Zealots share one commonality; their sense of entitlement. They operate under the assumption their beliefs trump the rights of others. Their commitment to a cause results in bullying that crosses the lines of human decency and common courtesy.
Jacquielynn Floyd, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News was witness to a zealot bullying a child selling girl scout cookies.
The story took me back thirty years ago when I shared den mother duties for an organization whose name refers to baby bears. Every holiday season each den presented a program with a central theme. That year’s theme “Yuletide around the world” presented no challenge. As a working mom, I was relieved it would not take a huge amount of effort to create star material out of a bunch of nine year old boys.
The other den mother, a newly minted American citizen from Germany took me aside and asked how I wanted to “handle Nathan”. Nathan was Jewish. The only reason I knew he was Jewish is he and my son swapped lunches at school during Passover. Nathan got PB&J and my son gefilte fish and matzo balls. (I discovered this way long after Passover).
She informed me the “Jews” were not Christian and Nathan should not participate in the program. I cannot conjure an adjective to describe my revulsion and outrage for this woman. I feel it to this day.
No one had questioned her ethnicity as reason to eliminate her from serving as a den mother; yet given an option, she would impose her beliefs to the detriment of a small boy.
- Nathan performed with his friends.
- The powers that be determined this woman should continue as den mother.
- I resigned and withdrew my sons from this organization.
The incident with the Girl Scout cookies reminded me that zealots will always be among us. I hope their existence is unrewarding and lonely. I hope the woman who bullied the girl scout knows she will always be remembered, but not for reasons she would choose. I hope Nathan is having a wonderful life wherever he may be.