Inappropriate and Counter-Productive Comments and Conversational Topics for Inclusive Congregations
Raising a child with a developmental disability and chronic health condition has introduced me to a greater appreciation for welcoming congregations. They can unfortunately be sabotaged by certain conversations. Many of us avoid or choose not to respond to these topics when our children are present.
If you were writing a letter to all communities of faith in your area, what would you want their congregations to know?
Did you speak up or respond later the first time an inappropriate comment or conversation was directed at or reflected negatively on your family or child?
I believe that many of the same attitudes, comments and conversations that drive families of children with disabilities away from religious congregations also sabotage the inclusive environment that should be welcoming for every soul who finds their way to their place of worship.
Demanding respect for our sons and daughters who have childhood disabilities may come from a place of anger and frustration that needs no apology in advance, whether we are confronting political leadership, school administrators, our congregations or other community groups and professions. Our children should not have to earn their civil rights in this country or need our strongest advocacy efforts to find simple human rights every child deserves even in our communities of faith.
If you can no longer tolerate destructive, discouraging or insulting comments that drive you away from public events or church activities and worship, you may want to write a letter to your community leaders, pastors and congregations to let them know what you find intolerable. If other, milder advocacy and awareness efforts had been effective, we would not find ourselves in the same situations year after year.
Your comments are greatly appreciated.
SE of SeattleFaith, Religion and Children with Special Needs http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art172188.asp