Discrimination comes in many different shapes and forms. In a couple different class periods we have touched on the subject of people with disabilities facing discrimination. I found an article on abcnew.com about an eight-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who was denied communion. According to the article, when the Rev. Phil Henning was questioned about his motives he replied that the boy had “the mental capacity of a 6-month old.” He also said he didn’t have sufficient knowledge of Christ. The family argued that Catholic doctrine doesn’t require a specific level of knowledge. The boy’s grandmother said that he had been preparing for months for his communion.
In my opinion, telling a child he cannot participate in a religious milestone because his disability does not allow him to be “smart enough” is absolutely horrific. I think this is in every way possible a form of discrimination. First communion is a ceremony that symbolizes acceptance but the church community. They are rejecting this boy’s desire to become a part of the church and take a step closer to his relationship with God.According to Douglas C. Baynton’s article, Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History, “In recent decades, historians and other scholars in the humanities have studied intensely and often challenged the ostensibly rational explanations for inequalities based on identity-in particular, gender, race and ethnicity. Disability, however, one of the most prevalent justifications for inequality, has rarely been the subject of historical inquiry.” I think we as a society need to question ourselves as well as those in power to ensure everyone is getting equal opportunities.