Pharaoh’s Principle #1: Toni Braxton’s Former View on Autism

 

Good evening everyone!! After months on hiatus and a messy end to Abilities of the Arts (my project that I helped grow for a year), Pharaoh’s Principle has returned. I will be doing this weekly for now on.

Before I go on, please read the following articles on Toni Braxton’s former view on how her son became autistic and the Christian response to it

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/24/toni-braxton-autism-son_n_5385477.html

http://guardianlv.com/2014/05/toni-braxton-says-sons-autism-is-gods-judgment-for-previous-abortion/

Braxton’s comment hits home to me in two ways. Though I’m spiritual and don’t like to prefer a religion over another, I’m strongly influenced by Christian beliefs. I’m also autistic myself; I was diagnosed at age 2 1/2. Both can be polarizing topics to talk about, since they are some controversial undertones to it. Autism and its role in the church is one of them.

I will give Ms. Braxton the benefit of the doubt. She mentioned that Diezel’s autism was God’s punishment for aborting a child before her second son came into the picture. But according to the Huffington Post, she has since changed her viewpoints. Braxton admits that her son is “is special and learns in a different way.”

As long as she learning that autism is not a curse, then I’m cool with her expressing her prior guilt in her memoir. Also, I understand her initial concerns because my family had that similar reaction when they first found out that I am autistic.  My father probably didn’t know how to approach me at first or was wondering if I would ever be the All-American son who can drive, play sports, and get married. I’m pretty sure that my mother would’ve hypothesized that my autism was a result of her past mistakes she thought she made. I can’t make further speculations because I didn’t comprehend either one of their thoughts back then, but I know that they were scared one way or another. But like Braxton, they don’t immediately go for the autism label. To them, I’m their proud, artsy son who loves his sports, social topics, cartoons, and adventures.

At first, I hated Braxton’s admission. It sounded like how the congregation can sometimes see my autism, as an impediment or curse from the deities. Yet I backed off after seeing that she was referring to the initial diagnosis, not a continuing belief.

However, I do want to pray for those who continue to think that autism is sin or punishment from God. And sadly, it’s not new. From the beginning, some linked any disability to the fault of the family or some kind of curse. It was brought up in the Bible, when Jesus’ disciples asked if a man’s blindness was a result of his parents’ sin. He replied:

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:2–3).

From what I read and know in my own life, autism happened so that God can work through people on the spectrum. It also happened so that God can inspire people to do God-pleasing works, no matter what condition you have or background you’re from. I believed that God worked through people like Temple Grandin, Anthony Ianni, Jason McElwain, Donna Williams, Blind Tom, Stephen Wiltshire, and even 50 Tyson (though we can question his lyrical content and delivery). And perhaps Ms. Braxton is slowly realizing that her Lord his working through Diezel to become a great person in the future.

Furthermore, the higher powers may be working on your child to grow into a great leader too. It takes believing in his or her abilities though, not focusing on the “negatives” of autism.