I am writing this because I am sad, bitter and confused about the lack of support and compassion I have seen for the disabled population from within the Christian community.
It is appalling that there are thousands of disabled children in this country who are suffering at the hands of the state. Hidden away in dark institutions, doped up on heavy psychotropic drugs, physically and sexually abused — these are truly the ones with “no voice.” Apparently, the unborn have taken the No. 1 position in the pro-life movement. The disabled aren’t even considered. Doesn’t Scripture say to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves”? Surely, this would apply to the vast number of handicapped children in this country!
Does anyone have a clue how dark and evil most of the state system is in dealing with the disabled? Do they fight for their rights? Do they visit the group homes to make sure the abandoned and isolated children with special needs are protected and loved? What Christian ministry has marched for the disabled? Moreover, when a child is severely-disabled, the entire family is affected. It takes an incredible toll on everyone. It is an ugly side of life that most Christians simply refuse to see.
I have been told that my severely autistic, self-injurious, epileptic, mild cerebral palsied son “is like that because I am ‘special.'” I have heard that it is a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, it’s a ‘generational curse,’ he is ‘oppressed’ or ‘possessed,’ ‘I am being tested,’ and the most hurtful was ‘because I did something in my past to earn this punishment from God.’
Frankly, I don’t care what the reason is — it doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is that God gave me this child for some reason beyond my scope of understanding. I don’t have to figure it out. But I am trying to figure out why my fellow believers in Christ have not pulled together a national crisis team to address the issue of abuse and neglect of the disabled population. Maybe it isn’t as glamorous to wipe the drool off a Down Syndrome child’s mouth, or to feed a 17-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, than it is to drop to the ground in front of the TV cameras during a pro-life confrontation.
I think it is unbiblical to put top priority on those who have not yet been born over those who are sitting in front of our eyes — or hidden away in some institution. I hate abortion. It is evil and destroys two lives. However, I feel as Christians we are being led astray by Satan in that we have turned our backs on perhaps the largest forgotten minority this country has ever known. Talk about a silent genocide. If you could see the New Age techniques being taught to the mild to moderately disabled children it would make your skin crawl.
In contrast, the severely disabled can’t be as easily manipulated, but they are often neglected and pumped up with dangerous drugs.
Interestingly, many families of disabled children are not Christians. They often turn to New Age gurus or some Eastern philosophy for comfort. Naturally, the secular world offers little hope for the families of disabled children, but neither does the Christian community. Many parents and siblings of the disabled use alcohol and drugs to numb the pain.
Satan attacks the entire family when there is a handicapped child born. The more severe the disability, the more intense the spiritual warfare. Frustration, confusion, isolation and anger can consume a family hit with this type of blow. No one is ever the same again. I get so angry when I read the plethora of Scriptures about how Jesus healed the blind and crippled! I cry out in my soul; “Why not my son?” And I have no answer. I ask Christian friends who often tell me they will “pray” for me. I call the church. Yes, they will put us on a “prayer chain.” Great. In the meantime, we’ll keep spiritually bleeding to death.
Do I blame these people? I don’t know. Can I, according to Scripture, expect more from a brother or sister in Christ? After all, the book of James 2:14-25 states that “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds?” Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deed is dead.
“In essence, I urge you to start speaking up for the disabled population in this country. We live in an age of computer technology. We could use the same resources for the pro-life movement towards helping this forgotten minority. How about advocating for more Christian group homes, run by churches and the people who attend them.
Likewise, the severely disabled are in dire need of state run institutions that have a Christian staff! Is the work that degrading? Does it not pay enough? Do Christian colleges have courses that will help someone land a job working with these needy people? James 2:3: “If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘you stand there’ or ‘sit on the floor next to my feet’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become evil judges with evil thoughts?”
Perhaps we have not been this obvious in our favoritism towards the unborn as opposed to the disabled among us, but the Scripture speaks volumes. Again, I believe abortion is something to fight against and we ought to speak up for the unborn. But, for goodness sakes, let us be sober-minded and balanced in our thinking. The disabled must receive equal justice in this world if we are to call ourselves Christians.
Kim Oakley is an Escondido resident.