a split in the feminist movement. So the more factual equality feminists, the true equality feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers, Camille Paglia, and others won the argument, but lost the professorships in the academy to the more toxic, radical third and fourth wave feminists, who wanted to change the messaging. They didn’t believe that women should be stay-at-home moms and homemakers, giving birth, and starting families.

They wanted to institute two words into the branding of the feminist movement, and those were toxic masculinity. That was decades ago and here we are through the great awokening of the 2010s, the age of unreason, dealing with the very idea of men being bad. Every man, bad. Every man under suspicion.

I didn’t see many people talking about it and I don’t see many people talking about it. I understand why. Because immediately one can be perceived as misogynistic or that’s the quick go-to target message. You’re a misogynist. You’re a woman-hater. I’m like, “No, I’m not.” I believe in feminism, equality feminism. I love women, but I just don’t think demonizing masculinity is the solution. I think that’s the problem. If we’re championing fatherhood, that doesn’t mean we have to devalue motherhood. Can’t we have both again, please—what all children want?

Mr. Jekielek: You told me that U.S. is the number one country for single parent families.

Mr. Ellis: It’s the world leader. Yes, the U.S. is the world leader for children living in single parent families.

Mr. Jekielek: Yes. From multiple guests that have been on this show, I’m acutely aware of the fact that a father being present in a family is a huge indicator of success in life.

Mr. Ellis: That’s right. Children who grow up without a father are behind in every measurable metric. They’re more likely to drop out of school, take drugs, not graduate high school, have teen pregnancy, have addictions to online porn, and video games. It’s from a lack of balanced parenting, fathering and mothering. You can’t substitute the biological father and the biological mother. You can have surrogates. You can have foster parents. You can have great people who are stepping in as major caregivers, and as foster parents. It’s wonderful.

But we’re actually taking children with state-sanctioned kidnapping—really, that’s what it is. There’s no other way to say it. I know it sounds like some kind of hyperbole, but that’s what’s going on here. Then of course that leads to the question of what’s happening to those 4,000 children who lose a parent every day the family courts are open. Where do they end up? Some of them, I’m sure, are in good homes, but not their family of origin. Many more end up in even worse places.

Mr. Jekielek: There’s a moment in the book where you reflect on that after five years, you’ve been left in a position where you have to truly say goodbye to your children. It’s a crushing moment in the book, frankly.

Mr. Ellis: The unrelenting inescapability of the family law system is that the system doesn’t provide relief for parents, particularly fathers, and especially children. I never wanted my sons to ever be in a courtroom or enter a courthouse. A couple of days before March 5, 2015, my eldest boy Charlie was 10 years old. On the top bunk as I hugged him good night after reading him a bedtime story he said, “Dad, so-and-so at school’s parents just got divorced. You’ll never get divorced, will you?” I said, “No. I promise you son.” It was the furthest thing for my mind.

Yet then, he’s being dragged into court with my youngest son. And after five years of that living grief, the ambivalent grief—there is a finality when somebody dies you can go through a grieving process, as difficult as it is. You can move on and hopefully time will heal somewhat.

When your children are still alive and you’re removed from seeing them by a legal artifice, it’s almost indescribable—that living grief, that pain, that pull, and particularly, and this is the achilles heel, particularly if you were a present father, and you did and do love your children, and they were the meaning of your life, and are the meaning of your life.

A father was stolen from their childhood, and their childhood was stolen from me. So I had to have finality. In the book I talked about fatherhood and funerals. I had a ritual funeral where I had to lay their childhoods to rest so that I could have some finality. Psychologically, it was a way to try and end the living grief of being separated from them, and them from me.

Mr. Jekielek: It’s interesting. You do say that you went through this process, but you’re also encouraging other men in a similar situation to fight on.

Mr. Ellis: Yeah. When I say fight on, I’m talking about life. This is a life and death struggle for many parents, and many men, and many fathers. Like I said earlier on, I’ve read too many suicide notes from good men—loving, present fathers who were really committed and engaged with their children, before the family law cartel stepped in and wanted a pound of flesh.

So in that sense, yes, I want men and fathers to know that they’re not alone. They should fight on. The ways of existential terror and existential angst that hit, the unbearable, sometimes never ending bouts of depression, pain, and suffering—you can ride those waves. You can get through them. I want the message in my book to be a message of hope.

In terms of the system, there is little justice in the system. We need to keep parents out of court. We need to keep families out of family law. That’s until we can improve this system and reform it. So when I talk about fight on, it has to do with life, and how to stay alive, and move from a traumatized place. Because every parent who went to family law in America has PTSD. You’re going to get it.

You went to family law, particularly the admin in the courtroom, before being in trouble with the law before. It’s just part and parcel of the system, and the ugliness of it. You get the worst parts of humanity revealing itself in this kind of purgatory, this funerial atmosphere, if you will. It’s kind of clouded into the courthouses.

But in terms of people fighting on through family law, my message would be, “Don’t. Get out.” How do you get out? There’s some answers in the book. And there’s also some remedies in terms of improvements to the system. Obviously, an introduction of the presumption of innocence is vital.

I don’t know if that’ll happen in my lifetime, but it could if people in positions of power would actually have integrity, and if experts and institutions would actually talk about what they knew to be the truth in public, rather than protecting their livelihoods and their nice shiny cars and wonderful houses, and their great lives of luxury.

I think equal shared parenting is something. It’s beginning to be introduced in certain states. When there is marriage disillusionment and two people decide that they no longer wish to stay married, the default play should be 50-50 shared parenting time. It’s not.

So introducing these equal shared parenting bills into the different state legislatures, there have been wonderful people trying this for many years. Molly Olson who started the Center for Parental Responsibility 21 years ago, has been tenaciously fighting, as well as others like Dr. William Fabricius. Kentucky is the only state up until recently, Arkansas become the second state, but Kentucky was the only state to introduce an equal shared parenting bill, and sign it into their law.

I looked into that and discovered why Kentucky had actually passed that. The main reason for that was because it’s illegal in Kentucky for a family law firm or an attorney to lobby a state legislation. Again, we go back to the money. If the money is kept out of politics, the politicians can make a decision that’s in the best interest of families, parents, and children—and not keep the money machine, the American divorce machine happy. So Kentucky passed that equal shared parenting bill. We’ve seen another one recently in Arkansas, and hopefully others will follow.

Mr. Jekielek: What is the default now, in most places?

Mr. Ellis: There isn’t a default. There isn’t. There simply isn’t a default. So without that there is, for example, what happened with Brad Pitt recently. We saw him fighting and fighting, and fighting to get to a position of 50-50. It’s taken him months. He and Angie have a retired judge who’s overseeing their case, so they’re not in a courtroom. They have a retired family law court judge and he found the custodial time should be 50-50.

He shouldn’t have had to fight for that. But why did he have to fight for it? Because he was the respondent. Because allegations were made against him, which I believe was spurious, Then he had to atone. He had to do these public apologies, say the right thing, do the right thing, come back from the wastelands of being the bad man, and prove that he’s a worthy parent. My son used to play with his kids every Sunday in the park. He’s a great dad. But he’s a dad.

Mr. Jekielek: So Greg, you’re continuing to work on this broader issue nonetheless, through a nonprofit that you started, Children and Parents United. So what is this work doing? Presumably, people can come to your nonprofit to look for help. Tell me about that as we finish up.

Mr. Ellis: Sure. I’d be happy to. CPU, Children and Parents United, is a nonprofit I started. It’s the charitable extension of The Respondent, where there’s information at therespondent.com, for all things respondent, and CPU is there. Our mission is to improve the well-being of families, parents, and children, through information and resources for policy makers and politicians to bring about social change, and to advocate for families and parents who are stuck in this horrific legal system without any way out.

We have three programs that we’ve been developing. One is CPU communication, to improve our interpersonal communication skills, because of course, once a marriage breaks down, and trust breaks down, communication becomes an issue. And communicating through a third party or two third parties, or law firms or attorneys, makes it even harder, particularly if those attorneys are skilled and trained in arguments. CPU communication is the first step.

The second step is CPU mediation. We have some skilled mediators who’ve worked within the family law system, who’ve seen just how horrific the system is, and they’re working outside it to help keep families out of court, and help mediate through differences in low conflict, to get some resolution.

Then CPU law is the third program, which is a group of lawyers and attorneys who have experience within the legal system, some of them in family law, to assist parents and partners to actually work through their differences, mediate through their differences, and draw up their own legal disillusionment, and their own divorce papers, if that’s what they want. We don’t encourage that, but the agency of an individual is up to the two.

We really want to be that safe harbor, three steps to the safe harbor before people enter family law and meet the cartel. Because once you meet the cartel and family law, you’re playing by a different set of rules, and they’re not your rules. They’re not integrity. They’re not ethics, and there is no moral compass.

Mr. Jekielek: So Greg, one of the things that I’ve found quite interesting in the book is you do a lot of self-reflection into some of your own life challenges, and the places where you might have failed. You kind of laid that out. It’s not necessarily something you would expect in a book of this sort. Why did you do that?

Mr. Ellis: My book isn’t about demeaning one side or the other and being extreme or excessive. It’s really just my true story. Laying out the facts is my legacy petition, if you will, of what happened. I learned a tremendous amount through my family law odyssey. I’m not going to go through life angry, bitter, and full of outrage and contempt, because why carry that with you for the rest of your life? I’d rather turn, as I’ve tried to, turn this into something good and positive, and to have impact.

I can’t and couldn’t save my sons. Maybe I can help other families, other boys, other sons, other fathers, other mothers, other daughters, other families in general, and parents navigate this horrible system of family law, and provide some relief, strategies, and tips.

I have a free ebook that’s available at therespondent.com, for people who buy The Respondent. They can use the code in that book to get the free downloadable ebook. It’s called The Code. It has some of the tips and strategies that I was able to use to provide myself with some relief through the 82-plus court appearances, the vicissitudes and challenges of family law, and to tend to that quiet desperation.

Everyone’s struggling with something. I forgive my ex-wife, 100 percent. Where I am at in my life, we’re all response-able. We all have the ability to be responsible. So I’m 100 percent responsible for where I am right now in my life. No one’s to blame. No one’s at fault. We’re all responsible for the big community collective. But for me as the individual, I forgive others, not necessarily because they deserve forgiveness, but because I deserve peace. Forgiveness is not a line that you take, but a road that you cross.

Mr. Jekielek: Greg Ellis, it’s such a pleasure to have you on.

Mr. Ellis: Thank you Jan. It’s been a pleasure talking with you. Thank you for having me.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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