With me, not for me!

As someone living with Asperger’s syndrome, I feel compelled to write a few words regarding the “Foolish Things of the World” article in the October Lutheran Witness.

Autism is a spectrum disorder, with degrees of severity and variance. This means that many of us can understand deep theological concepts, although one’s level of communication may be mismatched. Just because one cannot understand us does not mean we do not know, nor does it mean we have nothing to say. We are capable of loving others and loving God.

Unfortunately, within my Synod, I have experienced discrimination and bigotry because of my disability. As a result, I’m pursuing a secular career within the Linux/Open Source community. I’m blessed to find acceptance within this community–which includes non-Lutheran Christians, non-Christians, gays and lesbians, militant atheists, and even fellow Aspies like me. I cannot speak for others, but I will speak for myself.

[In his sidebar to the story,] Dr. Nadasdy mentioned that non-disabled people can become a “champion.” I do not need a patronizing do-gooder trying to play the “white knight” role, as if I am helpless and unable to speak out. What I desire even better is an advocate who can fight with me against discrimination and marginalization within the Church, not simply one fighting for me. Do not look at us with pity–the world is notorious for measuring worth by merit. Regard us as fellow brothers and sisters who worship with a voice like–and yet unlike–your own.

Carolina Rutz
New Haven, Ind.


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