Leadership in special needs ministry has a much broader implication in the church at large than we might first think. While the “us/them” mentality may persist when a church or ministry decides to become more inclusive or offer disability programming, it should come as no surprise to those of us who have served in this arena for any length of time that this vulnerable part of the population can bring the rest of the world face-to-face with some of life’s most profound issues. What constitutes a life worth living? How does God view those whom the rest of the world treats as outcasts? What hope does the Church Universal have to offer? These are only the beginning of a stream of complex, soul searching thoughts Christians encounter in living life alongside those with unique cognition and physical abilities.
Our current secular culture has excelled at the movement and sharing of information, which brings us more starkly and decisively into confrontation with these issues. Without exception, the sanctity of life for those who are “diff-abled” comes into question. Most recently exposed by controversies such as the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and parents pursuing legal actions like wrongful birth lawsuits, individuals perceived to be less-than-perfect by culture are at great peril of either being aborted or euthanized because of their differences. This has already proved a persistent threat to children prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
The endlessly emerging revelations of such abhorrent practices in a culture that claims to be both civilized and tolerant ought to remove the element of surprise when we read new articles published on the topic. Instead, I personally find myself growing more upset and indignant at this pervasive disregard for the lives of people just like two of the three incredible children I parent. I treasure my children, and see them rife with possibility as they grow closer to their adulthood each day. Yet, I fear for my offspring and others like them as I read these stories of our disintegrating societal bioethics. Beware of ‘comfort care’. On the same day, Michael Cook of LifeNews.com published his shocking report, Netherlands, Belgium Racing to Okay Euthanasia for Disabled Children. He notably states in the article, “The genie is out of the bottle. Today it is severely disabled babies; tomorrow it could be brain-damaged teenagers; the day after it could be the demented elderly. You would have no heart if you didn’t suffer because of these cases; you would have a heart of stone if you killed them to stop your own pain.”
We, in the area of disability ministry, are uniquely equipped to sound the alarm and advocate, making the general population aware that
- Those with special needs have far more to offer us than we ever have to offer them.
- EVERY human is “defective” or “imperfect” because of the sin that is part of this world.
- EVERY family is only one emergency room visit away from becoming a “special needs” family.
- Jesus demonstrated God’s value for each and every human life. If each life bears the fingerprints of God, we honor Him when we honor that life.
- If the Church does not make a difference regarding these issues, we will all be in peril of being subject to euthanasia, forced abortion, and forced sterilization.
Lest we be overcome by the false belief that this destruction of children is something new, allow me to remind you that the Old Testament has numerous reports of worshiping false gods by sacrificing children in the fire. The Bible also has stories throughout of the “weak” and “lame” that were left to struggle, beg and more than likely, die a premature death because of their imperfection. To think we currently live in a culture that has evolved morally and socially is to deceive ourselves.
It begs the question, “Will this battle ever be won this side of heaven?”. Will humans ever cease this “detestable” and wide practice of snuffing out lives considered less worthy? My answer to that would be, No, if we, the leaders on the cutting edge of these issues fail to shine the light, then the darkness in this world will prevail. What will you choose to do?
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