as a young child, i went to school with a girl who was a jehovah witness. she was allowed to leave the classroom every morning when we sang the national anthem. i hated her. every time she left the room, she was disrespecting my father who was in the military. i could care less what she believed. in my child’s mind, a jehovah witness was an asshole. an ignorant asshole. if my father was willing to die protecting her, then the least she could do was stand there in silence for 2 minutes.
i tried talking to her about it. so she knew that she was pissing off those of us who had fathers leave for service and be gone for months and worry about them never coming home. she was flippant, dismissive, snotty and could care less. so i punched her in the face. and i kept punching her, day after day, week after week, month after month, the entire year. if i could catch her, i’d shove her ignorant ass down to the ground and then punch her ignorant, snarky face.
she thought she could be ignorant to me and act like she was the one who was smart and we were stupid for listing to the anthem and say things like my father and his job didn’t matter and he would die for no reason. she’d leave the room, look over her shoulder, giving me a slanted eye look of disdain and contempt. once i started beating her up daily, that stopped. i know because i never took my eyes off her, every single day she left the room, i burned her back with my glare and then promised her with my stare when she came back, that she would get beat up again for choosing to make those comments and disrespect my family.
religious freedom. i didn’t extend my understanding of what that meant, until i was much older. but it never once allowed for an atheist, jehovah witness or any other religion to hold themselves as better than me and disrespect my family as wasting their lives because of their commitment to God, the country we lived in and my family. it set up a lifetime of addressing a persons religious beliefs and learning about them.it let me be open to their lives and invite them into my own as well.
and as strange as it sounds, her intolerance for me and my violent reaction to her, let me be more open to everyone else i came across with my single caveat being disrespect. if someone placed their beliefs above mine or others, i could not and still don’t tolerate it. Leave me alone to live in the peace of my beliefs and i will do the same to you. if you push me or belittle me, if i witness you doing the same to others, then i will fight to defend my/their position and i will not stop until you back up, back down and back off. i will have nothing to do with anyone who believes they are better than others, for any reason.
i never understood someone who pushes so hard to get others to accept their belief as superior to others. this little girl taught me that ignorant people who don’t know when to stop talking, sometimes need something stronger than words to shut them up. it may not change their beliefs but it stops them from spilling their ignorance so others can hear it and be hurt by it. there are times that violence is the best option as a response to the actions of others.and rather than apologize for it, you need to embrace it.