Amy Kenny is a disabled scholar and a Shakespeare Lecturer who hates Hamlet. Kenny co-coordinates support for people experiencing homelessness in her neighborhood and wrote My Body is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church.
Accessibility Image description: A blonde, white woman wearing a burgundy patterned shirt sits on a mobility scooter in front of a blue background with a variety of geometric shapes.
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Ableism Is Still a Core Part of Church Spaces. Here’s How to Change It
I’ll never forget my pastor’s response when I asked about putting a $130 portable ramp in the building where our church meets: “That’s not stewarding tithe well,” he announces without embarrassment. He acts as if he’s making a measured budgetary decision — like he is choosing between two beige paint colors of a similar hue. Except I am the one on eggshells.
Can the Church View Disabled Bodies as Jesus' Body?
But the church peddles ableist ideas in devious ways: It proclaims to be pro-life but mirrors the world’s messaging that productivity and health are drivers of worth. It weaponizes prayer as a foot-soldier in its ableist theology, reducing God to a slimy vending machine churning out miracles upon request. It limits our imaginations for how abundant life should look, confining prosperity and happiness to a singular mode of living.