I Left the Religious Cult I Grew Up In and They Followed Me Into the Government
Roe v Wade died yesterday.
Roe died yesterday, and I went down the rabbit hole.
I don’t think I’ll be able to climb my way out again. This wasn’t a random act. It’s been coming for a long time.
I’m devastated for women across America, yet, it carries an even more menacing shadow for someone like me. I left the religious cult I was raised in, but it followed me into the government.
Almost 50 years ago, I left the religious cult I was raised in to live a life without someone looking over my shoulder 24 hours a day. I was 18 years old. I was disowned by my family because the choice I made carried dire consequences.
With no money in my pocket, no civilian friends, no driver’s license or car, no job, and no idea how to navigate the world outside the closed society where I lived, I set out to claim personal freedom.
But the cult followed me into the government.
They’ve been working on it for over thirty years. With patience, perseverance, unity, and an eye to claiming America for the glory of God, they employed every dirty, devious method at their disposal to turn America into a theocratic authoritarian world.
Yep! They’re winning.
Most people can’t understand how grim this feels to me.
They grew up in a period when citizens were beginning to experience an unprecedented amount of personal freedom. We had more work ahead of us to achieve the goal of freedom and equality for everyone, but seldom in history was so much diversity allowed to flourish.
The right to bodily autonomy, women voting, gay marriage, racially mixed marriages, and divorce, are a few unprecedented freedoms that were finally won and celebrated.
I didn’t have the luxury of growing up in a free world.
I grew up in a closed, patriarchal society. Everything I did was monitored. Everything! Every morsel of food that went into my mouth, each piece of clothing that I wore, who I chose to talk to, where I went when I left the house, how I spent every penny that I earned, which books I read, and all sources of entertainment were scrutinized and usually denied.
I had to hide everything that I owned and anything that I did.
If I was caught doing something the church didn’t endorse, I was beaten. Beatings were common and brutal. You have no idea. Bruising and bleeding in children as young as nine months old were encouraged. I got my last beating when I was almost eighteen. Why? Because my dad entered my bedroom unannounced and found me in a short nightgown. He called me a harlot and beat me, leaving blood on my bare legs.
No one, relatives or friends, ever lifted a finger to help me.
I had to flee the cult and figure out a way to assimilate into civilian society. I rarely shared my story because most people weren’t interested. It wasn’t happening to them. They saw my life as a bizarre but rare occurrence in the modern world. They were busy being free.
But I knew.
I had encountered one bizarre little religious cult after another across America for many years. There were more fanatics than most people realized, and they all had one thing in common. They hated women. Men had all the freedom.
Women were born to serve men.
Little by little, I established a life for myself. I went to college, got married, had a career in education, had two children, built a house, traveled, enjoyed earning my own money, and more.
At the same time, little by little, the country began to morph into a place where the line between church and state dwindled. It became vague and difficult to define as evangelicals were filling more and more seats of power on the state and federal levels.
When Hilary ran against Trump, I knew we were crossing the threshold into a familiar world, the world that I’d run away from many years ago. At the time, Ted Cruz was a big worry for me. His followers saw him as a vessel of God chosen to redeem America. When Trump was nominated, I was momentarily relieved. I knew he didn’t have a religious bone in his body.
That was a short-lived sense of relief.
I soon began to see that the religious right had realized that they could use this diseased human being to fulfill their goals. He had no core beliefs of his own and was blessed with more audacity than even Ted Cruz. All he wanted was to be a god, so the far-right decided to make him their god.
It was a match made in heaven.
Unfortunately, even though these wretched, religious fanatics were in the minority, the majority of voters weren’t able to unite. They decided to divide our forces and fight with one another, most never guessing where this would all lead. Come voting day, Hilary won the popular vote, but of course, lost the fight. The next four years would be an eye-opening experience for main-stream Americans.
So, yesterday, Roe was finally overturned by a conservative supreme court hellbent on fulfilling the goals of the far right. Glory be to god!
This was no accident. Republicans rarely miss an opportunity. I begged my friends and family not to vote for Trump. Everyone knew there was a good chance that at least two supreme court seats would need filling. It turns out there were three, two of which supported Roe. I will never forgive those who voted for Trump, but I also refuse to forgive those who threw their votes away on third-party choices like Jill Stein.
Like voting your conscience was a strategy that could even come close to competing with the singlemindedness of the far-right Republican party.
I gotta tell you. I’m tired of trying to keep a distance between myself and evangelicals. I just want to be left alone to live my life the way I choose. But they followed me into the government, and now I’m forced to look at them again.
They are relentless.
They will not leave me alone. Unfortunately, the rest of the semi-religious who sorta serve a god but not to the point where they’d step on my toes all the time, aren’t able to understand what’s happening until it gets so bad that they see their own freedoms threatened.
They must first be startled by the overturning of Roe, the possibility that gay marriage will be next, or the banning of birth control.
Where does it all end?
I can tell you this with utter certainty. It ends with having someone looking over your shoulder 24 hours a day. It ends with the cult running my life again.
I’ll go down fighting the cult. I’m not about to give in to them now. I worked too hard to make a life for myself, one where I could just be me without constantly worrying that the men in black hats might pay me a visit in the night.
I’ll never hide again.
Try to beat me until my legs bleed, you dirty bigoted patriarchal cluster of diseased humanity. I’m not afraid of you any longer. I’m not the same little helpless girl I use to be.
Furthermore, the future is not you.
The future is so much better than what you have to offer. Go dwell in your caves without light. Embrace your beloved Dark Ages. You will be left behind.
The future is evolution, not regression.
Somewhere in the world the evolution of society will continue. If not America, then somewhere else. It is inevitable because change is constant. We will progress, evolve, change and adapt, but we will not stay stagnant.
I’m on the side of progress.
Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.