It has come to my attention that some places are exempt from being compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. This includes churches, mosques, temples, and other religious places. They are also tax exempt and exempt from the prying eyes of the federal government. This can mean a disabled person may not be welcome to a church or other religious facility. I don’t exclude synagogues, Orthodox churches, or even Mormon temples. So what can be done to make the religious facilities welcoming to people with disabilities? Here’s a list of suggestions for clergy and religious leaders. While Catholic churches are run under the jurisdiction of either Greece or Rome, all churches and facilities in the United States should not be tax exempt if they don’t welcome and integrate people with disabilities. THey should be made to pay taxes like everybody else, and those tax dollars can go to make disability agencies within the government bounds more bearable, if not, much better for their clients. Think of it as punishment for the churches that actually works, gives back to those most in need of help because the church refuses to integrate and make their places welcoming.
Here, now, is the list:
- Make your building completely accessible. Multipurpose school buildings should have Braille signs, and wheelchair accessibility should be put into every bathroom stall, for if someone uses the handicapped stall while a wheelchair person is waiting, then what? People with disabilities are still human, and if we have to use the facilities, we have to go, darn it.
- Integrate your disabled patrons, members, or parishoners in the case of Catholicism completely and without fail. A good example of integration is allowing disabled adults a commitment ceremony treated as a wedding but not given documents or told to turn in their marriage papers to social security. A church that understands the plight of disabled adults is fully able to integrate them. Also, all activities should be open to disabled children and adults. The Mormon church, for instance, does not allow blind men or women to do missionary work. They also don’t allow disabled people to do many other things, and there’s sexism involved as well. Women in Relief Society should beware the sexism and dishonesty of folks who really don’t want blind people integrated into the church. Churches like this should never get tax exempt money because all that money isn’t going where it should, to those most in need of help, to members with disabilities.
- Treat all disabled people as equals to nondisabled people without going over the top. Churches who allow disabled people to attend and become a full member should treat that person as an equal, encouraging their nondisabled counterparts to visit the disabled if they are homebound, and take the person out if they are able. People should know that blind people, especially, are indeed able to go to movies and other recreational activities, but oftentimes that is a passed up opportunity because other church members are seriously not able to understand this. All that I’m saying should apply to Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and other religious facilities that practice some form of deity worship. Buddhist centers can integrate their members with disabilities as well in this manner, and hold meditative sessions in a park or backyard.
- Particularly for Christian and Jewish establishments, make your materials readable for blind folks. Your Roman misselettes and hymnals should not have to be pretranscribed by a member’s family but you should at least make it possible for your members to participate in singing of hymns. For instance, making an electronic copy of lyrics in a hymnal works if the person owns a digital Braille display etc.
There are many churches and synagogues and temples and other places that obviously don’t know what disability does to a person. I can show you examples of churches that have and have not integrated disabled members, but most of them don’t. Here’s a few examples of what churches should be doing to their dollars they collect.
- Supporting blind and physically disabled brides and their grooms, likely disabled, on their weddings, even going as far as financing the reception. I’d like to pick on St. Bernadette’s Catholic in Lakewood because they not only welcomed Arthur and Diana Yochim in to the congregation, but the priest went so far as to finance and arrange catering for the couple’s wedding. The priest went so far as to help this couple where other people might not. All religious establishments should follow the example of St. Bernadette’s, and do the same.
- Send blind people to missions. Mormons, take note. Blind people are just as willing to serve as sighted counterparts. I’d like to thank my buddy Clayton, also known as Esoteric Quality, for the notes on the Mormon church because this is duly noted earlier. God does love everybody equally, so it should be preached, so God encourages prophets like Jeremiah, who was mute at first, and Moses, who was elderly and possibly had a slow tongue, maybe he wasn’t that great at speaking, but God encouraged him to say his famous, “Let my people go.” Disabled people in the Bible do not number in millions, and Jesus does not truly understand that in his absence, blindness is not healed. Not till he becomes one with the Father. But God believes in equal opportunities, love, and equal rights. No false prophecy can say otherwise. All religious establishments should send blind and physically disabled people to do good works abroad along with their nondisabled counterparts.
- Help disabled adults’ families with childcare, education, and welfare stuff. If a family needs food and the lady’s pregnant, the establishment must, under all circumstances help the individuals in question. IF a disabled woman is raped, pregnant because of the rape, and then has a baby, the baby should be welcomed with joy, the woman given money for rape counseling, and if she chooses to adopt out the baby, no harm done. I would keep a product of rape if it is a female, likely, because if the male was sadistic enough, he could pass on bad traits to a male offspring. That doesn’t mean I’d abort. I don’t believe in abortion, but women and their bodies and mental health should always come first.
- Pay for a member’s funeral expenses. If a member dies, or if a child dies, or if a disabled member’s spouse dies, a church or other religious community should, after all is said and done, pay for funerary expenses including burial, cremation, and memorial flowers, or in lieu of flowers, all donations can be made to a person’s favorite charity. At the completion of someone’s life, that person should be given fanfare, a gentle and loving goodbye, and no condemnation to Hell for sexual preference or orientation, sexual or gender identity, or disability. Again, Clayton. When his sister was gunned down by Mesa police, he had to pay for funeral expenses, and went out of his way to find a celebrant that would not condemn his transgender sister, who identified later as male, to Hell. He found a female, but before this, most of his family condemned her, even after her abuse. She suffered at the hands of her family, and Clayton was the only one that understood.
Churches and other religious places have a lot to think about. IF they want their tax exempt status taken away, more power to them. The procedure would be simple: any church or religious/faith based establishment that does not comply with the real teachings of God and Christ, Buddha, or whatever, including the teachings of love and equality, will be audited by the IRS and forced to comply or should be closed. IF it takes changing subtleties in the doctrines, that must happen.
This article was inspired by not only Clayton, but my friend Tyler McKinny, who hates all forms of God and supernatural things. A lot of what this guy says is correct. Religion may bring humans together, but love without end is even more powerful. Tyler says that supernatural belief without science is ridiculous. I tend to agree, and miracles have some scientific explanation. Although science won’t be able to explain creation or the beginning of the universe, it does explain evolution. And something put it there. Wisdom in such figures as the Dalai Lama and Buddha are extremely important for living a balanced life, and I’m in agreement that science does support meditation/prayer. It works in some weird ways, but people learn better when exposed to an inclusive environment. This means disabled people should be allowed to pray, meditate, whatever.