I began yesterday by writing a long, long post on the heals of president Obama's ignorant comment on the Tonight Show. I took the night to think and have decided to break up the post into several posts because my response was to much and to angry for just one post. So here is my first post - a reaction to the comments of and the reaction to, the Presidents words. I tend not to be political, and I don't believe the presidents comments have any thing to do with politics, they have to do with ignorance.
I thought twice about posting my disgust with this, but I want to keep this blog honest so I will speak the truth of my heart, or maybe better put, the ranting truth of my heart. So here it goes:
The President called his inept bowling "Like Special Olympics" On the Tonight Show. A simple slip up some say, but I say the fruit of stupid talk that must ensue more places than on national TV. Radio show hosts and the like have already spun it into a political debate, with out care for anyone who has a disability. Tim Shriver, president of the Special Olympics has embraced the Presidents "moving" apology, saying the President did not intend to humiliate this population. He spoke on the news this morning about making sure we talk about people with special needs in "an affirming way"?? In his apology Mr. Obama spoke how the Special Olympics are a triumph of human spriit??? Already a solution for the whole issue has already been decided... The President will get a great photo op, bowling with our reining Special Olympic bowling champion, showing just how much he cares for people with disabilities. The term has already entered slang dictionaries on the web, which will certainly add to the cutting use of the word "retard" heard regularly in any public square. Even if it was just a slip of the tongue, when the most powerful man in the world today says something it becomes a powerful statement. It leads people to a view of people with mental disabilities being bad, untalented, uncoordinated, unathletic, not normal or just plain negative, and that is the least of the damage.
So lets speak to the truth of this, people with disabilities are more threatened now than ever. New policies and the lack of any moral standard has and will wipe out many people before they get to be born and makes it hard for them to live if they are born. People with mental disabilities function in a system we have set up for them. It is designed to simulate the freedoms of real life but in an controlled environment, where they are numbered, funded, and controlled. They go through schools where IEP's falsely address issues that students deal with, In school they learn to be independent and live with rights. Eventually they get out into the real world; a job in a workshop (sorting nuts and bolts for 25 years), saturday night disability dances (aint it cute), Special Olympics (everybody's a winner), and meetings of Handicapped United (they need a voice) and other made up nonsense. Don't get me wrong, there is much good (people and programs) within any of these institutions, but if you look closely they are set up as simulations of what (normal) people feel, looks like real life. Where is the church in all of this? Some are doing compassionate ministry to "the least of these", others are putting them up on angelic pedestals of proof of God's love through healing, overcoming or childlike faith, many still believe disability is the result of sin, and still others seem to ignore them totally. (Again don't get me wrong there is much good going on in a few churches, but look closely and most of the christian world, but they have no idea what to do with disability). So in the end the church is silent to the real need and cruises along without them
We live in a time when it is totally acceptable to reduce a people group to those "we need to speak about in an affirming way". In other words our attitudes, hatefulness and bad intentions should always be covered by sweet words of compassion. The reality is that those in power believe those who have disabilities are a monstrously horrible group that is a drain on society and need to be eliminated even before birth, and thats OK as long as you smile, say affirming words and pat heads when you do it. Meanwhile most people of the world may not agree with that, but we sit by and do nothing so the elimination of this group continues.
There is only one place this advance of evil doing can be stopped, it is the church. We must stand up and realize we must protect those with disabilities. We need them, Our body is not full with out them and will never be full if they do not exist. We live in a time where the "