Disability and Spirituality: Freedom from Religion
This article is based largely on an interview with attorney Eddie Tabash about the right of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to religious freedom. Eddie Tabash is on the Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State–an organization devoted to preserving equality before the law for both believers and nonbelievers. He also chairs the Board of Directors of the Center for Inquiry, a worldwide organization devoted secular humanism, atheism, secular government, and scientific skepticism. Tabash has been advocating for freedom from religion for decades.
This article is premised on the principle that spirituality and religion should be a matter of free choice, regardless of an individual’s disability status. Therefore, this right should be respected by those who have control of or influence over the lives of adults with developmental disabilities. However, attorney Thomas F. Coleman explains that religious freedom organizations seem to have a blind spot when it comes to adults with developmental disabilities. Coleman cites that case of Gregory Demer — an autistic man living under an order of conservatorship in California – and how he has been forced to attend church services against his will for the last decade. No organization espousing religious freedom or disability rights would come to the aid of Demer. To read the article, click here.