Disabled people should be able to access all service providers, whether this would be in a place of work, place of education and a place of worship. The implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 and then the 2005 Act, coming into effect from 2004 meant that churches are required by law to comply by making reasonable adjustments and not to treat disabled people unfairly (DDA 1995, 2005). This proved to be a challenge as reported by the BBC (2004) that many Church of England buildings are ancient and listed. The implications of complying with the law has had a financial impact on churches and places of worship as further reported by the BBC (2003) of a church closing down the community hall. The importance of access to places of worship is shown in research by Rose (1997) writing that going to church and church activities were one of the most frequent by young disabled people. However she further says that activity participation was restricted and low (Rose, 1997), possible reasons could be knowledge of leaders.
Duncan (2010) argues that when churches say that they did not have enough time or the finance to make their church building inclusive, he tells them straightforward and perhaps bluntly that the church has had 2000 years (since the birth of Jesus) and that they should be setting the standard for society by including disabled people. In history however this has not been the case, where a religious/moral model of disability adopted by religious societies in the west such as Judaism and Christianity, read their scriptures using words and labels such as ‘crippled’, ‘lame’, ‘blind’, ‘dumb’, ‘feeble’ and others (Clapton and Fitzgerald, 1999). The use of these words is used by some in ou...
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Penton, J.H. (2008) Widening the Eye of the Needle: Access to Church Buildings for People with Disabilities. London: Church House Publishing.
Rose, A. (1997) “Who Causes the Blind to See”: Disability and quality of religious life. Disability & Society, 12(3), pp.395-405.
Selway, D. and Ashman, A. (1998) Disability, Religion and Health: A literature review in search of the spiritual dimensions of disability. Disability & Society, 13(3), pp.429-439.
Simpson, M. and Tuson, J. (2008) Using Observations in Small-Scale Research A Beginner’s Guide. Glasgow: Scottish Council for Research in Education (SCRE).
Stainton, T. (2008) Reason, grace and charity: Augustine and the impact of church doctrine on the construction of intellectual disability. Disability & Society, 23(5), pp.485-496.
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