When a Child with Autism is Unwelcome at Church

Child Praying Autism Church

Gesundheit - istockphoto.com/Gesundheit

Here is an audio excerpt from a recent broadcast of Wretched Radio, where host Todd Friel describes an unfortunate situation involving a woman who’s son was turned away from several churches because of his autism.  In the clip, Friel laments at how the woman and her child are treated by places where people expect to feel loved and welcomed.  As troubling and upsetting as this particular case may be, it’s not an isolated incident and much more common than people think.

One of the more memorable stories relating to this topic occurred back in 2008, when a Minnesota Catholic priest banned a child with autism from church because of unruly and even violent behavior.  The case became so heated that the priest even threatened the mother with jail if the child returned.  The story made national headlines and had many divided over the issue of how to deal with autistic children at church.

Churches are viewed as safe havens by their congregants and cases like these can erode trust by both believers and non-believers alike. Christians are called to be Christ-like and the love of God is to be reflected through the church body.  The turning away of these children directly contradicts Jesus when He instructs adults not to impede the children from coming to Him.  And throughout scripture, He displays significant compassion and love for the disabled and infirmed and churches are called to do the same.

So why are there so many incidents of children with autism and other special needs being made unwelcome or forced away from churches?

The answer could lie in the numbers.

According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, nearly 60% of all churches in the United States have less than 100 attendees on a weekly basis.  The reality is that most churches are just not equipped to handle children with autism and other special needs.  Small churches mean limited staff and volunteer members, which translate into a shortage of those who are able to handle children who have behavioral issues.  Although this is the unfortunate reality, it’s still no excuse.  

It is vital that churches and other places of worship become more accommodating to the special needs population and do whatever it takes to make families and children feel welcome.  This should involve placing help wanted ads, enlisting shadows, or calling on volunteers to step up and do whatever it takes to ensure all families have a positive experience.  Otherwise, like in so many other instances, families of children with autism will be left feeling isolated, rejected, and distraught.  This is not what God intends and it’s time for His people to start acting more like Him and less like the rest of the world. 

This begins by taking care of the "least of these" and it starts in the church.

5 Responses to When a Child with Autism is Unwelcome at Church

  1. I now thiss if off topic but I’m looking into starting mmy own blog and was wpndering what all is
    required to geet set up? I’m assuming having a blog like
    yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m nott 100% positive.
    Anny tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Also visit mmy webpage – Массажные салоны в Москве

  2. It’s remarkable to paay a quick visit this site and reading the views of all friends regarding thuis paragraph, while I
    am also eager of getting know-how.

    Here is my siite перила для лестниц

  3. Sport News says:

    What’s up colleagues, its impressive piece of writing concerning tutoringand entirely explained,
    keep it up all the time.

  4. Lindsey says:

    I always used to study piece of writing in news papers but now as I am a user of web thus from now I am using net for
    content, thanks to web.

  5. Jacinto says:

    This post will help the internet people for setting up new weblog or even a weblog from start to end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Important Disclaimer

All information in this site is presented for support and educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or visiting a licensed medical physician.

Visitors who desire to apply or use any information listed herein are urged to consult with licensed healthcare professionals first. All information is deemed reliable but its accuracy can't be guaranteed.

Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

RSS Latest Article Entries

  • Pioneers of Change: How Two Mothers are Making a Difference August 16, 2014
    Out of the enormous tragedy that is Sandy Hook, rays of light are shining forth. Scarlett Lewis is the mother of Jesse Lewis, a six year old victim of the massacre. Moved by the words “Nurturing, Healing, Love” that her son wrote on a blackboard days before his death, she has created the the Jesse […]

Home - Autism Symptoms - Autism Videos - Autism Organizations - Autism Message Boards - Articles - Autism Recipes - Hyperlexia - Fragile X - Tag Cloud - AQ Test - Contact