I wanted to put my energies into a really funny post for the Easter weekend that shared some goodfeels… like when you find a little chunkette of chocolate in your cleavage as you take your bra off at bedtime and pop it in your mouth with a greater sense of success than you’ve felt all day.
But then Facebook spewed up this horror onto my timeline: a teacher kneeing a special needs kid in the back – caught on CCTV – the teacher has resigned and is being charged with second degree cruelty to a child. Let’s hope appropriate justice is served but for me, the bigger issue is that, deep down, we all know she only did it because she thought she could get away with it.
She thought that whatever that kid had to say about it, she would be able to add enough doubt and confusion to his account of the assault – he’s special needs, he’s mistaken, he’s special needs, we can’t take what he says seriously – that she could get away with it.
At this point, I’m going to beg you to read on. This isn’t something you can glance over knowing it’s fundamentally wrong but maybe thinking that it’s a special needs issue – apparently some of those special needs children are pretty challenging, aren’t they – this is everyone’s problem.
This is a humanity issue.
That vile woman was wrong in thinking that she could get away with it but I’m sure many, I wonder how many, other so-called caregivers have managed to get away with similar abuses of their power and privilege, against children, disabled people, the elderly, prisoners, refugees, anyone who is in a life position where they have to truly rely on others, to trust, to have faith.
…including, one might argue, our current government.
As an atheist it would be easy to presume that Easter is all about the eggs in our house but for me, it is still a time where I choose to reflect. I have been becoming more and more devastated at the state of the world, specifically the humans in it, in recent months and it feels like we’re headed for an apocalypse. I choose a religious word deliberately.
I am an atheist. I don’t feel like it was a choice. I can’t “believe” any more than I can grow wings; at different times in my life, I’ve tried both. That is not derogatory, that is the best description for how I feel. It might be nice but it’s just not happening.
Whilst I do not share the Christian faith that has shaped the very foundations of Western society, holidays, constitutions, laws etc, I abide by them. I like to think that I generally live by a strong set of values and morals.
And that’s what really kills me at the moment.
Specifically in the UK and in the USA (I am a lot less informed about other countries), I see our leaders and future wannabe leaders doing a lot of terrible stuff at the moment and saying a lot of terrible things whilst still professing to be Christian.
I don’t understand what it means to be Christian but I understand what it is to be human. I know how it feels to be me. And that’s enough for me to know and understand that all humans are equal.
“Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members – the last, the least, the littlest.”
I love that quote, it’s from a man called Cardinal Roger Mahoney, a good man who took a zero-tolerance stance to child abuse during his tenure as Archbishop of LA. He stood up for what he believed in, but more importantly, what was simply right.
Somewhat ironically as an atheist, I still struggle to find a better saying than “there but for the grace of God go I” to describe the delicate temporal nature of each of our individual existences.
We’re rushing round Waitrose filling baskets with Easter eggs whilst other parents, who love their children no less than us, are struggling to keep them warm in refugee camps.
I look at our world and how the majority of decision-makers and power-brokers are religious, or claim to be, and I despair. Leaving the freak-show horror of Trump to one side, why have no Christians called out David Cameron?
He was quoted in The Guardian a couple of years ago for being evangelical about his Christian faith, more specifically expounding on the role that religion can have in “helping people to have a moral code”.
I don’t know how he reconciles that with the recent ‘achievements’ of his government, specifically with regard to disabled people. He’s no better than that woman kneeing the child in the back and watching him fall. Inhumane. Inhuman.
I am not normally politically outspoken but I’m not speaking as a disenfranchised voter, nor a Christian, nor the mother of a disabled child, I’m simply speaking as a human.