Every time I think that I just cannot be more shocked than I have been in the past…something else happens that just TOPS it.
J was contacted by an autistic man from our last church… they were just targeted by “them” in the church because he HUGS people. He was told in no uncertain terms that he was to shake hands, and that’s it, unless the person was over 70 (how’s he supposed to know that? card them before he hugs??) and that people ONLY hug when they LOVE the other person. He told J, “I’ve seen plenty of people hug people they weren’t in love with so I think he’s wrong. They were making more out of it than there was.”
The moral of this is, ya’ll need to remember the church can thrust it’s objective on anyone, and KNOW that they can modify the behavior of even the mentally challenged.
Here’s the letter to the editor of this man’s wife (yes, it’s not a matter of a young single autistic man hugging women, it’s an OLDER MARRIED HIGHLY FUNCTIONING AUTISTIC MAN. she was in a terrible car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury, so keep that in mind while reading it.) sent to local newspaper. since it was published I know she won’t mind me sharing it:
“Brotherly Love: What Today’s Church Is In Desperate Need Of!
My sweet, dear autistic husband and I have been to several churches in ________ County. We were looking for a church that would accept him for who he is. He is a wonderful autistic man who loves people. He shares the love of Christ with people by giving them an innocent little hug. A hug to him is not a normal wrap your arms around someone hug. He hugs people by pressing his ear to their cheek. I asked him why he does that and he told me he liked the softness of their cheek against his ear.
Many of the churches we have been to accepted my husband’s odd need to hug the people he likes at first when we were just visiting. When we join the church and the newness wore off, we become the recipients of church discipline. It’s the same thing each time. We are told that it is not proper for a grown man to walk up to young women and hug them. He doesn’t only hug young women. He hugs old and young women alike. Instead of asking the “normal” church members to use their God given ability to understand my husband my husband is expected to understand social rules of our world even though God did not choose to bless autistic people with the same ability to understand these social rules of the “real world.”
Many police officers arrest autistic adults because of misunderstandings that resulted from the autistic person’s lack of comprehending the social rules of the world we live in. Most autistic people get in trouble with the law at least once in their adult life for this reason.
When talking with one of my pastors about my husband’s lack of understanding why he cannot hug the people that he likes, he told me that my husband was offending some of the church members by hugging them. To offend is to commit any sin in thought, word, or deed. Is it a sin to share the love of our Heavenly Daddy by giving hugs?
The church doesn’t notice that my husband hugs the elderly females as well as the pretty young females in the church. His motives are purely innocent. He is not your average 40-year-old man. He is autistic. Socially and emotionally he is just like a child.
If he does not choose to hug you, it is because of one the following reasons. You are a man. Most men scare him. Or, you are not happy-go-lucky. He doesn’t feel comfortable hugging a grouch, who would?
The bible says in Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love in honor preferring one another.” The most innocent way to show kindly affection is to give someone a hug. In my husband’s eyes he sees himself innocently giving people he likes hugs. In the church’s eyes they see a grown man hugging on all the pretty girls.
He was asked to shake hands instead of hugging the people he likes. How would you feel if your child ran up to you and stuck out their hand for a handshake instead of hugging you? That is not being kindly affectionate. In fact, that is a very impersonal way of greeting someone.
I Thessalonians 4:9 says, “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” Paul wrote this to the church of Thessalonica, which applies to all churches. We are to love one another with brotherly love. Hebrews 13:1 says, “Let brotherly love continue.” I Corinthians 13:5 says, “Doth not behave unseemingly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;” The bible is talking about the greatest gift of the spirit which is left to remain; charity or love, something I believe the church is in desperate need of. The church is supposed to be a place of refuge not a place of condemnation.
Christians who have brotherly love one for another are not to be easily provoked. To provoke is to excite to some action or feeling, to anger or irritate, to stir up. The church doesn’t need to be irritated by someone who is autistic.
I will never understand why churches are not understanding of special or autistic people. Jesus died for them too. Wake up church! Lets learn to be more like Jesus, love everyone even if they live in their own little autistic world and are different than you and I.”
Would you receive a hug from this Autistic man?