*Know if you are taking the time to read this, I am grateful for you! I apologize if our views do not align about this treaty, but even if they don't, I'm still thankful you stopped by!!
You may not know about it, or even care about it. But the U.N.'s Treaty for Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities was defeated.
The saddest part, to me, is that so many of the organizations my family and I support were vehemently opposed to this treaty. The treaty was going to require that churches have x amount of parking spaces for people in wheelchairs. It was going to mean that buildings had to be accessible. And oh my goodness, a lot of people were opposed to that! I mean, why would we want people in wheelchairs to have access to church?!? This greatly upset many!
The treaty was also going to impact education for children with disabilities. These were the main things the homeschool organizations we supported were opposed to. They did not want the U.N. telling them what to do in their churches, because that might mean that religious freedom comes next. They don't want people taking their children away from them because they choose to home school.
I, too, do not want my religious freedom touched. I do not want the government telling me what education option to choose for MY child. But from what I understand, this treaty was not going to touch that.
This treaty was, however, going to make churches accessible. And this was the real kicker for me. Because, really, guys-- Why aren't our churches already accessible?!
If we, as a church, claim to love the least of these, then why aren't we filled to the brim with wheelchair accessible parking spots? Why doesn't every church have a special needs ministry? Why do we have to be forced by the government to make room for people in wheelchairs in our churches?! I am embarrassed that anyone even had to write this treaty. Because the Church should be setting the standard for how people with disabilities are treated; not the United Nations. How sad. How truly, truly sad. There are so many children and adults in the United States who have a disability. With this disability comes so many struggles that the church could help them through!! Families with a newly diagnosed child are hurting...in fact, many families with special needs children are divorced. It's estimated that about 85% of families who have a child with Autism get a divorce. Might this rate go down if churches made more of an effort to reach out to these families?
I have been blessed with a wonderful family who recognizes that Arizona's public education system is not the answer for us. They have taken the initiative and have provided us with an amazing blessing: the ability to home school. Not all families, however, are able to do this, and I realize that.
There are children all around the world with disabilities who stay home from school because their parents don't know about services for the disabled (or there isn't such a thing in their country). These children are called a "burden to society"...but they have so much to contribute if only given the chance! I am sure this treaty is not perfect, because government is not perfect. It may not do much for these children...
But what if it did?
What if this treaty made sure that all Deaf children had access to sign language, and all children with disabilities were able to go to school? What if this made a difference in the lives of the millions of Disabled children and adults in the world? What if....
But that "what if" can't happen, because this treaty was defeated. That hope that I held in my heart was stomped out by the very organizations I supported. Generation Joshua, The Home School Legal Defense, The Busy Home School Mom...they all followed their political party so strictly that they forget to follow our true leader, Jesus. Jesus didn't tell the paralytic's friends to stop lowering him down from that mat...he honored their efforts by blessing their friend.
I pray that soon we will all be able to see through God's eyes--eyes of compassion and love first for others, with ourselves merely as an afterthought, if we have to be a thought at all.
But until then, I am thankful that even when we make mistakes and forget to love first, God is just as loving and full of forgiveness.
If you have already made up your mind to be against this treaty, I ask that you look at it from someone else's eyes. It's too late to get it passed, I know, but it isn't too late for you to decide you are going to start LOVING before you blindly follow.
P.S.--I'm blessed to attend a church that has a wonderful special needs ministry. If you are interested in learning more about Disability ministry, please visit: http://scottsdalebible.com/ministries/special-ministries and Joniandfriends.org