Skip to comments.Loving the Least of These: How Do We Treat the Disabled Among Us?
Posted on 03/15/2014 8:24:10 PM PDT by Morgana
Recent revelations about the abuse of disabled workers has me thinking: Do we fear God? Ill explain.
Last May, an Iowa jury awarded $240 millionlater reduced to $6 millionto 32 mentally-disabled men who, over the course of three decades, were systematically cheated, exploited and abused by their employer.
disabled2Its a sad reminder of how vulnerable those with disabilities are and why any church worthy of the name should be at the forefront in protecting them.
The story is, as the New York Times put it, Dickensian in its details. Over three decades, hundreds of intellectually-disabled men were shipped from Texas to Atalissa, Iowa, to work for Henrys Turkey Service, which then sold their labor to turkey processing plants.
The men were housed in a 100-year-old Atalissa school building the company converted to a bunkhouse. As the Times told readers, their supervisors never received specialized training [in working with the intellectually-disabled]; never tapped into Iowas social service system; [and] never gave the men the choices in life granted by decades of advancement in disability civil rights.
And that was before the issue of pay comes up.
Under federal law, these workers did not have to be paid the same as the non-disabled co-workers.
Instead, they were paid a percentage based on their productivity.
Even that reduced amount seldom reached their pockets. The company deducted hundreds of dollars from the mens earnings and Social Security benefits for room and boardand in-kind services, like bowling, dining out and annual visits to an amusement park.
No matter how many hours they worked, they never got more than $65 a month.
Then there was the physical abuse including handcuffing and being forced to walk in circles while carrying weights.
Dickensian, indeed. All that was missing was a foreman named Wackford Squeers.
This exploitation and abuse continued unimpeded for three decades until Henrys Turkey Service and the processing plant decided that the men had slowed to the point where, even at $65 a month, it was no longer profitable to employ them.
After a social worker discovered and documented the abuses in 2009, a suit was filed against Henrys Turkey Service by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which resulted in the record award I mentioned earlier. Nearly a year after the verdict, only about $30-to-40 thousand of the award has been collected.
The day my colleague, whose son is intellectually-disabled, read the Times article, the Old Testament reading was from Leviticus 19.
In it, God tells the people of Israel, You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD. Thus, how we treat the disabled is a measure of whether we fear Godthe Hebrew word for fear meaning revere, honor, and stand in awe of.
Reading the piece brought to mind Christian alternatives like LArche where people with and without disabilities share their lives in communities of faith and friendship. As LArches founder, Jean Vanier, said we are brothers and sisters, and Jesus is calling us from the pyramid to become a body.
While desperately needed, even the best laws and most-dedicated enforcers cannot make people see the intellectually-disabled as their brothers and sisters. As the Bible tells us, Christians have no choice in the matter. The question, as Vanier put it, is Does the church really believe in the holiness of people with disabilities?
Only if we truly believe in the holiness of God, in whose image they are made.
In NY, Down’s Syndrome afflictees were little more than a rumor.
In GA, they’re everywhere.
Pains me to contemplate why the difference.
“In NY, Downs Syndrome afflictees were little more than a rumor. In GA, theyre everywhere. Pains me to contemplate why the difference.”
Can you enplane what you mean by this?
I think this is the REAL reason Democrats and Leftist Regressives loathe and despise Sarah Palin- she kept her Down Syndrome child rather than murder him.
aware of the term, Down’s Syndrome when my 6th grade teacher read, “Angel Unaware” by Dale Evans, back in the 1950’s. Until then the babies, children and adults were kept hidden. She said in that book or another one that a doctor said they should be taken to a mountain top and shot. She said they were at some kind of jamboree and when she looked out the window, there were hundreds of DS children. She had told parents that it was ok to take their kids out to events. That book taught me to look at the heart but I had already been taught that by having a nephew who had birth defects. We never, ever treated him any differently than any other kid. When he was in high school, he could not play sports so he was team manager. He would go to the pool, take off his leg and jump in. If others did something, he did it too. If you have not read Dale’s book, do so. I have never forgotten it.
The Final Solution is more firmly entrenched in New York. Just as the Nazis exterminated ‘defectives’ after birth, the New Yorkers can use genetic testing and eliminate the ‘problem’ even earlier.
What happened to my first few words? I first became should have been there. Guess I have a ghost.
We worry about the Ten Commandments and keeping them but the New Testament commandment from our Lord says we should love them as ourselves. So how should we treat them?
I just behave like they don’t have an issue...look right past it.
One of the downsides of things like amniosentisis.
In NY culture, the norm is to abort the predictably disabled.
The more buildup they give being black, for example, with things like "discrimination causes obesity", the closer they get to the Margret Sanger/Fascist ideal of defining specific racial characteristics as a disability and therefore a sufficient reason for society to dictate abortion and/or sterilization of specific racial groups to avoid the cost of such a disability.
That's even more likely when the State runs all medical care and the individual can be denied some types of treatment even if they can afford to pay for them.
From tiny acorns might Oak Trees grow and while most people may say only "some crazy Catholics" oppose contraception it's from the seed of contraception that the mighty Oak Tree of institutionalized State dictated murder is now clearly growing.
Like it or now, we're now close to the Nazis in the thirties when even wealthy families would take their disabled children to be treated for something minor only to be told the child had died from some sort of complications.
I have two Down Syndrome grandchildren. One natural birth and one adopted. God bless their parents.
I remember reading about Football Coach Gene Stallings and his son Johnny who had Down Syndrome. Sweet pictures at the link.
I’d be asking the question to Wendy Davis and her campaign staff.
Amniosentisis combined with abortion on demand.
Many states are trying to make it illegal to abort a child just because it has downs. What they don’t understand is this is why Margaret Sanger wanted all of this legal in the first place. Down syndrome, Spina Bifida and others like it are what she called “human weeds” and “inferior types” of society.