Here is the link to the original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/19/susanne-atanus-congress-_n_4993555.html#.
The following is an email that I sent to her private and public email addresses, as well as her facebook page. Despite the fact that the Republican party has now distanced themselves from Ms. Atanus, I did receive an email from her campaign manager stating that she appreciated my thoughts, but that she stands by her beliefs because “God is in control of everything.” If you would like to email her as well, you can do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is my email to her.
Dear Ms. Susanne Atanus,
As the mother of a child on the spectrum I could not disagree more. My child’s autism is no more a punishment from god to the world than your bad hair is a punishment from God to the world.
First of all, I believe in a loving, merciful Heavenly Father, that loves and accepts each one of us as we are. We ALL have our weaknesses and strengths, yours being your profound ignorance and lack of common sense.
Since it is obvious you do not understand Autism, I will explain it to you, the way my son explains his autism to me. My 12 year old states that “[My] Autism is not a disease. [My] Autism is not a disability. [My] Autism is not a situation where “something” has been taken away from [me]. [MY] AUTISM IS NOT LESS, IT’S DIFFERENT. [MY] Autism is NOT a punishment from God.”
Autism is NOT a punishment from God.
Some of the greatest minds in history we *now* know were likely minds that were on the Autism spectrum. Since you seem to be so “in tune” with God, perhaps you should consider Moses. It is now understood that Moses may have been on the autism spectrum. He was verbal, but he struggled with communication so intensely his brother Aaron had to speak FOR him. Yet this was the man Heavenly Father chose to give us our Ten Commandments. Was Moses also a punishment from God?
Today many biblical theorists and medical historians believe with strong certainty that Samson also may have been on the Autism spectrum. Samson was given supernatural strength, with which he defeated whole armies and lions singlehandedly. Most persons on the autism spectrum have sensory issues: and in a few cases, that includes an incredibly high pain tolerance. Many physicians theorize that Samson’s incredible strength was considered superhuman because it was combined with an inability to feel pain, thus making Samson practically fearless. Samson’s biggest weaknesses? Being able to control his social behavior around women, and if his hair was cut—he was unable to accomplish anything. Most individuals on the spectrum have social interaction problems, and also get pretty upset-devastated even- when any part of *their unique routine* gets disturbed. For a person who has never cut his hair, a haircut could be devastating to a person with Autism. Other behaviors, such as Sampson eating a lion carcass rare, are also consistent with a person on the Autism Spectrum. In fact, the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology recently published a paper on this exact topic. The link is here:
To really blow your mind on this issue, consider the fact that perhaps Jesus **himself** shared many of the behaviors and traits of a person with High Functioning Autism.
Consider the following:
1. Jesus had socially awkward interactions with people. A lot of people were angry with him a lot of the time.
2. While we don’t know much about his childhood, we do know he wandered off at the age of 12 (wondering is extremely common in children with autism). When he was found, he was irritated his mother did not telepathically know where he was.
3. Even as a child we know he spent much of his time debating scripture with adults. At 12 he was very “professor-like.”
4. He viewed the world in a very wrong/right, or black/white way.
5. He had a complete meltdown in the temple, where there (certainly) could have been a more socially acceptable means of expressing his thoughts/feelings at that time and it would have been equally effective.
6. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of scripture and a very specific set of interests that would be very different than that of his peers.
Now I cannot say, with any certainty, that this is the case. **This**is my own speculation, to prove a point to you, Ms. Atanus. However, my point in ALL of this is simply this: AUTISM IS NOT A PUNISHMENT FROM GOD.
My son’s abilities are a gift from God.
When I was on hospice, my 8 year old memorized all 47 of my medications, knew what they were for, and what drugs were incompatible with my current regimen. He discussed treatment options with my physicians, advocated on my behalf, and most of the time he was correct and the resident was wrong. My doctors enjoyed this interaction. During certain hours during each day, he managed my medication schedule, he managed my IV infusion and drips at home, and even managed to prepare and deliver my tube feeds and occasionally my IV nutrition. Not many neuro-typical eight year olds could accomplish that.
Autism IS a brain that’s wired differently. According to 1 Corinthians 12:18: “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” A brain that is wired differently, like my son’s, changes our world and makes it a better, more beautiful place.
Examples of this include:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sir Isaac Newton
Hans Christian Andersen
(The list is quite extensive and goes on and on…)
Ms. Atanus, if what you are saying is correct, that Autism is a punishment from God, then how is it that people with Autism bring so much beauty and love into a world that would be boring and bland without it?
I would like to close with one final thought, Ms. Atanus:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
An Angry Mother of an Amazing Child who just HAPPENS to also have Autism