Evangelicals vs. Persons With Disabilities: The real dangers of fighting against imaginary monsters

President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990, and he remains deservedly proud of having done so.

That American law came to be seen internationally as a model for other countries, and Bush’s son, President George W. Bush, helped to negotiate a treaty formally encouraging other nations to adopt for themselves the standards and reforms that Americans enshrined in the ADA.

Jesus isn’t fooled by this crafty ruse. He knows this is just a ploy to promote legal abortion and the Antichrist’s one-world government.

President Barack Obama signed the treaty — the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities — in 2009. The treaty has already been ratified by 126 countries. And, finally this week, the U.S. Senate voted on its ratification.

The treaty had the support of organizations that represent the disabled, veterans and business. It had the support of every living president from either party, and was endorsed by former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who sat in a wheelchair in the Capitol this week to rally his party and his former colleagues in support of the treaty.

And then the Senate voted against the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

Treaties must be ratified with a two-thirds majority in the Senate, but 38 Republican senators voted against ratifying this convention.

Because of abortion and because of the Antichrist.

Did this treaty have anything at all to do with abortion or the Antichrist? No. Nothing at all to do with either of those, but American evangelicals aren’t going to let a little thing like reality get in the way of some oh-so-enjoyable self-righteous masturbation.

So evangelical Christians led the fight against this treaty. They lobbied against it, helped prevent its ratification, and then celebrated their triumph against abortion and the Antichrist even though in reality it was actually a “triumph” against the rights of persons with disabilities all over the world.

Tim Fernholz tries to explain the inexplicable in a report titled, “Why the US just rejected a treaty based on its own laws“:

Here’s a lesson in America’s weird political institutions: How Christian conservatives led the Republican party to reject a treaty that endorsed existing American law.

The US Senate voted today on ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People 61-38, but the majority fell short of the 66 votes needed for ratification. The 38 votes against came from Republican senators, most of whom signed a letter promising not to support the bill. The letter was organized by Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who said the treaty threatened US sovereignty and could force the parents of disabled children to send them to public schools. It drew the support of home-schoolers who also fretted that the treaty was, among other things, a sly way to force America to adopt laws enshrining “abortion rights, homosexual rights, and demands the complete disarmament of all people.”

… The UN treaty is based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, enacted 22 years ago, and if it were ratified, no US laws would have to change. It was negotiated by the previous Republican president, George W. Bush, and is supported by prominent conservatives like Senator John McCain and former Senate majority leader Bob Dole (both of whom, thanks to war wounds, are Americans with disabilities). The US Chamber of Commerce supported the treaty, since it would help level the international playing field for American companies who already comply with the act, and potentially open foreign markets to US disabilities technology.

That’s a symbolic slap in the face to the 19 million Americans with disabilities, and an insult to all who love them.

The Republican senators’ weird rejection of this treaty won’t have much tangible effect on anyone here in the U.S., since the ADA is already the law of the land here. But this refusal to support the rights of the disabled internationally will tangibly harm people in other countries where such reforms and legal protections remain a distant dream.

This vote also harms America’s leadership, influence and reputation in the world. It makes America look ignorant, petty and spiteful. It makes us look that way because 38 Republican senators caused America to be ignorant, petty and spiteful.

And this ugly, harmful stupidity is all based on fantasy — based on nothing more than evangelicals’ preoccupation with pretending that they’re waging a heroic battle against Satanic baby-killer abortionists and against the one-world government of the Antichrist.

These monsters do not exist. But evangelicals’ fantasy role-playing battles against their favorite imaginary monsters has, once again, led them to behave monstrously.

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  • histrogeek

    One particularly nasty piece of irony was the denunciations of clauses relating to “reproductive freedom.” Naturally the tinfoil hat crowd saw mandatory abortion and euthanasia (Ricky Box Turtle made some weird weeping fear mongering on that). Yet those clauses were clearer meant to do the opposite of what they were alleged to be. They were meant to protect disabled people from mandatory sterilizations and other macabre practices, which were  practiced in some western countries even into the 1970s.
    So in stopping imaginary monsters of mandatory abortions in the United States conducted by the minions of Ban Ki Moon, they are potentially allowing men and women with disabilities in other countries to be sterilized or otherwise have their reproductive rights suppressed. Nice job assholes. 

  • Magic_Cracker

    These are some evil ass motherfuckers. This is some serious Bond villain/comic-book villain evil-for-evil’s-sake bullshit.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Okay, now that I have that out of my system:

    I would like the news media to start using the phrase “…was blocked by members who believe that [the treaty, the legislation, the policy, etc.] is the first step toward a U.N. takeover of the United States…” every time some perfectly good treaty or piece of legislation or policy is defeated for these bullshit reasons. It would be both fair and accurate (then wingnuts themselves cite this as their reason) and with time and repetition*, it would show the madness to their method.

    *Not everybody supports all treaties all the time, but everybody supports some treaties some of the time.

  • Emcee, cubed

    I wondered if it was a sign of progress that I didn’t hear anything about Glenn Beck’s newest anti-UN “thriller” being published until I saw it on the New Releases shelf at Barnes & Noble last week. Really, one would think that after his last attempt got universally panned, he wouldn’t have tried again, but I guess there’s just no teaching some people…

    But apparently not, as this vote proves pretty clearly.

  • Carstonio

    Jon Stewart points out that the folks warning of the treaty threatening freedom are the same ones who dismiss it as having no enforcement power. What color is the sky in their world?

  • vsm

    This vote also harms America’s leadership, influence and reputation in
    the world. It makes America look ignorant, petty and spiteful.

    Actually, we mostly just shrug  and think it’s business as usual.

  • DCFem

    Let’s see, republicans have managed to alienate African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, gay people, young women, Muslims (and all other non-evangelicals), and the poor. So they must have realized that people with disabilities were the only group left who they hadn’t harmed with their scorched earth policies. This gang of idiots is going to knock the bottom out of hell when they get there.

  • Jesus wept.

  • David Peterson

    Not really sure why you think it is monstrous to not sign a treaty that says that we will continue to do what we already do. There can be consequences for even good deeds. 

    I’m interested in architecture, particularly in buildings designed to last and building styles that lend themselves well to having walk-able neighborhoods (having walk-able neighborhoods can greatly affect affordability considering the high cost of car ownership). I’m my reading, I’ve seen multiple times architects hindered in being able to build affordable buildings by the requirements of the American’s with Disabilities Act. Buildings over a certain size, height, number of occupants, number of adjacent walls (shared walls between apartments/houses) have requirements and restrictions placed on them. They can require expensive elevators in cases of a two or three story downtown style building or require other modifications which make a project which was designed to be affordable illegal to actually build because it would not be accessible. Building styles that have been built for centuries are now illegal to build without redesigns that make them unaffordable. …so some laws meant to help the disabled in turn hurt the poor. Its a choice that one day we may want to change our minds about, but if we tie our hands with international treaties then it will be a harder change to make if at some point we do decide to make these changes. Also, our wealth currently affords us with the option to accommodate the disabled, but as with the tale of the prodigal son we as a nation have been spending our inheritance freely and with little regard to our long term future. 

  • Carstonio

    That’s actually worse, that the GOP’s new heights (or depths) of naked cruelty fail to shock people overseas. Someone like Paul Ryan could openly call for turning seniors into Soylent Green and folks in Buenos Aires or Kinshasha might just roll their eyes.

  •  …so some laws meant to help the disabled in turn hurt the poor.

    You speak as if these are mutually exclusive groups of people.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Bryan Fischer says, “Disabled newborn babies in the UK are being put, oftentimes overriding the wishes of parents, on this death pathway where no matter what the parents want the doctors say this kid cannot live, severely disabled, too many congenital deformities, we think the best thing for this kid is just to be starved and dehydrated to death.”

    Does anyone have any idea what he’s referring to?

  • Darkrose

    The push to “accomodate the disabled”, as you put it, is going to be increasing as the population ages. You can argue that most humans are only temporarily abled, and that if you live long enough, odds are that you’ll be the one needing “accomodation”. It’s not “oh, we’re doing you poor crippled people a favor as you seem to be implying.”

  • Carstonio

    Whatever the merits or flaws of your argument, you’re mischaracterizing Fred’s point. He’s not necessarily saying that opposing the treaty is monstrous. He’s condemning the self-righteous fantasies of his fellow evangelicals.

  • LL

    Yeah, I think by now the rest of the world is familiar with our work. I doubt this will shock any of them. 

  • Ross Thompson

    Does anyone have any idea what he’s referring to?

    I thought we’d learned by now: Everything that comes out of Bryan Fischer’s mouth is the most destructive type of lie. He makes shit up, comfortable in the knowledge that the only people he cares about will just believe him, because he’s a Nice Christian Man, and Nice Christians don’t lie.

  • Jessica_R

    I’m looking forward to the religious right shitfit that’s about to get thrown over openly gay Neil Patrick Harris hosting this year’s national Christmas tree lighting ceremony. 

  • Sorbus

    Possibly this could refer to conditions like trisomy 13 or trisomy 18 which have really low survival rates. But all the evidence I’ve read (and I’ve read a lot of papers on this) suggests that (a) ethicists work WITH not against the parents, and (b) if the children are going to die, it’s because of the congenital malformations (e.g. incredibly complex and difficult/expensive to fix heart defects) not because someone is literally deciding to starve them to death. Also (c) survival rates even with aggressive treatments are really low. I don’t know what Fischer thinks is going on here; does he think that there’s actually some kind of a conspiracy going on where doctors claim to have aggressively treated the children but are actually doing nothing? Or is he, more likely, just talking out of his ass based on maybe one case he heard about from a friend of a friend who read a news article about someone they’d never met?

  • Carstonio

    Remember the flunky at the New Frontiersman reading the letter about the effects of fluoride on sexual orientation? I’m waiting for someone to claim the same effect from LED lights on Christmas trees. “Thanks GE for making my son gay.”

  • David Peterson

     …so some laws meant to help the disabled in turn hurt the poor who are not disabled.  Does this satisfy your need for precision? 

  • I read Santorums “thought’s on this matter over at WND.  As much as I was able to glean he seems to think that some language about the ‘best interest of the child’ is some kind of threat to the good Christian father’s absolute lordship over the home.  To this I suppose you could add the old Nativist impulse that presumes simply being non-American to be in itself proof of hostility.  I don’t know.

  • I don’t know specifics, but my offhand impression is that it’s probably much like what Santorum said about Dutch euthanasia of the elderly, and their “don’t euthanize me” bracelets.  Very much the same cloth from which it’s cut, it seems to me.

  • flat

    the stupidity it hurts.

  • “No, John, YOU are the monster.”

    And then John was a zombie.

  • David Peterson

    It more of, we are so astonishingly wealthy that we can finally take care of this problem, but that wealth won’t last forever. As one of my favorite authors says 5% of the worlds population (the U.S.A. in case you were wondering) uses 1/4th of the worlds energy and 1/3rd of the worlds industrial products, its not that the rest of the world wouldn’t like to use the these as well it has more to do with that we have military bases in 140 counties around the world that enforces trade that favors the US. One day the US empire will end, just as the other world empires have ended (Spain, France, British Empire) and we will have to once again learn to live within our means. We will get through some way or another but some things will have to go (not necessarily ADA but possibly ADA along with hundreds of other things we would rather like to have) and we will make those choices or reality will make those choices for us. 

  • David Peterson

    Good point, many do like to have fantasies of self-righteousness which is one of the reasons I like this blog since he points them out. I guess it seemed that I sensed a bit too much wafting off of him this time for my own liking. Agreed on his point that they are opposing it for possibly silly reasons. 

  • Michael Pullmann

    Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and convince John Birch to start a bowling team instead.

  • DCFem

    Santorum is making the same point people involved in witch hunts always make — that he (and his fellow evangelicals) are fighting a war against evil baby killers. That is at the bottom of every stupid thing that they do. And he (like Sarah Palin before him) would not give a rats ass about people with disabilities if he didn’t have a child with a disability.

  •  It’s not a need for precision.  You were trying to paint a situation which inherently pits the needs of two disenfranchised groups of people as competing in a zero sum game.  I’m simply pointing out that painting the situation as such ignores the fact that the groups are not necessarily two distinct groups.  I would expand on the point by noting that I find the whole idea of pitting disenfranchised people and their needs against each other rather reprehensible and a common tactic used by those with relative privilege compared to those groups in order to maintain the status quo.

    So no, I think the solution here is to find a way to keep housing affordable for all people while still accommodating those people with disabilities.  Not decided which disenfranchised groups of people we’re willing to toss by the wayside.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Actually, John Birch had nothing to do with the society that bears his name.

  • ‘ve seen multiple times architects hindered in being able to build
    affordable buildings by the requirements of the American’s with
    Disabilities Act.


  • Random_Lurker

    I found Nikky C.!

    “It drew the support of home-schoolers who also fretted that the treaty
    was, among other things, a sly way to force America to adopt laws
    enshrining [etc]… and demands the complete
    disarmament of all people.'”

  • Madhabmatics

     Yessss, it is people in wheelchairs holding us back.

  • Madhabmatics

    Once we have the moral bravery to dump the disabled into an ocean, only then will the budget be balanced.

  • Robyrt

    I’m confused. How is that image even relevant? Peterson is hardly whining or trolling, he has a specific relevant point with a detailed explanation. Way to shut down the discussion while contributing nothing.

  • Magic_Cracker

    “All I wanted to do is build an affordable building that excludes the disabled! O WOE!”

    In other news, concern troll trolls for concerns.

  • Jim Roberts

    And let’s make this clear as well – it’s possible that the American empire will end, but that by no means requires that we assume that the American empire will be left poor and decrepit.

  • Madhabmatics

    Much like the Spanish and English empires did after they fell, we will have to go about making sure that there is no care for the disabled

    what do you mean that the Spanish and English haven’t cut support for the disabled

    nooooooo my post-apocalyptic fantasies

  • stly92

    And once again the relevance of Fred’s Left Behind series is proven. Even at this late date, this treaty was voted down in the name of “Take THAT, Nicolae Carpathia!” Seriously, that’s pretty much the official line.

  • Magic_Cracker

    But I’ve been practicing my big “We can’t afford to be merciful!” speech and I’ve already rented the Humungus costume!

  •  “Blue! No, gre….AHHHHHH!”

  • David Peterson

    Here are the answers to your survey:

    *Blog Post
    *Someone made a blog post that I didn’t agree with.
    *(possibly) I lost an argument in a chat room
    *All of the above
    *I wrote a six thousand word response

  • David Peterson

    Well historic buildings can be difficult to renovate because the second you do any renovations you are required to bring them up to code (making renovations more expensive if one of the things you need to add is a elevator to accommodate the disabled). Not necessarily the people in the wheelchairs holding us back so much as lack of provisions for not following the rules when the rules don’t make sense. 

  • What Fischer and Santorum are doing is beyond lying. It’s slander, and a particularly vile form of slander at that. Santorum is claiming that the phrase “best interest of the child” means that the UN is going to start murdering children. I do not believe that any person in his right mind could believe that, and as much as we joke about these guys being crazy, Santorum is clearly compos mentis.

    To put it another way: These good, Christian men are not only violating the Ten Commandments by bearing false witness, but they have the gall to do so in the name of God. Why aren’t more people offended by this? (Rhetorical question; I obviously know the answer)

  • David Peterson

    Wow, I feel such love from my fellow Christians that are ‘rightly’ hating only those other Christians that ‘incorrectly’ hate other people. …so the trick appears to be to hate, just hate the ‘right’ people. …or perhaps we should both stick with the classic: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

  • Daughter

     That’s not entirely true. There are grandfather clauses that apply. I worked in a 100-year old building that was undergoing renovations. When it was determined that adding an elevator was beyond the budget, we were told that we didn’t have to do so per said clause. However, the areas we worked on had to be brought up to code – for example, since the bathrooms were one area undergoing renovation, we had to install handicapped stalls.

  • David Peterson

    That’s true but it probably won’t be left with the wealth that we are used to. Hopefully we can keep the good bits…

  • Jim Roberts

    Presuming that “wealth” as a concept will be a thing by that point.

  • Madhabmatics

    unless you are in a wheelchair and then I hope you like not being able to go in buildings i guess

  • Magic_Cracker

    I’m not Christian.