On February 6, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canada’s existing laws against assisted suicide are unconstitutional. The national dialogue needs the voices of Christians who speak into the deeply controversial issue.
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Ratifying this international treaty will not right all the wrongs committed against people with disabling conditions, but it puts a line in the sand that squares with the message of Jesus.
The means by which violence is perpetrated against people with disabilities varies widely, but the statistics clearly indicate that people with disabilities are much more likely to have emotional and physical violence perpetrated against them than the general population.
I celebrate the accomplishments of Derrick Coleman and Nick Vujicic and the others, but I want to get to know people on their own terms. I don’t want to paint anyone with stereotypes that have been formed in my mind by media. But how do I do that?
I have a dream that the body of Christ will show society how welcome and hospitality are done right. I have a dream that the body of Christ will be the first place people living with disabilities will go to find acceptance, warmth, and opportunities to use their gifts in meaningful ways.
Mostly, we don't want to speak and act with prejudice, but too often hear ourselves saying, "Oops, I did it again." And our prejudices bleed into every aspect of human difference: ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender, social class, to name a few examples.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will not right all the wrongs committed against people with various disabling conditions, but it puts a line in the sand that squares with the message of Jesus.
It must be terribly frightening to see one’s abilities slowly fade. I do not yet live with losses like this, so I do not want to speak lightly of them. But many, many other people do live joyfully with disabilities of various kinds, including loss of eyesight and Parkinson’s.
"People shouldn't dismiss people like me just because I sound different. In that sense, I'd like them to think of it as little more than an accent. However, I also can't get away from the reality that it is a disability, it has caused me to struggle throughout my life, just to communicate."
Let's not eliminate all segregated classrooms and sheltered work and congregate activities. Let's work against ableism, including the implicit ableism that in a patronistic way seeks to eliminate valid choices for activities made by some people with disabilities.
In 1867 San Francisco city leaders declared, “Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, or an improper person to be allowed in or on the streets, highways, thoroughfares or public places in the City of County of San Francisco, shall not therein or thereon expose himself or herself to public view.”
This summer, synod encouraged all Christian Reformed churches to adopt a church policy on disability and to appoint at least one person in the congregation to serve as a church disability advocate. Has your church taken both of these steps?
A campaign of misinformation brought about the defeat of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the U.S. Senate last December. Likely, a motion to ratify it will be brought to the Senate Foreign Relations committee this June. Now is the time to begin contacting Senators to correct that misinformation so the next vote to ratify will be successful.
In spite of the facts, the media, talk show hosts, humorists, bloggers, and uninformed citizens insist that people with mental illnesses pose a threat of violence. The myth that people with mental illness are violent creates demands for unwarranted limitations on their rights and freedoms.
Shortly after I started in July 2006 she initiated a meeting with me in which she told me who I needed to watch out for, who I could trust as a fellow advocate, and who and where I needed to “push.” I think that “push” was one of her favorite words. For me, pushing is going to be harder with Nella gone.