Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Victory for My Friends with Disabilities!

In light of the victorious stand our U.S. Senators took today in defeating the CRPD Treaty, (Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities), many thoughts went through my mind.  My first thoughts took me back to a young boy named Keith who lived across the street from the house where I grew up in Plantation Florida.  Keith was our mascot, he always sat on the sidelines while we all played kick ball or any fun game in the street.  He would cheer so loud and wave his hands the whole game!  He always had a smile while we played even when we missed a ball, he would cheer us up.  Keith was a Down Syndrome boy, but that didn't matter to any of us kids in the neighborhood; we loved him.  And truly, if anyone messed with Keith, they had us to deal with!

As we grew older into our teenage years my brother and I would help out at a dance hall for those with down syndrome and we loved it.  It is a highlight of my teenage years, I look back with great fondness for these young people were all so special.  Years later when Keith's mom and dad passed away, he went to live with his brother Glenn and his wife.  It was as though years had not passed, Keith was still the same, he had his smile and gave the biggest hug.  I thank God that I had the opportunity to grow up with Keith living across the street, I learned that we are all different, but we are each special in our own way.

Much later on, while living in Wichita, Kansas from 2000 to 2010, God gave another opportunity to touch me with a precious gift from Him and that was Alyssa.  She is the daughter of dear friends of mine, the Bardens.  Alyssa has had challenging disabilities since she was very young and her family has done everything they knew how to help her.  Alyssa was and is a bright and shining star to me, I loved her from the moment I met her.  She could be laughing her head off which made us laugh our heads off and then get mad shortly after, but I loved her, and count it a privilege to have had so many wonderful times with this family who has been such a witness.  Alyssa's family would also come out and stand in front of George Tiller's abortuary, her mom would sidewalk counsel with me.  Looking at Alyssa would always be the stark reality to us that babies with disabilities like Alyssa were routinely killed there.  It made all of us resolved that all children in the womb deserve the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Steve on the left in the wheelchair!

And then there was Steve Mashburn, my dear friend who I had the awesome opportunity to help take care of toward the end of his life.  Steve was in a diving accident when he was fifteen and left a quadriplegic the rest of his life.  Yes, he was angry when this  first happened, but then one day, he yielded his life to Christ and became a servant of Jesus.  Steve even became a pastor, he would go down to New Orleans and preach, he also had such a passion for the unborn children even participating in a rescue during the Summer of Mercy in Wichita.  Steve loved for us to come pick him up and bring him to the abortion mill.  He would sit in his wheel chair and preach at the gates of hell.  He was such a blessing.  His lungs collapsed toward the end and he was bedridden after that, requiring 24/7 care.  But, as long as he could, he would have that pencil in his mouth, punching away at the computer, writing newsletters for Operation Save America, and other news sources.  One of our favorite things to do together when I would come over would be to watch Fox News and Western movies, he loved Gene Autry!  Steve is now with the Lord, he left this earth in a very peaceful way with a very strong legacy left behind.  He touched so many people's lives.

These precious lives are what went through my mind when hearing about the defeat of this dangerous treaty and how much the three of them had made such an imprint on my life!

This treaty was dressed up in a nice package to make the appearance that those with disabilities would benefit, but it certainly couldn't be further from the truth.  According to Rick Santorum, he stated, "Now, that CRPD is defeated, we know that United Nations won’t have oversight of how we care for our special needs kids. This treaty would have given the U.N. oversight of the healthcare and education choices parents with special needs kids make. Had it passed, CRPD would have become the law of the land under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, and would have trumped state laws, and could have been used as precedent by state and federal judges,” 

The other threat hidden in Article 25 of the treaty would require signatories to provide persons with disabilities free or affordable health care including the area of reproductive health and population-based health programs.  We all know what this means.

This isn't over, it will come back again so we must remain vigilant and fight hard for the rights of those that have disabilities, this of course is what Jesus would want us to do!  Pray everyone, please pray!