I've been noticing this for a while but it's really been picking up steam in the last year or so. Churchianity LOVES down syndrome. Having a kid with down syndrome is practically becoming a status symbol within the church. It's almost like having a gay friend is to a liberal. Transparent sanctimonious status whoring. But now it seems that scientists may be on the verge of curing this affliction.
“It really is revolutionary, in terms of causing us all to rethink the
one impossible thought — can you make, functionally, that extra
chromosome disappear,” said Dr. Brian Skotko, co-director of the Down
Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was not involved
in the new study.
Now this is a very early development and it will likely still be a while before this can be turned into a cure, assuming this research doesn't somehow hit a dead end. But it is a very promising sign. So the sane reaction from my fellow Christians would be to thank God for these brilliant researchers and the work they are doing. Mind you that would be the sane reaction. But it's not the reaction I'm seeing. Amy Julia Becker wrote a piece called "Three Reasons why we might not want to cure down syndrome."
If you're like me, you may want to take a moment to let that sink in. Take a deep breath, because we're about to go through the looking glass here people. Let's take a look at why Amy thinks being retarded is a good thing.
1. Any attempt to “cure” Down syndrome (which is not a disease) assumes that the problems that come along with Down syndrome are located within the individuals with Down syndrome
rather than within our society at large.
What? Yes the problem is with the person and not society. What sort of feel good politically correct nonsense is that? It's not society that has an extra chromosome.
Yes, there are physical and
cognitive delays for kids with DS that can result in actual suffering,
but the majority of people with Down syndrome report good lives and
positive experiences for their families.
So what? Just because many people have made the best of a bad situation doesn't mean it's not a bad situation.
I’m sitting in a public space
right now and many people within view are wearing glasses. None of them
would be categorized as “disabled,” even though they presumably have
impaired vision. Without their glasses, some of them would be bumping
into things and potentially harming other people. With their glasses,
those problems disappear. On a much broader scale, disability in general
ceases to be disabling when accommodations are put into place and when
social stigma no longer accompanies said disability.
But here's the thing, we try to cure those disabilities. I guarantee you if I had a pill that gave those people with glasses 20/20 vision more than 9 out of 10 of them would take the damn pill as fast as they could find a glass of water.
2. Silencing the third chromosome in trisomy 21 assumes that Down syndrome is categorically negative.
Again, what the fuck? If I have to explain why being retarded is a bad thing then I'm not sure how. I mean seriously here. Do you actually listen to yourself Amy? Just because some good comes out of something or people are able to make the best of something doesn't mean that something is a good thing. Having a condition that drastically impairs your intelligence, overall health, and shortens your life span is a bad thing.
Again, the list of potential challenges is long. Potty training takes
longer. Teaching a child to be safe takes longer. And that’s not to
mention doctor’s appointments and therapist visits and whatever health
concerns come up along the way. And yet, though I haven’t found the
scientific study to substantiate this claim,
In other words she's about to pull these next few ideas directly out of her ass.
I have a sense that there
is something positive about having Down syndrome. Something beautiful
and good and true. Something that increases joy. In our case, something
that gives Penny a kinder heart, an ability to love others more purely.
People often stereotype individuals with Down syndrome by calling them
“sweet” and “angels,” and anyone who knows a person with Down syndrome
can contradict that claim. But anyone who knows someone with Down
syndrome can also so there’s something to it. I think my concern here is
that to take away the third chromosome is to take away more than
Penny’s ear tubes and pronated feet and impulsivity, but rather it is to
take away something essential to who she is
Oh yeah, this old chestnut. I like to call this the Forrest Gump myth. It's the idea that retards are the kindest sweetest things you'll ever meet. There's just one problem with that. Retarded people are still people. Despite Evangelical culture's attempt to turn down syndrome kids into some sort of pet or mascot they are, in fact, human fucking beings. They are just as capable of being a complete asshole as any other person. If indeed there is "something to it", and I stress "if", it is probably because they are fawned over and pampered most of their lives, at least the ones with good care takers. If I had someone waiting on me hand and foot and praising every crayon drawing of Winnie the Pooh I did I would probably be pretty cheery too.
And finally Amy tops it all off with the old standby objection my brothers and sisters in Christ like to throw around.
3. From a more spiritual perspective, I worry about human tinkering with our genetic code, which is to say, I worry about “playing God.”
Ahhh yes, "playing God". Can we Christians meet ANY advancement in medial science without this being a knee jerk reaction? Some idiots in the church used to throw this accusation around to blood transfusions and organ transplants. Hell, some still do. Are there some questions as to how much we are tampering with the "essential person" here. Yeah, I suppose, but no more than with any other mental disorder we try to cure.
This article was sickening. This nonsense from Evangelical culture stems from this odd sort of masochistic streak that runs through it. Evangelical culture in the West has become a house of horrors where we all parade out how our lives and our ourselves are fucked up in some way as though the suffering inherently made us more holy. "Look how poor I am!" "Look how sick I am!" and now "Look how retarded my kid is!" We are like Martin Luthor constantly whipping his own back to gain God's favor before he came to his damn senses and founded the reformation. Just because God might use bad things in your life to make you a better person doesn't mean you should seek bad things out and revel in them like you're in some sort of bizarre BDSM type relationship with the God of the universe. Seriously, this is becoming a damn freakshow people, knock it off.