If you go to the homepage of LowCountry Community Church in Bluffton, South Carolina, there’s a message that says “Wherever you’re from, there’s a place for you here.”
So naturally, the church is in the news for kicking out a man with disabilities, according to Lana Ferguson of The Island Packet.
29-year-old Taylor Burch, who’s legally blind, attended a service on Sunday along with his service dog named Independence. He was invited inside by the greeters at the door and took his seat… but minutes later, a church volunteer told him he needed to get the hell out.
“You can’t have that dog in here,” he said to Burch.
“He was questioning me like he didn’t believe me,” Burch said. “I was totally humiliated.”
Burch left, immediately called his mother to pick him up, and sat on the patio until she got there.
The entire interaction, he said, lasted five minutes.
“I was sad,” he said. “I was frustrated. I was in shock.”
Burch’s sister posted about the situation shortly afterwards, saying she was “in disbelief that a place that teaches love and acceptance would not allow a person like my brother with his very well behaved and intensely trained guide dog to attended a church service.”
The church’s response?
The church has said it did nothing wrong. Churches and synagogues are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act.
There’s that Christian love for you: We don’t have to follow the law because we have Jesus.
Burch has no plans to return to the church, but he is urging staffers to accept what literally every other establishment understands: that service animals should be accommodated. Just because the church is exempt from the law doesn’t mean what they did was ethical or compassionate.
The church still hasn’t said anything publicly about the incident, responding to all inquiries with a form letter saying animals aren’t permitted on the premises for everyone’s “safety.” As if service animals are synonymous with wild rabid monkeys.
Jesus healed the blind, but this church kicks them out.
Hell, the service dog was doing more to help the blind that the staff at that church.
The only good news is that Burch found out within five minutes that this church wasn’t worth his time. Some people spend years in a congregation before they figure that out.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Valerie for the link)