As the events of this past week unfolded, I realized that it was finally time to bare my soul and speak candidly of my membership in a hate group. I must confess I have been part of this group for most of my life and have been influenced by the words of the group’s leader.
Here is my story:
I started at quite a young age, even though I was unaware at the time of the decision that bound me to this group. I would place all of the blame on my parents if it were not for the fact that I had multiple opportunities throughout my life to reject the decision they made for me. To the contrary, at every opportunity provided I made the decision to further my commitment to the group and even went as far as swearing an oath of loyalty to its founder; I became a soldier for the cause.
To those on the outside, I was misunderstood and they sought to pull me away from the hold the group had on me. At different times in my life, and for varying durations of time, their efforts to separate me from my chosen path were successful. I was pulled free from the influences and beliefs that had bound me to the group for decades. The group’s founder and teachers could no longer find me to fill my head with their words; I was free to live my life without the complications of membership.
But, the pull was too strong to resist. From the outside looking in, I saw how my fellow members were enjoying their wanton ways and I wanted back in. I realized how large a void there was in my life since I was pulled free from the influences. To those who had pulled me free, I was considered a lost cause; all of their efforts wasted. They finally understood that the oath I swore was stronger than their efforts to free me, and they looked elsewhere for another victim of indoctrination to rescue.
In my defense however, I must tell you that from the inside, as a member, I never really understood that I was being taught to hate. As I understood the group’s teachings, I thought the path established by our founder was the correct way to lead my life and I questioned why the people on the outside could not see the validity of our position.
It was not until this week, when the news reported on how hateful we were that I even considered making this confession. I knew that people on the outside, for whatever their personal reasons, resented our beliefs. I always thought it was because they misunderstood our founder’s message. Today though, I understand just how wide the gap of understanding is; they consider the words I have spent decades learning to be hateful.
They have labeled us a hate group for believing and following the words of our group’s founder. They did not actually single us out by name since our group is so large, but they labeled our thoughts and beliefs as hateful, and wished death and disease upon those who shared our views.
I watched and listened this week as the words of our group’s founder and his current teachers were labeled as hate speech. It was time for me to make a decision about my life. Would I remain a member of such an apparently vile group that followed such a hateful path, or would I join in the chorus of those who disagreed with us and escape again from the hold that the group had on me?
I have decided to stay in. The oath I made is too strong, and I believe the path I am following is correct; even though our ways have now been deemed as hateful by those who do not understand.
I am a Catholic, a Christian, and I have chosen to follow the words and path of Christ. I have chosen to remain in his group, and follow his words even if I have to live my life accused of being hateful for my decision. To us followers in this group, Marriage will always be between one man and one woman.
My confession is complete and I will go in peace.
by Jack Woodward 8/4/12