This story just made me sad:

Found this on the blog of a (former) UU minister.  It is just amazingly fucked up and petty:

In one congregation that I served, we had a mentally retarded woman who was a member of the church. She was high-functioning, showed up at everything, sang in the choir, and volunteered at the church’s thrift shop. In other words, she was a member of the community by any objective standard.

And she had a huge heart. She truly loved us.

Being retarded, she was not an intellectual, and she had poor social skills. While she was a member of the community, she was treated like the bastard stepchild. She was tolerated, barely. 

Everyone was “nice” to her face. Many would just roll their eyes behind her back. Incidentally, this is behavior I’ve seen in countless Unitarian Universalist congregations. While this story is unique to one congregation, this behavior is endemic to Unitarian Universalism. 

And since it was obvious that her mental retardation was all that some saw when they looked at her, for the rest of this piece we’ll call her the Retarded Woman.

What could you expect? Unitarian Universalism places great, great pride in the intellect. To have someone in their midst who can barely carry an interesting conversation was “proof” of how “open” they were. However, anyone with open eyes looking at the situation might understand that the village idiot in medieval Europe got more genuine respect than the Retarded Woman. That little subtlety isn’t even understood among the Unitarian Universalists who think it’s enough to allow someone with different needs in their midst.

One day, one of the thrift shop workers, an elderly woman, was hospitalized. She was in the hospital for a week. I visited. Her room was full of flowers. She always had a visitor, including, and especially the Retarded Woman.

During that time, the Retarded Woman took several busses to get to the hospital every single day to stay with her friend.

The impetus came from a pure heart, from love. And the Retarded Woman had no social graces; she stayed from the very beginning to the very end of each and every visiting hour. She meant well, but was an unbelievable pain in the ass. Hospital patients need rest. Visits are best when they are short.

Nobody could persuade the Retarded Woman to leave the room. She was keeping her friend company and that was that. I tried explaining to her. All of the other visitors this woman received tried to get the Retarded Woman to leave the room. Nothing worked.

Of course the biggest problem was the patient herself. She just didn’t want to be “rude” and tell the Retarded Woman to just leave, that a fifteen minute visit is sufficient. But she wouldn’t do that. So, her hospital stay meant that she was visited each and every day during the entirety of all visiting hours by a woman she barely tolerated. Cowardice is a bitch.

And that last bit is the key. The Retarded Woman, who considered everyone in the church her friend, was barely tolerated.

Shortly thereafter, the Retarded Woman had an accident and went to the hospital. 

I visited.

She was alone. She had no visitors. There were no flowers in her room.

Except for me, her minister, she had none. And to be honest, a visit from the minister is nice, but it’s expected; it’s part of the job, and so somehow doesn’t count. Other than myself, who didn’t count, she had exactly ZERO VISITORS.

Other than visit myself, I did what I could. I spoke to her “friends” in the choir (the whole choir), I spoke to her “friends” in the thrift shop (the whole thrift shop crew), and told them she needs visitors. I mean her own behavior told everyone loud and clear what she needed and maybe even expected should she be hospitalized.

Here’s where the story is supposed to take a heartwarming turn as people flood her with visits and affirm that she is indeed a loved member of the community.

That didn’t happen.

When I broached the subject to her “friends” the responses ranged from dismissive to hostile. I raised the subject repeatedly. Everything from difficulties parking at the hospital to the fact that she was “a pain in the ass” were used as excuses. 

She never in her entire month stay in the hospital received a single visitor. Not a fucking one.

The story doesn’t end there, and this is where the trigger alert comes in:

She returned to church. But much like the pets in Pet Semitary, she was changed. There was no life in her. There was no sparkle in her eye, at all. She was quite literally the walking dead.

She showed the church how much she loved them, and in return was told in terms she could understand that she was not loved, not needed and not wanted.

They had destroyed her soul. There was nothing left. She saw that there wasn’t even respect for her inherent worth and dignity. And she died inside.

I left the congregation a year later, and she never recovered.

The worst part is that everyone acted like nothing at all had happened. Or maybe they just didn’t notice.

And that, my friends, is how you earn the utter contempt of your minister.

If I understood this story correction, this poor woman was barely tolerated by a gaggle of condescending fucks who couldn’t even be bothered to openly hate her.

That is truly, irremediably fucked-up and petty — ESPECIALLY for people who prattle on about their “openness” and the “inherent dignity of each individual”, or whatever their cutesy bromide happens to be.

One of the commenters’ responses pretty much explains why this woman was basically ostracized:

This sad story you relate – and it is heartbreaking! – also highlights the extreme classism which is inherent in almost all UU “communities”. The unspoken fact is that – unless you are at least upper middle class in social stature and can boast several degrees – your involvement & participation in a UU congregation is usually met with a sort of bemused condescension.

Sounds like a gaggle of petty, back-stabbing, navel-gazing, pseudo-intellectual shits, to me.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s