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Minn. mom fights church ban on her autistic son

Discussion in 'Culture & Religion' started by The Scotsman, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    By DAVE KOLPACK, Associated Press Writer
    Sun Jun 1, 4:01 PM ET



    BERTHA, Minn. - Carol Race thinks it's important for her 13-year-old son to be in church on Sundays for Catholic Mass.

    Leaders of the Church of St. Joseph once felt the same way, but not anymore. They say Race's autistic son Adam is disruptive and his erratic behavior threatens the safety of other parishioners.

    The northern Minnesota church has obtained a restraining order to keep Adam away, an action that has been deeply hurtful to the Race family and has brought them support from parents of other autistic children.

    "My son is not dangerous," Carol Race said. The church's action is "about a certain community's fears of him. Fears of danger versus actual danger," she said.

    In court papers, church leaders say the danger is real. The Rev. Daniel Walz wrote in his petition for the restraining order that Adam — who already is more than 6 feet tall and weighs more than 225 pounds — has hit a child, has nearly knocked over elderly parishioners while bolting from his pew, has spit at people and has urinated in the church.


    "His behavior at Mass is extremely disruptive and dangerous," wrote Walz. "Adam is 13 and growing, so his behaviors grow increasingly difficult for his parents to manage."

    Carol Race said Walz's claims are exaggerated.

    "He's never actually injured anyone," she said. "He's never knocked down anyone. He's never urinated on anyone or spit on anyone."

    Carol Race was cited for attending church May 11 in violation of the restraining order, and faces a hearing Monday. She says she can't afford a lawyer and will defend herself in court. A lay mediator is scheduled to meet with her and church board members on Wednesday.

    Autism is a developmental disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. It is more severe in some people than others. Adam has limited verbal skills.

    Walz did not return calls seeking comment, but Jane Marrin, who works for the Diocese of St. Cloud and is acting as a spokeswoman for the parish, said the church board tried working with the Races to find "reasonable accommodations." That included offering a video feed of Mass that could be watched in the church basement.

    The family refused all suggestions, she said.

    "It's a difficult issue," Marrin said. "There are no easy answers."

    Carol Race dismissed the church's suggestion that Adam watch a video feed in the church basement, saying that "does not have the same status as attending Mass. Otherwise we could all just sit home and watch it on TV and not bother to come in."

    "It's considered a sin in the Catholic church not to attend Mass on Sundays and every holy day of obligation," she said. "And that's what this is about. I'm just trying to fulfill my obligations."

    Adam is one of five children. The family's home in nearby Eagle Bend has separate study rooms so the other children can read books and use crayons that Adam could otherwise destroy.

    Carol said Adam has two favorite spots in the house, the prayer room and the kitchen table. "He likes to eat," she said, laughing.

    Adam is prone to anxiety attacks. Carol said some of those outbursts force members of the family to sit on him to calm him down, or restrain his hands and feet with a strip of felt.

    In his court petition, Walz said that after one service Adam got into another family's car, started it and revved up the engine while there were people in front of the vehicle.

    "Adam's continued presence on parish grounds not only endangers the parishioners, it is disruptive to the devout celebration of the Eucharist," Walz wrote. "I have repeatedly asked John and Carol to keep Adam from church; they have refused to do so.

    "In fact, Carol told our parish council that she would have to be dragged from church in handcuffs if I tried to keep Adam from attending Mass," he wrote.

    The Races have received support from other parents, including Chris and Libby Rupp, who brought their autistic daughter from St. Paul on Memorial Day weekend and sat in the church's back pew normally occupied by the Races.

    "I think this case is mostly about not understanding autism," Libby Rupp said. "I wanted to show them another example. Ultimately, we just need more people to truly understand autism."

    Rupp met the Races and said she could see why some people might be uncomfortable around Adam, but she added: "Never at one point did I feel that anyone was in danger."

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080601...istic_child;_ylt=AlJLieLotWJj3x5GKRM2.zus0NUE


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    Interesting conundrum huh......

    Apart from buying body armour and a taser what d'ya reckon Jesus would have done?

    Oh yeah....just one final point for all them that say right to life and all that malarchy.... I take it this how you want the aftermath dealt with.... Pump em' out but oh deary me ..keep them away from everyone coz their scary.... :rolleyes:
     
  2. Libsmasher

    Libsmasher New Member

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    Hmmmm ... Hitler had the same idea - kill the developmentally disabled. The deformed. Maybe the very elderly? The insane? Gosh, there's all kinds of people you could get rid of.
     
  3. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    and lots of other topics as well...... but would he have banned them from church
     
  4. Foolosophy

    Foolosophy New Member

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    Is it all that surprising though???

    The Church is totally unrelated to GOD -especially in the USA where it is a restricted forum dedicated to community business and financial transactions.

    I cant really see what all the fuss is about.

    Jesus didnt preach in a church did he?
    :cool:
     
  5. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    Didn't JC do something about that....I recall some story of him kicking over tables and berating...what was it...money lenders or something..anyway he was pretty pissed off about something :confused:
     
  6. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    I just hope no one from that church runs for office later :)

    My family was kicked out of the church for not going enough and not giving enough money. They where poor, on welfare at the time, and Grandfather was in the hospitcal, so Grandmother took kids to see him on Sundays, the only day she could get there...oddly I have a low view of the church
     
  7. ilikeboobs

    ilikeboobs Member

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    Up your butt, Jobu.
    As a regular, church-going Roman Catholic, I'm fine with the church banning this kid. You go to church to pray, not to be distracted by a noisy mongoloid. The parents in this case are being completely disrespectful of everyone else at church by bringing this kid on sundays. But, I guess she's entitled to be an A-hole...thus all the biatching.

    Oh, and Foolosphy - Jesus didn't preach in a church because they didn't have them back then. They had temples...for Jews. Christianity didn't start until Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, at which time his apostles started spreading the good news, etc.

    :rolleyes:
     
  8. SW85

    SW85 New Member

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    If the kid is this severely autistic, there's a good chance he's not even listening to what's being said in church and maybe couldn't even understand it if he were.

    You guys are being awfully unreasonable; it's not like they're actively persecuting a hapless child for no good reason. If he's disruptive and physically aggressive that's a good reason to keep him out. The parents' logic is basically "but he hasn't hurt anyone yet," which is bad reasoning and, if the article is accurate, untrue anyway.
     
  9. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    As the parents themselves stated ....

    ......that's got to imply that this poor kid is a bit of a walking timebomb and not what you need in church especially if you have older members and disabled members in the congregation.
     
  10. SW85

    SW85 New Member

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    Moreover I'd wager the church is largely acting out of self-interest; I wouldn't be surprised if they could be held legally liable if the kid injures someone.
     
  11. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    ......and who could blame them, after all they owe duty of care to those entering into their buildings!
     
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