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Loving the Least of These: How Do We Treat the Disabled Among Us?
life news ^ | Eric Metaxas

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? I’ll explain.

Last May, an Iowa jury awarded $240 million—later reduced to $6 million—to 32 mentally-disabled men who, over the course of three decades, were systematically cheated, exploited and abused by their employer.

disabled2It’s 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 Henry’s 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 Iowa’s 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 men’s earnings and Social Security benefits for room and board—and ‘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 Henry’s 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 Henry’s 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 God—the Hebrew word for fear meaning revere, honor, and stand in awe of.

Reading the piece brought to mind Christian alternatives like L’Arche where “people with and without disabilities share their lives in communities of faith and friendship.” As L’Arche’s 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.

TOPICS: General Discusssion; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: christians; disability; disabled; iowa; prolife

1 posted on 03/15/2014 8:24:10 PM PDT by Morgana
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To: Morgana

In NY, Down’s Syndrome afflictees were little more than a rumor.
In GA, they’re everywhere.

Pains me to contemplate why the difference.

2 posted on 03/15/2014 8:27:15 PM PDT by ctdonath2 (Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless.)
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To: ctdonath2

“In NY, Down’s Syndrome afflictees were little more than a rumor. In GA, they’re everywhere. Pains me to contemplate why the difference.”

Can you enplane what you mean by this?

3 posted on 03/15/2014 9:21:03 PM PDT by babygene ( .)
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To: Morgana

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.

4 posted on 03/15/2014 9:28:09 PM PDT by MuttTheHoople (Nothing is more savage and brutal than justifiably angry Americans. Don’t believe me? Ask the Germa)
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To: MuttTheHoople

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.

5 posted on 03/15/2014 9:58:25 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: babygene

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.

6 posted on 03/15/2014 9:59:39 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: MamaB

What happened to my first few words? I first became should have been there. Guess I have a ghost.

7 posted on 03/15/2014 10:00:29 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: Morgana

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?

8 posted on 03/15/2014 10:00:29 PM PDT by Ramonne
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To: Morgana

I just behave like they don’t have an issue...look right past it.

9 posted on 03/15/2014 10:00:58 PM PDT by fabian (" And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo in laughter")
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To: babygene

One of the downsides of things like amniosentisis.

10 posted on 03/16/2014 12:09:24 AM PDT by crazycatlady
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To: babygene; WildHighlander57

In NY culture, the norm is to abort the predictably disabled.

11 posted on 03/16/2014 4:27:54 AM PDT by ctdonath2 (Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless.)
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To: ctdonath2
Contraception is the "gateway drug" to all of this. If you can take pills that cause a very early term abortion in order to enjoy partying prior to marriage or to avoid paying for more than a single child after marriage it's "reasonable" to avoid the problems associated with a disability however minor.

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.

12 posted on 03/16/2014 5:05:07 AM PDT by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: Morgana

I have two Down Syndrome grandchildren. One natural birth and one adopted. God bless their parents.

13 posted on 03/16/2014 7:42:46 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: MamaB

I remember reading about Football Coach Gene Stallings and his son Johnny who had Down Syndrome. Sweet pictures at the link.

14 posted on 03/16/2014 9:43:51 AM PDT by happyhomemaker (Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Rom 12:12)
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To: Morgana

I’d be asking the question to Wendy Davis and her campaign staff.

15 posted on 03/16/2014 10:24:38 AM PDT by Doc91678 (Doc91678)
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To: crazycatlady; babygene

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.

16 posted on 03/16/2014 10:44:32 AM PDT by Morgana (Wagglebee please come home we miss you!)
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