Will God forgive them? For they do know what they do.

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.

8 thoughts on “Will God forgive them? For they do know what they do.

  1. Hi Jill. I’m sure many people will feel the same way about the footage we’ve seen on Facebook. Your comments about caregivers getting away with this kind of behaviour sadly ring true in my case. My son is 27 and has a range of special needs including A.S.D. and A.D.H.D. Over the years he has been in many different educational, residential and assessment placements, and has suffered some kind of abuse in all of them. Things got so bad that he has been home for the last 10 years, yes he is socially isolated but he is safe and happy.

    I feel as you do about the state of the world, but lately I have seen a glimmer of hope in the some of the people and politicians around the world. People such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Dalai Lama and Pope Francis all advocating peace and justice. Politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and Justin Trudeau who are also spreading the same message. I have never really taken much notice of politics and world events, but as you say things are heading in such a direction that I find myself reading, watching and listening to them.

    There is a post on Facebook by A.D.Williams ” Imagine what 7 billion humans could accomplish if we all loved and respected each other. ”
    I live in hope that we all get to see such a world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lovely comment thank you, I feel for you and your son. Bea experienced some things in her brief school years that were unforgivable.

      I am a great fan of the Dalai Lama and went to listen to him speak when he came to London several months ago; he is eternally inspiring however he is the first to say that his existence is not typical of the majority of human beings and even acknowledges how much easier it makes it for him to say what he does…

      Another quote I love that I think should be more widely read and acknowledged (although much harder hitting) is:

      “The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”

      Arundhati Roy – the author of The God of Small Things, an amazing book…

      …also found as the header on Lydia Brown’s blog (which is worth a read):
      http://www.autistichoya.com/

      I share your hope and thanks again for sharing your words, really very much appreciated. XXXXXXX

      Like

  2. i agree with you totally. I too cannotsee how he can even profess to be christian with all he is doing to everyone worse off that himself in all ways, monetary, physically and mentally and elderly. It is despicable

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I share your concern with the state of the world – it’s shocking, it’s scary, and it’s sometimes even unbelievable. The problem is that people who are religious cling to the idea of a better afterlife – which essentially means that they have no incentive to make this world a better one. Plus, with a convenient pay-as-you-sin belief system that absolves even the most heinous crimes with a completely unverifiable claim of “rebirth”, religion basically fosters a vicious cycle of violence, denigration, prejudice, greed, selfishness and cruelty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My thoughts, in part, more succinctly put!

      Whilst I work hard not to be prejudiced against anyone with a faith, and so do most of faith, typical peaceful people like ourselves, I do think it’s something that should be limited to adults, not indoctrinated into children… I wonder then how long religions would last.

      Like

      1. I think it depends on how religious belief is imparted. My grandmother prayed with me when I was little – but all I ever learned or observed about her own devotion was peaceful, kind, caring and in line with trying to be a good person. Not so of many who claim to be “Christian” these days…

        Liked by 1 person

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