We congratulate ourselves at the fact that "we would not have let that evil happen!"
I have often wondered what the blindspot of the church is today. What is the evil we are overlooking which we might stand up against? I think I might have the answer.
As I described in the last blog entry, there is great excitement that doctors may now be able to identify up to 90% of persons with down syndrome prenatally, and do it earlier. They claim this will save mothers the embarassment of being detected as pregnant or the psychological dissonance of having felt the first kicks of the baby before killing it. Church people, leaders included, are often so oblivious about who persons with down syndrome are that they cannot even engage in a discussion. As a result, they mourn the birth of a child with down syndrome in the same manner as someone without knowledge. Down syndrome is an unknown to them, though it needn't be, so they fear it, perhaps even fear those with the disability. But if those people were in churches, we might not only loose our fear, we might learn to see them as a blessing. I can tell you that I do!
I am not the parent of such a person although I would not fear being such a parent. I don't know how many people with down syndrome I have known, maybe 50, not a lot of people but I certainly don't fear them or their differences. I have actually come to love them and am drawn to them. They are sweet, decent people who enjoy life. They will rejoice or mourn with you with heartfelt empathy. They will go to school, maybe get a job, and live on their own or with limited support. You wouldn't have to try very hard to convince me that a great sense of humor is a characteristic of the syndrome. However, we, the church, fear what we don't understand, and are too damned lazy to find out what it is that we fear. If we did take the time, our perspectives would change.
The degree to which the church has not participated in dispelling falsehoods and telling the truth,
the degree to which the church stigmatizes and excludes people from the typical programs of the church,
the degree to which the church says that such people are not a priority for ministry to the point of putting it into their budgets,
the degree to which the church doesn't go out of its way to bring people with down syndrome into its fellowship,
the degree to which national church leaders are not speaking out against the evil of prenatal diagnosis and abortion of children with down syndrome,
is the degree to which we are complicit in this evil.
We are complicit in this evil.
The good news is that God is a forgiving God. He is forgiving if we denounce our complicity and repent. It starts with you (as trite as it sounds).