Disabilities Are Not Divine Punishments

There is little more in my life that incenses me more than having some nitwit believer telling me that my disability is a punishment from god.  Sometimes it is only my desire not to be incarcerated that stops me from resorting to my more base instincts.   If you don’t think this happens often, then you need to spend some time in my world.  The people who have known me for a while know that I used to not only be a Christian, but I was a Preacher, to boot.  Many of these people remain convinced that god is punishing me or has allowed the symptoms of my disability to continue to ravage my body for a variety of reasons. None of them, however, are even remotely near sensible.

The most common one is that their imaginary god is trying to “get my attention” so that I may once again place my faith in him and allow him to “heal me”.   There are many variations to this theme, but they all amount to the same huge, hot and steaming pile of bullshit that make up much of what these people believe in.  Several people have told me that the severity of my illness is due to my outspokenness on religion, and that god would allow me a little more comfort if I’d just be quiet and keep my disbelief to myself. Then they mumble something about millstones and stumbling children…  One rather illustrious person even went so far as to tell me that god has prepared for me a special place in hell for de-converting his believers, adding to that the guarantee of an even higher level of torturous suffering  if one of my own children should happen to abandon god.  If you ask me, their god seems awful insecure…

Speaking of my family, the associated difficulties that inevitably come with being disabled invariably affect my wife and children.  It is unavoidable.  We do not have the income for an expensive home, new cars, vacations, fancy toys and designer clothes, and there is also a certain amount of stress that goes with the territory.  Of course, the willfully ignorant are always ready to point out that these circumstances are punishments that my wife and children are suffering at my hand, due to my unbelief. They tell me that if I won’t come back to god for my own health and well-being, at least do it for my family. What nerve…

To them, this is all avoidable and, of course, “everything happens for a reason”.  The insinuation that I bear some sinful responsibility for the constant, unrelenting and extreme level of pain that I endure every waking moment of every single day as a result of this degenerative and incurable disease that is slowly eating away at my peripheral nervous system does not engender good, happy and fuzzy thoughts toward these denizens of douchebaggery.

To top it off, these individuals are none-to-glad to tell me that I am not really an Atheist, but mad at god for my disability.  Facepalms galore…  They insist that I actually do believe he exists and have turned my back on him because I blame him for my deteriorating condition.  They tell me that this is the reason why I don’t have anything nice to say about god or religion. Well, excuse me for having to don my waders and shove in my nose plug, but this is some of the deepest and most repugnant pile of bullshit to ever cross the pike.

Well, for all of this, I would like to offer these people a hale and hearty “Fuck You”…  The utter gaul that it takes to tell a person who is handicapped that their suffering and the suffering of their family is at the hand of their god as a punishment for not believing in him is not only unconscionable, but the height of ignorance.  These people need to be ashamed of themselves, but they so blinded by their religious arrogance that the only hope I have for them to successfully remove their heads from their asses is that I was once like them and have since been enlightened.  It’s bad enough that most disabilities are misunderstood by secular society, but to compound it with the delusional mental illness of religious belief is nothing short of a travesty.

But they will pray for me…  How nice…  Well, I don’t want their prayers.  I do not covet nor appreciate their supernatural attempts to turn me back into a misogynist, ignorant, intolerant, history-denying, science-denying, homophobic bigot.  If they really wanted to help people with auto-immune diseases they’d quit trying to block embryonic stem cell research and maybe pick up a book about these types of illnesses to perhaps garner a better understand from a scientific point of view.

Am I angry?  Bet your ass, I am!  Am I angry at god?  Impossible, since I do not hold the belief that god even exists.  What I am angry at is the insolence that these people possess.  I am angry at the perpetuation of ignorance that religious belief has toward the disabled.  I am angry at the pious attitudes that are part and parcel of believing that one is “chosen” and somehow commissioned by their deity to “save the world” when they are the ones who are lost.  I am angry that their beliefs still influence medical research.  I am angry that they spend billions every year trying to protect a blastocyst but don’t seem to give a flying fuck through a rolling doughnut about the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from diseases that can be cured by harvesting these cells.  I am angry that they just refuse to understand that someone cannot be angry at something they don’t believe exists, no matter how many times they say that their god “believes in me“.

You know, it is hard enough dealing with the general supposition that many people have that if you are not missing a limb, have a horrific physical disfigurement or otherwise “look abnormal” that you are somehow “faking it” and trying to get a free ride from the government.  Many people believe that just because your brain works you should be able to hold down a job because only those who are mentally disabled, extremely elderly or are so horrifically deformed are unable to work.   Anyone who lives on a fixed income such as social security, disability or unemployment insurance can tell you that they’d rather be younger, healthier or employed.

Educating the general public about the nature of what a disability is and how it effects a person’s ability to integrate into the world we live in is hard enough.  When these imbeciles come along preaching their magical solutions and spewing forth their condemnations and judgments, it only makes a bad situation worse.

  9 comments for “Disabilities Are Not Divine Punishments

  1. cameron davis
    June 9, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    spilling your heart with the keyboard…thank you al, for being the tough motherf*cker you are. Never give in to those ignorant tools who are verbally assaulting you.

  2. June 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Just discovered your blog. Love it! – especially the following — “But they will pray for me… How nice… Well, I don’t want their prayers. I do not covet nor appreciate their supernatural attempts to turn me back into a misogynist, ignorant, intolerant, history-denying, science-denying, homophobic bigot.”

  3. July 21, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I just discovered your blog, too. I’ll save you the trip. I am legally blind and hearing impaired. I have been this way since birth.

    I don’t know your story, but I’ve been there in this one department. “You must have done something??” There is just one problem with this quaint theory. I didn’t choose my disabilities and I’d love to know how a fetus can sin. <-sarcasm

    Yes, I am a Christian who rejoices in God, the Father and don't care about other people's opinion and the search for the secret sin Did I yell at God, about this? Yes, I did so get angry as a child.

    My frustrations is not with God, but with people.For them, I would say this. “Yes, God allowed the congenital rubella to affect me in my mother’s womb but it was so that the ‘goodness’ of God would manifest in my life.” Since you’re a former Preacher then you recall the beginning of John 9.

  4. Chuck E. Jesus
    May 10, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Re: “…these circumstances are punishments that my wife and children are suffering at my hand, due to my unbelief.” I thought they said the punishment would come in the next life? So now ‘God’ gets us coming and going?

  5. mary b
    July 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Excellent Post!!
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for writing this!!
    I am disabled also. I have severe hearing loss that is progressive nerve damage. In the last five years alone, I have lost more than 50% more. I cannot tell you how many times people would accuse me of having “selective hearing”. Then, they would make all these bullshit hand gestures, thinking they were being cute by mocking sign language. It was very hurtful and insulting. I would tell them nicely it’s not fun to make fun of people who are disabled. They would just roll their eyes at me.
    I also have tow messed up disks, one is herniated the other, bulging. Then I also have 15% nerve damage in my neck. Sometimes, if I move the wrong way, I will be bedridden with severe pain (even though I take strong pain meds) for days!
    While I was still employed, I did not yet have hearing aids. People would literally have to shout at my face in order for me to hear them.
    Then, our Company was sold. I got hurt a second time at work. (the first time, they lied to me about where to get medical care, so I was stuck with the bills). The second time I was hurt, I wasn’t going to take another chance of being cheated out of Medical Care or Workman’s Comp. So I retained a Lawyer. As soon as they found out, I lost my job. Even though that is illegal, no co-workers would speak out on my behalf because they knew they would lose their jobs, too.
    I had no choice but to apply for Disability. But I would much rather be working.
    BTW~ These people I ended up working with are all so-called Christians. They brag about going to Church for 6 hours every Sunday. But they only act Christian-like while they are AT Church.
    I am sick & tired of these ignorant, arrogant assholes. They are everywhere out there!! I do live in a Deep, red State. Maybe if I was able to move back to the North, they wouldn’t be as bad or be as many of them.
    Thanks for letting me rant!!! Your post just made steam come from my (nerve dead) ears!!!

  6. Chris
    July 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Great post! It always gets me the warped, cant lose logic where everytime something bad happens to a religious person it’s “well everything happens for a reason” or “his ways are just beyond us”. But when something happens to a non-believer, it’s “see, look what happens when you don’t believe!”. I don’t know specifically what degenerative nervous disorder you have, but is it their presumption that EVERYONE who has this disorder is not religious!!!

    And I also get pissed when someone uses the phrase “I’ll be praying for you” with me. It’s one thing if they don’t know I disagree with them. But when someone knows that I don’t share their belief, then to me it is just a flat out “fuck you” to say that to me. It’s like, “yeah, sure I respect your viewpoint, bu I’ll go ahead and put in a kind word with this being anyway. Because you can’t seriously NOT believe in him, I mean let’s be serious!”. What do they think happens? That an invisible being in the sky would punish me for eternity, unless of course another object of his creation strokes his ego a bit, then he decides to let things slide. What a joke.

    I always respond back with “and I’ll think rationally for you!”. In fact, I would like to see someone start a campaign of that. Al maybe you could start a “I’ll think rationally for you!” campaign. Make that a catchphrase for our movement. It’s straightforward, to the point, and a perfect right-back-at-you to those “polite” little “I’ll pray for you” comments.

  7. July 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    And yet if the church buss carrying thirty children to Sunday school goes over a ravine killing them all the same people will say things like “God had a purpose, he wanted your children to be nearer to him, God works in mysterious ways”
    You dont often hear them say “God thinks thirty children didnt believe in him enough and decided to murder them”

  8. January 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    f I may– I can assure you that a challenge whether mental or physical does not determines what many say is God’s anger.–neither does the “amount” of faith you have anything to do with a healing–if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move and it will be cast into the sea.”–if you have even a little faith, in God’s plan it can happen.

    I doubt anyone expect God knows His own mind?! to condemn you just shows that people fear and scapegoat what that don’t understand. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have been in the same boat–but on one level can we really blame them? if not those with challenges we do it with Homelessness and the like.

    Likewise Disrespect? Are you sure people are out to habitually be insolent?! or is it not just the “fear” i mentioned earlier? which by definition is not insolence.

    humanity is flawed therefore they make flawed assumptions–no matter what the issue(s) but that doesn’t mean that with education one more doesn’t have to continue


  9. January 6, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    “Well, excuse me for having to don my waders and shove in my nose plug, but this is some of the deepest and most repugnant pile of bullshit to ever cross the pike.”

    –might I ask why then–

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