- Posted August 23, 2013 by
Colorado Springs, Colorado
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Bully Babies: Addicted to “The Right”
I was born and raised in a fundamentalist, Christian church – a cult – and I was conditioned to believe I was in God's one and only true church. The only way to be saved, to be okay with God, to avoid eternal hell and death was to be a member of our church. We were “The Right” and the rest of the world was “The Wrong.” Our leader was considered God's one apostle, “His” right-hand man and only representative on earth -- the most important man on the face of the earth. He was more important than the pope and certainly more important than any king, president or prime minister. He was a religious bully and there was nobody more “right” in the entire world. Or so we thought.
We give bullies in our churches, in our corporations, in our Congress, and even in our own families the power to bully us, because we are too afraid to accept that we are all equal, that we are all entitled to the same liberties and freedoms, and that we all have the same access to any truths about the mysteries of life that may be out there. We have accepted a lie and, therefore, cannot accept that nobody is more special, more entitled, more worthy, more important – more “right' – than anyone else.
I was bullied in school growing up and it wasn't because I am gay – I had no idea at the time – it was because I had odd religious beliefs and couldn't do the things my classmates got to do like celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter or Halloween, because my church believed celebrating these things was satanic. I was insecure because I was different and I didn't know how to stand up for myself and the bullies zeroed in on me. Bullies always zero in on those who haven't learned they are equal. Bullies want to keep you in that closet of inequality and they will resort to violence to keep you there.
After I became an adult, after I was married and had three sons, I finally figured out that not only am I gay, but I am equal. I am entitled to the same liberties and freedoms as any one else and there are no truths about the mysteries of life that others have greater access to than I. If there is a Creator, we were all created equal, with equal access to that Creator. To think otherwise is illogical and the height of arrogance – it's what bullies are made of. And we just can't get enough of those bullies – we're hooked.
After leaving the church I became what I call a “devout” agnostic. I don't just believe we can not know the answers to the big mysteries of life, I believe we should accept and celebrate the great mysteries for the great mysteries they are. Running around trying to convince others that we are “right” about matters we can't know the truth about is no different than the bullies I dealt with in school growing up who would have me believe I was not equal, that I did not deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other human being. I had to overcome my addiction to bullies and to “The Right” but the only way I could do that was to come out of denial that I was, in fact, addicted.
The only way our country and our world will come out of chaos and find peace is when we all accept and embrace that we are all equal and the only way to embrace that truth is to give up our addiction to “The Right” and to stand up to the bullies be they in our schools, our place of business, our Congress and even our own families. We don't have to be a nation or a world of “bully babies.” It's our choice.
Troy Fitzgerald lives in Colorado Springs, CO and is the author of “Cults and Closets: Coming Out of Chaos” (Amazon) which chronicles his life growing up in a fundamentalist, Christian cult as the son of a pastor, becoming a self-described “devout” agnostic and coming out as gay after being married to a woman and having three sons together (and remaining close friends with his ex-wife).