Friday, November 16, 2007

I'd wear his medal

The Queen of the Pro-Life Bloggers links to a heart-stretching article on Dr. Jerome Lejeune in an Irish magazine:
Something very unusual happened at a Special Olympics for those with a learning disability. Two sprinters, both of them suffering from what is called Down’s Syndrome, raced side by side. One of them pulled away, then suddenly stumbled and fell. His companion stopped, lifted him up, massaged his knees, embraced him. Together they shared podium honours. Emotion swept the stands. Spectators had been given a lesson in love.

Down’s Syndrome participants focused on one particular spectator. They smothered him with embraces and kisses. They emblazoned him with their golds, silvers and bronzes. He was the man who had defended their dignity, given them a new name and identity, discredited ‘mongolism’ and ‘Down’s Syndrome’ with their racist connections. The former term came from the belief that their physical appearance denoted a link with the inhabitants of Mongolia. The latter term commemorated the mid-19th century Sir Langdon Down, apparently a believer in white racial superiortity, who described the handicap as “mongolian idiocy”.

Anyone who's ever known a Down's Syndrome child has seen human innocence. What they lack in intellectual capacity, they more than make up for in sheer goodness. I've known several, annd I can honestly say I've never seen one be deliberately unkind to anyone. The Special Olympics story is typical.
But for his defense of these children, Dr. Lejeune was excoriated by his colleagues who saw no monetary potential in them, and hence no reason for them to live. He was passed over for a Nobel Prize because he insisted on treating the incconvenient as human. But if the delightful Dawn is correct, he's up for canonization, which makes the silly thing in Stockholm look about as prestigious as an honorable mention in a grade-school talent show. You go, St. Jerome!

No comments: