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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  • Michael Pullmann

     Geez, that’s terrible. Hey, when I die, no one start a hate group named after me, okay?

  • Darkrose

    That straw man you’re building is lovely.

    The ADA comprises a huge number of specific provisions. To imply, as you do, that any renovation to any historic building is automatically more expensive because of the ADA is ridiculous. The ADA only applies to public accomodations, for one thing, and renovating older buildings can be expensive for reasons having nothing to do with the ADA (for example, retrofitting 100-year-old buildings so they don’t fall down in an earthquake). 

    And of course, you seem to be lumping all of “the disabled” into one tidy box. The ADA includes things like making websites for public institutions useable with screen readers for the visually impaired, and treating mental illness the same as physical illnesses for the purposes of insurance coverage. 

    Ensuring that disabled people will be able to participate as fully as possible in our society is not a luxury. It’s a necessity, if for no other reason than self-interest: the collapse you predict is going to come a lot faster if people who are disabled can’t work and can’t get into places to spend money.

  • Joykins
  • David Peterson

    Just that we won’t be quite so rich and that we’ll have to pick and chose. Some locations will undoubtedly chose to keep providing amenities for the disabled but when faced with the costs others won’t. Some may adopt building styles that would be very expensive to make accessible so they will chose not to. 

  • hidden_urchin

    Yes, but won’t someone please think of the poor architects?  I mean, with additional design parameters, they might actually have to resort to creative problem solving.  Oh, the horrors!

    Design constraints drive innovation and the great architects and engineers are the ones who take advantage of this fertile ground instead of crying over the difficulty of the task they’ve been set. 

    ETA: I’m not really replying directly to what you wrote here, JarredH. (I agreed with everything in your post.) I was just springboarding off your comment.

  • David Peterson

    My mistake…

  • Daughter

     Great Britain hasn’t done that badly. I imagine that some of what is lost in giving up the wealth your empire provides is made up for what is gained by not having to have military outposts all over the globe.

  • Daughter

     Although from Wiki’s description, it certainly sounds like John Birch would have approved of the group. His parents certainly did.

  • But surely, one day we will become a poor nation!  If we don’t drown the disabled, how will we afford another hundred attack submarines? Priorities, people!

  • David Peterson

    Well my comment only spoke to buildings, I can’t say much to anything else about. I don’t believe that I said that everything about ADA was bad, and I could be wrong about the Empire thing just stating my limited perspective (as are you). A necessity in the Southern part of the USA is air conditioning in the summer, especially for the elderly but that doesn’t mean that everyone can afford it or that it will be available indefinitely, just as heating is required in the North. Just because we really want something bad enough doesn’t mean that we will have it. 

  • I suspect it’s The Daily Heil’s latest utterly bullshit screed against the NHS, claiming they’re killing babies against parents’ wishes. They’re citing a British Medical Journal article that says literally the exact opposite, so anyone with even half an ounce of common sense can easily see what bollocks they’re talking, but that’s not the point. They’re now essentially professional trolls, printing anything that will get clicks (and thus ad revenue), but Fischer and the rest of the anti-Reality brigade are using it as evidence of the evil of TEH SOSHULISM!

    Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2240075/Now-sick-babies-death-pathway-Doctors-haunting-testimony-reveals-children-end-life-plan.html

    The actual BMJ article is behind a paywall, but here are some quotes (via CharlesRB on the CBR Message Board):

    The voice on the other end of the phone describes a newborn baby and a
    lengthy list of unexpected congenital anomalies. I have a growing sense
    of dread as I listen.

    The parents want ‘nothing done’ because they feel that these
    anomalies are not consistent with a basic human experience. I know that
    once decisions are made, life support will be withdrawn.

    Assuming this baby survives, we will be unable to give feed, and the parents will not want us to use artificial means to do so.

    Regrettably, my predictions are correct. I realise as I go to meet the
    parents that this will be the tenth child for whom I have cared after a
    decision has been made to forgo medically provided feeding.


    They wish for their child to die quickly once the feeding and fluids are stopped.

    They wish for pneumonia. They wish for no suffering. They wish for no visible changes to their precious baby.

    Their wishes, however, are not consistent with my experience. Survival
    is often much longer than most physicians think; reflecting on my
    previous patients, the median time from withdrawal of hydration to death
    was ten days.

    Parents and care teams are unprepared for the sometimes severe changes
    that they will witness in the child’s physical appearance as severe
    dehydration ensues.

    I try to make these matters clear from the outset so that these
    parents do not make a decision that they will come to regret. I try to
    prepare them for the coming collective agony that we will undoubtedly
    share, regardless of their certainty about their decision.

    It is draining to be the most responsible physician. Everyone is looking to me to preside over and support this process.

    I am honest with the nurse when I say it is getting more and more
    difficult to make my legs walk me on to this unit as the days elapse,
    that examining the baby is an indescribable mixture of compassion,
    revulsion, and pain.

    Some say withdrawing medically provided hydration and nutrition is akin
    to withdrawing any other form of life support. Maybe, but that is not
    how it feels. The one thing that helps me a little is the realisation
    that this process is necessarily difficult. It needs to be.

    Not exactly rejoicing in death there, eh?

  • The_L1985

     …Infants survive trisomy 13 long enough to be born?  I was under the impression that the deformities caused by an extra 13th chromosome tended to be so severe that miscarriage was practically guaranteed.

    And yes, Fischer either believes, or wants other people to believe, that doctors are trying to “save money” by refusing to treat people with severe disabilities.  This is a very common topic of discussion in so-called “pro-life” circles: the belief that people who don’t want abortion banned, also don’t want babies with Down Syndrome and other severe birth defects to live.  I’ve seen it too many times to count, from the “inside.”

  • David Peterson

    Extremely good point.

    Great Britain gave up it’s empire (after a bit of hesitation, WWI and WWII) while the USA currently seems determined to have it’s empire pried from it’s cold dead hands. If we were to do as Great Britain we would probably handle the transition better. 

  • Tricksterson

    I don’t know, with the possible exception of the guy in Moonraker I can’t come up with a Bond villain operating at this level of crazy.  Evil yes, but more connected with reality.

  • The_L1985

     It’s also sort of implying that parents don’t want what is in the best interests of the child….which is just downright creepy.

  • Tricksterson


  • The_L1985

     Too late.  Those people over there have decided to start an anti-green-eyes club.  It’s called the Pullmann Society. :P

  • The_L1985

     Everyone knows the sky is clear.

  • Tricksterson

    No.  And I mean, not that i don’t understand what incident, real or (and I’m betting on this) imagined he’s refffering to.  I mean that I look at that statement and it has not coherency.  Oh, individually all the words are perfectly functional but put together, they make no fucking sense.

  • Daughter

     Is there another way? Because the story described – whichever side of the national health care debate you fall on (and I’m pro-universal health care) is horrifying.

    If a parent chooses not to have life-saving surgeries or treatments, why does that have to mean that feeding is withdrawn? Why can’t they continue to feed, but let nature take its course, which may mean a few more months of life rather than 10 days? Or is it that if feeding continues, it will become a Terry Schiavo-like situation, where the child stays alive for years as essentially a vegetable?

  •  Who, exactly is being hated?

  • Darkrose

    I’m…a little lost here.
    How is air conditioning comparable to making it possible for disabled people to use public services?

  • Magic_Cracker

    I see your point, but I have to wonder about Blofeld. While individually, his various plots and capers were connected to reality (give me money or I blow you up), one can argue that his overall strategy of repeatedly and intentionally fucking with the two most powerful countries in the world for fun and marginal profit isn’t quite logically sound.

  • Daughter

     Excessive heat can be tough for people with breathing or heart problems.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Every who really knows knows there is no sky.

  • WalterC

    Do we really need an “empire” to take care of the poor and disabled? The British Empire faded away quite some time ago, and I’m not sure but I think their welfare state is probably stronger now than it as during, for example, the Victorian Era. I think it’s true that America will likely not be the wealthiest nation in the world for all of eternity, and it probably won’t be able to afford to maintain direct military interventions in half a dozen countries forever either, but you need to add some more steps between that and the possible need to dispense with some of the protections we have for the poor and/or the disabled. 

  • Apocalypse Review

    Because I don’t feel any need to engage “constructively” with someone who uses high-flown rhetoric about the beauty and grandeur and walkability and other paeans to architecture as an excuse to stop building anything that can still look nice AND accommodate those who cannot as easily move about as those of us with two working legs.

  • WalterC

    Oh, and the connection between the architectural concerns and this treaty isn’t exactly well-established either. 

  • Tricksterson

    Something that neither the Daily Mail nor Fischer  bring up:  This was done at the parents request, the babies were not taken away from them.  Plus it’s anti euthanasia laws that force these kids to die slowly from dehydration and starvation instead of being given a quick, painless shot.

  • 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?

    Here in the UK there is a protocol that is often used to ensure that the last few hours of a terminally ill persons life is are as easy and comfortable as possible. It is known as the Liverpool Care Pathway. I has been used since the early 1990’s and part of its purpose is to ensure that futile medical interventions are avoided.
    Recently it became controversial due to the Daily Mail getting hold of someone who thought that a relative could have lived a bit longer if they hadn’t been placed on the pathway. The Mail renamed it the “Liverpool death pathway”.  To my mind much of the controversy is artificial, with the Mail taking people who are having difficulty accepting a relative or friends death and playing on those emotions. 
    Part of the protocol does involve the withdrawal of food and water, mainly because people can no longer eat or drink, and inserting a cannula to supply this intravenously is often impossible and this is what Fischer has picked up on.
    All I know is that when it comes to my last few days or hours my hope is that I will be placed on the Liverpool pathway.

  • David Peterson

    Sorry for the confusion. See Daughter’s response. The elderly often die in heat waves when a blackout occurs air conditioners stop working. It is tragic but life can some times be tragic. 

    Also, I’m not necessarily opposed to “making it possible for disabled people to use public services”. My comment was to another comment that it was a necessity and I described another necessity which can sometimes go away no matter how much you desire it to stay.I’ll try to restate what I said earlier with a bit more eloquence, one day we may need to change our laws (for reasons that may not be apparent to us at the moment) and having a treaty limit our options may not be the best idea, especially if we are already doing what the treaty says. 
    I’ll just get out ahead of the crowd and say that someday I may end up disabled and then everything I say will come right back around to haunt me, such is life…

  • Darkrose

    Well, sure. I’m an asthmatic living in Sacramento. I get that; I don’t get what that has to do with whether we can “afford” the ADA.

  • David Peterson

    I’m not sure that walk-ability is more of a high-flown concept then accessibility, but your point is taken. Only time will tell how the dice will fall. 

  • David Peterson

    A very limited fragile connection in fact. Just what my limited interests have lead me to look into. 

  • Oh cool, another Sacramento-an

  • Darkrose

    I guess what I’m hearing you say is, “Yeah, well, sometimes people in wheelchairs won’t be able to get where they need to go, and that’s tragic, but maybe one day we won’t be able to afford to provide access so we’ll….?” What? Get rid of the ADA and make it legal to have public buildings with stairs and no elevators, and it’s tragic but so it goes?” Is that really what you’re saying?

  • wraithnix

    Having grown up with someone stuck in a wheelchair, it would amaze you how many places are simply unavailable to disabled people, especially back in the days before the ADA.  I remember when my dad went back to college, he had to be very careful to use the restroom at home before he went to classes, and not eat or drink anything at school, because his wheelchair couldn’t fit in the door of any of the restrooms on campus.  Even the doors in the so-called “handicapped” restrooms were too small.  And this wasn’t a small, backwater school;  this was the Dearborn campus of the University of Michigan.  When the ADA became law, UoM finally fixed their restrooms;  even though it had been a known problem for years and years, and even some protests, the school ignored the problem and refused to do anything about it until forced by the law.

    The ADA, though expensive, is simply necessary.  A sizable part of our population is physically disabled;  refusing to meet their needs amounts to ignoring that population.  Beside, like another poster said, everybody gets old;  why shouldn’t we spend our money to invest in our own future?

  • Kirala

     *googles* Okay. Four more years till I can try to vote one of the obfuscating senators out of office. Richard Burr, I shall not forget.

  • David Peterson

    Well pretty much. Look at Venice, one of the single most in-accessible cities but that was the way they chose to build the place and one day your decedents (or the decedents of someone you know) might just make the same choice. 

  • Fusina

     I had a niece born with trisomy 18. She lived for two days, her heart and lungs could not move enough blood/oxygen for her to survive. Her muscles were not developed enough, and even a heart/lung transplant would not have aided her. She was born sentenced to an early death–if you think about it, we are all sentenced to die at some point. Dunno what Fischer was trying for, but for anyone who has had this tragedy happen–well, the parents are RTCs as defined by this blog, and maybe they will have their eyes opened as a result of this nonsense. I can believe in miracles, can’t I?

  • Magic_Cracker

    Me Hercule! Beneath all your verbiage there is nothing but platitudinous crap we already know… Yes, tragedies happen. Yes, tough choices are tough. Yes, what works today may not work tomorrow. Yes, actions have unintended consequences.
    An uncertain future (and the future is always uncertain) is no reason to not do today what we think is best, and to let such uncertainty hinder you is a recipe of apathy and inaction.

    On this specific topic: If the U.S. were subject to this treaty and in the future found itself no longer able to comply, we could withdraw from it, as countries do when a treaty no longer serves their interests. More likely, the U.S. would just ignore it. Before we find ourselves in that situation, I’d like to think we’d have a national discussion over whether it’s worth not accommodating the disabled in public places in order to keep open 700+ military bases worldwide.

  • Magic_Cracker

    I’m looking reaaaaalllly haaaaarrrrd at Venice (squints) and still don’t see it — “it” being your point. If your point is that some day our descendants might have to do differently because of  material constraints yet undetermined, then I don’t see the point of your point.

  • guest

    I do this kind of work for a living, and no one has a problem making sure buildings can be used for the people who pay for them (i.e. taxpayers and customers).  It’s often the case that with historic or vernacular buildings we need to be creative, but no one actually objects to the concept in principle.  One could make the same argument about any building code–it’s so expensive to make sure wiring is inspected and meets minimum standards; forcing us to pay the expense of meeting electrical codes keeps us from building buildings more cheaply so poor people can afford to buy them.

  • Magic_Cracker

    …forcing us to pay the expense of meeting electrical codes keeps us from building buildings more cheaply so poor people can afford to buy them.

    And in any case, tragedies happen. Such is life. And our ancestors may not even use electricity.

  • Darkrose

    “Our descendants may regress to the level of technology of medieval Venice”? I don’t know; I got nothing.

  • guest

    …or something like that.  :)

  • LL

    What I got is that if we pass laws that make people do stuff to help other people, it will bankrupt the country. 

    Maybe I’m not seeing the nuances. 

  • Magic_Cracker

    Shit, I meant “descendants might not use electricity.”

  • Nate

    I appreciate that you are reading about the affect of the ADA on building types and affordability/cost of construction.  

    Most of us will, at some point in our lives, be disabled (1 in 4 of current 20 year olds is the current statistic).   Don’t think about providing accessibility as an ‘us vs. them’ or ‘poor vs. them’ issue.  Its about providing access for US, you and me. 

    The benefits of the ADA are broad.  When I am coming home with groceries, in my highly walk-able neighborhood, what do I leave at the foot of the stairs, my 2 year old in her stroller or my sacks of food?  Elevators cost about 60 to 80k.  Its really not that big of a cost, nor is it required as broadly as you might think.  I’ve designed (and ‘built’) 2 story office buildings and apartments without an elevator.  In that case its a matter of providing equal facilitation on the ground floor. 

    full disclosure, I’m an architect. 

  •  Or is it that if feeding continues, it will become a Terry Schiavo-like
    situation, where the child stays alive for years as essentially a

    No, they’d stay alive for a few more days at most. That’s written into the procedures the doctors have to follow – they can only remove feeding where the child is going to die regardless. The terrible choice these parents are faced with is, basically, how long would you like your child to live in unimaginable pain for. I’m sure the doctors do their absolute best to manage it, but that’s balanced, as Tricksterston notes, by anti-euthanasia laws. It’s one of the worst situations imaginable, and I cannot bring myself to judge anyone caught up in such terrible circumstances.

    But Bryan Fischer and the Daily Mail have no such compunctions. Something tells me they might not be so damn sure of themselves if they were the ones in a hospital bed, knowing that no matter what happened all they could look forward to was painful death.