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

Evangelicals vs. Persons With Disabilities: The real dangers of fighting against imaginary monsters December 6, 2012

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.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I can’t imagine someone in post-empire america looking back and saying “Yep… Stopping manufacturing stuff and converting our entire economy over to finance might not have been the *best* move, but what really did it in for us was when we started building wheelchair ramps everywhere.”

    Heck, not even that incredibly racist yellow peril Chinese Professor PSA would claim that “Then they turned their backs on their values and insisted on accomodations for people with disabilities. So now… they work for us…”

    (Seriously, that commercial is so racist I expected Christopher Lee to be playing the chinese professor)

  • guest

    Another story for Mr Peterson:

    Several years ago [beautiful listed building] in [prominent place] was closed for several years due to [major required upgrade].  Naturally as significant work was being done on it this work needed to include ADA accommodations.  This building isn’t strictly Beaux Arts but has many Beaux Arts design features, including a massive set of stairs to a main entrance elevated above ground level.  The designers [not me] were stumped about how to make this entrance accessible (as you know, main entrances are required to be accessible–it’s not acceptable to make disabled people enter a building through an alternative entrance, as that’s demeaning).  They went to [important ADA decisionmaker], who is a wheelchair user himself, for guidance.  His answer was, ‘it would be a crime to deface this magnificent building–let’s figure out something else.’  I think everyone uses the side entrance nowadays; even non-disabled people were never thrilled about walking up a zillion steps just to get into the place.

  • ohiolibrarian

     Misplaced “and”. The mother was poor and a person of color. FULL STOP. The baby was terminal, so I don’t think the hospital was necessarily wrong in not wanting to use resources on a lost cause. A caveat on the hospital’s actions only.

  • Ima Pseudonym

     Sure it saves money.  They can just fire most of them and then rehire new employees at a fraction of their pay, especially when the economy’s in the shitter and there’s boatloads of people desperate for any work they can find.  They can also do what some of our local douchebag businesses do–hire people, then find a reason to fire them just before their benefits kick in. 

  • DorothyD

    And… today Michigan is set to become the 24th state with a right-to-work law, passed during the lame-duck session. So much for Gov. Rick “not on my agenda, too controversial” Snyder. Michigan, of all places.

  • Lori

    It’s breaking my heart that Michigan is doing this. “Right To Work” is such a rotten, terrible lie and the fact that Michigan, of all places has been sucked in is truly disheartening. It’s almost enough to make me break my rule about wishing for bad things to happen to people.

  • DorothyD

    Yeah, right-to-work-for-less. The people I know who are most affected are women – nurses, teachers, a few of whom are taking personal days to pay a visit to our lawmakers in Lansing. Police and fire are exempt.

    (My spouse works in the auto industry, non-union but a lot of his job benefits were the result of union efforts anyway.)

    Democrats argue that such a law should be put on the ballot, and decided by the voters instead of the state’s lawmakers. The right-to-work bill is structured so that it cannot be recalled by a statewide ballot initiative, so if it’s passed by the legislature and
    signed by the governor, voters will have no direct say in the matter. – ABCNews 

  • Lori

    The fact that the evil bastards exempt police and firefighters from the law pretty much says all that needs to be said about it. It’s terrible and it totally screws workers and they’re admitting it flat out by putting in that loophole. They’re clearly aware that if they tried this ish on the cops and the firefighters it would be the end of the GOP in Michigan.

  • Uh, right, because I shouldn’t have the exact same right to the sidewalks and to shopping and to, well, EVERYTHING, just because I’m on wheels. Here’s a hint: it’s cheaper to build accessibility into the building in the first place, rather than trying to retrofit it later. Oh, and lawsuits are fucking expensive… save up.

  • Probably to the idiots who do everything to extend their child’s suffering, just so they, themselves, can have “more time”. If your baby has a condition that is incompatible with life, the kindest thing to do is to let them go. Fischer is painting this extended suffering as “noble”, and the doctors’ recommendations and diagnoses as “a pathway of death”.

  • The_L1985

    Seconding and thirding this.

    Suffering can ONLY be noble if the person suffering consciously chooses and accepts that suffering for some higher purpose, or perhaps as a genuine sacrifice on the behalf of another person (for example, when a woman chooses to give birth, she’s going through 9 months of pain and hardship so that a new life can enter the world). Involuntary suffering is never noble. It’s just suffering.

    Babies can’t understand morality or higher purpose yet. They don’t understand that things don’t cease to exist when you close your eyes, much less the ramifications of a life-or-death decision. A baby cannot choose to suffer, and it is monstrous for an adult, who knows about pain and isn’t suffering at all one way or the other, to choose for a baby to suffer.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Um. Emotional suffering is a thing. I admit to being at a loss for how watching one’s baby struggle for life through two weeks of agonizing pain is an improvement over starting the post-death mourning process two weeks sooner, and you’re absolutely right that the baby isn’t capable of choosing life over end-to-pain, but that doesn’t mean the adult parties here aren’t in pain themselves.

  • The_L1985

    Ouch. Hurts to realize I’m the one displaying the lack of empathy for once. :( And you’re right. But on the other hand…there’s something very off-putting about the idea that keeping your child alive in misery is somehow less selfish than ending the misery of the suffering child–even if the only way to end that suffering is death.

    Yes, the parents are understandably upset, as anyone ought to be. But there is quite a bit more selfishness than mercy in a desire for a baby with anencephaly or harlequin ichthyosis to live for a while longer, just so you don’t have to mourn it yet.

  • Wmdkitty

    That doesn’t give the parents the right to force more pain and suffering on the baby, though.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I never said it did.