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August 08, 2005

Mother Teresa 2, gimp dignity 0

Mother Teresa's nuns are tying mentally disabled kids to their beds. For their own good, y'know. That story, from India, doesn't surprise me too much; Mother Teresa's order has never seemed to "get it" about dignity when it comes to disabled folks.
A snippet from the Kerala News:

Sister Marie says the practice was not inhuman but aimed at teaching the children....
The nun narrated the case of a hyperactive child Binoy who had hurt himself because of his often-violent movements mostly before bedtime but slowly learnt to sleep calmly after the sisters tied him to his cot...
Now he has learned to stay in bed so it is no longer necessary to restrain him. ...
"[M]edication we don't use. That might be one way but we are not using it."

Back in the early 1990s, Anne Emerman, who was then head of New York City's Mayor's Office on Disabilities, had a run-in with the same order. They were opening up a homeless shelter in Manhattan, but it seems like they didn't want to provide wheelchair access. It was a big old building -- they would have had to put in an elevator. New York state law required it. So did city rules. (The Americans with Disabilities Act was new then, too.)
Nope; they told city officials. No could do. Their vows, y'see, forbade them from using such "conveniences." Course they rode up in an elevator to the meeting with city officials where they insisted they couldn't use elevators.
Their solution? Why, the tiny Indian nuns would carry the cripples up the steps! Wheelchair and all? Well, that never came out. The story of Mother Teresa and the Elevator is in my book. The original story ran in the Disability Rag back in January, 1991. (The publication's no longer being printed, but back issues and the archives are still available.)
Just another of the seemingly endless stories about Charity and Cripples. This latest about Mother Teresa's sisters came to us by way of Inclusion Daily Express, a great little news service we use for a lot of our Disability Rights Nation News on the website.

Posted by mjohnson at August 8, 2005 10:52 AM