In my doctoral dissertation, a document where I discuss the ways that baptism and Holy Communion can help people with disabilities to create just and loving communities within the Church, I recently wrote the following: “Because human beings are social creatures, and because sociality is based in a desire for intimacy, social spaces dedicated to the protection of bodily difference and premised on sacramental expressions of love are possible for all.”
In the part I’ve quoted, I assert that human beings need friendship and intimacy, because intimacy creates the space for dignified life with justice. Moreover, I imply that dignified life with justice is predicated firmly on the respect and protection of embodied difference, and that the sacraments express that fundamental love and respect for difference.
I realize that I’m an idealist. I know that not everyone shares my belief-system. That’s all right; you need not. That said, as a man with spastic cerebral palsy, and as a theologian of disability, I believe that every body—EVERYBODY!—has value…
And thus, I assert that the current Republican administration’s recent repeal of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is reprehensible, because it flies in the face of all those values. The repeal of the ACA denies affordable health-insurance to valuable, and vulnerable, people. People with varied medical conditions will no longer be able to afford the things that they need in order to flourish (like, well, medicine)! This decision horrifies me, because it could well end by condemning people to death. It is horrendous because—even as they invoke the holy name of the Lord Jesus—some people in power in the States DENY to other people the love of Jesus, expressed in his living ministry of healing and hospitality, and irrevocably demonstrated by his self-giving death on a Roman cross! I feel inexpressible pain; I weep as I write.
I’m not an American citizen. I’m a Canadian citizen by birth, and a citizen of the world. To quote Alfred Lord Tennyson, “I am a part of all that I have met.” Every person’s pain affects mine, to some degree. Thus, I feel fear and pain for all those who experience illness and disability in the States, for many will now experience others’ indifference to their illnesses and their desires for companionship. Many have been, or will be, cut off from livelihood, and (perhaps) from life.
I dissent, in the strongest possible terms; and with all that I am, I resist.