Autism · My world

Carol Race — the restraining order stands

Adam Race, an autistic teenager, will not be allowed to attend mass at The Parish of St. Joseph In Bertha, Minn.  The judge ruled that Adam’s behaviors constituted harassment towards the parish. 

You can read the news articles here. I am not surprised by the ruling, but it is sad that it got to this point.

10 thoughts on “Carol Race — the restraining order stands

  1. This isn’t a kid just making a few noises in church.

    According to a previous AP story, “Adam struck a child during mass, nearly knocks elderly parishioners over…, spits and sometimes urinates in church and fights when he is being restrained. He also… assaulted a girl by pulling her onto his lap and started up twocars in the parking lot….There were people who could have been injured or killed…”

    Carol Race’s response in the Star Tribune story was most telling: “I totally understand that the church environment in this case has to be safe. But the bottom line is one out of 150 births includes an autistic child and as a society we have to deal with it. We have to be able to go out to church and restaurants and events as one family.”

    So Ms. Race, an activist, self-proclaimed “Moses” of families with autistic children, admits that her out-of-control son poses a safety risk to others. But everyone else still has to conform to her politically correct views of inclusion.

    The judge sensibly put public safety first: your rights to accommodation end where others’ rights to public safety begin.

  2. Well, I went ahead an approved this even though “Redtown” has cut and pasted this identical comment on about 700 other blogs more out of curiosity than anything else. I emailed them yesterday to see if they really wanted me to post it in light of the other things I have written, but I didn’t get a response.

    I am not sure who s/he thinks s/he is disagreeing with, but I guess that it must be rather important to them to say the exact same thing in as many places on the Internet as humanly possible. Far be it from me to crush people’s dreams. Who knows maybe they will come back and explain.

    It is really interesting to me that there are so many people who are commenting on this topic. Even more interesting are the ones who are commenting over and over and all over the place. As though they can somehow build support for their point just by repeating it often enough. So what gives Redtown? You obviously didn’t read anything I have written on the topic other than the update post, so I don’t believe you want to engage me personally on this topic. You seriously seem to want to have your say on this issue. What horse do you actually HAVE in this run?

  3. Darcee,

    While I have posted on 10 other blogs, I will always return to each for individual discussion if anyone cares to respond. I see nothing wrong with engaging in several discussions simultaneously.

    As a matter of fact, I did read your previous comments back in May and linked it in another blog then. Your exchange with Fr. Showers was one of the more significant in this debate, coming from a mother who knows autism first hand.

    My interest in this case is that I am a (retired) SPED teacher and have some experience with autistic students. I’ve seen many parents who will do anything to either deny or justify their children’s behavior, to the detriment of their children.

    I believe that Carol Race is one such parent in denial, skewed by an activist political mentality. As a teacher, I was limited in what I could say to parents. On the blogosphere I can tell the truth.

    I just wish parents like Carol Race would get off their high horses and deal with their children’s realities. It’s apparent that Adam’s hormones are kicking in, that the church environment over-stimulates him, that she is losing control, and that she needs some outside help. She should stop playing Rosa Parks, and do what’s best for her son.

    Liz Hale

  4. Well Liz,

    First off, thank you for responding. I am glad that you found my earlier comments worth while. Last month I closed comments on the Carol Race story because it was turning into an all around blog war between those who supported Carol and those who supported the parish. It was not attractive and I think did no good for the church or for parents of autistic teens. Honestly it was something I didn’t want to be involved in.

    I have had the opportunity to speak with Carol Race a couple of times since this all came out. I have found her very intelligent, understanding and very enjoyable to speak with. One of the things that frustrates her is how the media spins this story to make a better story. The mom of the autistic kid verses the local parish is a good story, it sells. The truth is more complicated and includes the small town social dynamics and the realities of what a parish can or can’t accommodate. Unless you actually KNOW Carol speaking about her mentality, her parenting or the type of horse she rode in on is probably inappropriate. Comment on her actions all you like, but when speaking about motives caution and generosity should rule.

    Good parents of autistic children all end up having to play crusader once in a while. That is just reality. Our children have needs that are beyond what the normal social structures provide and sometimes we have to pick up our proverbial swords and head into battle to make our children’s lives better. Some of us fall into that role more easily than others and some of us get stuck in the role. Coming to terms with the limits of your child’s abilities and your own limited abilities to do it all yourself is a process, it is never easy and doing it with the hot spotlight of the media glaring down on you must make it that much worse.

    I can imagine that it is really hard to be working in a field where you see parents not dealing with reality. But hope is a hard to kill in a parent’s heart. We all hope for the best for our children no matter how bad it might be at the moment. Sometimes I am sure from the outside this looks like not dealing with reality, from the inside it means waking up each morning and not giving up on your child.

    There are important issues that we as a Christian community need to address. Carol is right when she says that we will be seeing more of this as the “bubble” of autistic kids ages. The issues of inclusion in the communal celebration of the Christian community are going have to be looked at closely. My city has masses that are specially designed to minster to those with special/ behavioral needs. This type of accommodation isn’t available to those outside of metropolitan areas.

    In the end, while the Church can and will accommodate everyone, not every parish can accommodate every person in the way that they might want. I can see things on both sides of this that could have been handled better, but that is really easy to see from the outside, from the inside things always aren’t so clear.

  5. darcee – do you know how the media became SO involved in this situation? I read somewhere that Carol contacted the media. For church accommodation she may just have to move to the metropolitan areas for these services for her 13 year old autistic son. You made a statement that you had to close a comment page last month. We’re the comments on that page off topic?
    From what I have seen on the site Topix, 80% of the comments are against Carol Race.

  6. My understanding is that the Star Tribune got the first article from their local news feed and that Carol contacted and/or arranged interviews with other news outlets on the recommendation of some in the autism activists community. I disagree with involving the media and personally wouldn’t have done that in a million years. In fact I was at first very upset that Carol had taken this to the media, but I know that she feels she has very little support in her local community and probably less now that she has decided to fight this whole thing through.

    Last month the comments just got too much for my little corner of the world to deal with. I run a happy little Catholic homemaking blog. I talk about my life. Share some pictures. Hopefully make some people out there laugh, offer a few useful ideas and maybe, just occasionally, inspire someone love their families and the people around them a hair more fully. That is it. I am not a big fish even in the Catholic blog universe and I don’t feel I am obligated to allow everyone who stops by to have their say. Especially considering what I was seeing.

    Some of the comments were attacking me personally, my choice of placing our autistic child in a group home, my mental state, my reply to Fr Showers. They made me very thankful to have the old delete key. Others wanted to rant about Carol or Fr Walz. A few of the posters were from the local area (like the Topix posts) and I really didn’t want to have the community of St Joseph debating their situation in my parlor. So I shut the comments down. For me it was a good option. Now that the conversation has slowed down I feel I can open them back up and hopefully it will all remain civil this time.

  7. darcee, Thank you for responding to my questions. I am trying to get a time line and details on this topic, Carol Race, church and autism. I have read other comments, like on Topix etc. Good luck in your mission with your homemaking blog. It sounds like a fun way to be involved. Sometimes the topics are “Hot” topics, and just get to be to overwhelming.

  8. Thank you, Paula.

    Yeah, this has been one of those “hot topics” my husband laughs at me and says this story just happened to hit two of the topics I can speak with any authority on. “Being Catholic” and “Parenting an Autistic Teen”. Sort of the perfect storm for my little place in the blog-sphere. If there is anything I can offer it would be just to ask people for their prayers. I don’t think there are any “bad guys” in this story. Just people trying to do what they think is best for those they are responsible for. Unfortunately too many people want to see clean cut lines of right and wrong. Everything I have read, my conversations with those involved… it is has all led me back to my original thought. There are no winners in this situation and there really can’t be.

  9. Darcee,

    I have been mum on this issue for a bit because my Archbishop wanted to get to the bottom of a very precarious issue.

    Mrs. Race has tried to debunk my studies and ordination by making allegations against me based on items i posted here and on my own blog.

    But this has been my experience with her.

    Shortly after i moved my blog to wordpress, I posted my thoughts based on information available from the several media outlets, canon law and positions posted by the USCCB Committee on Disablities. I then went to work as a Camp Chaplain in Maine.

    When I got back there were several “nastygrams” in my email from Mrs. Race. She demanded that I give her my phone number, after fifteen years in corrections this is something i will not do. She then emailed me hers and demanded I call here by such and such a date and time, the weekend I left the US to come to Rome for Seminary. I explained to her that i could not as I would be moving that weekend. She said that my “excuses” were indicitive that I had “no interest in learning the truth.” She then treatened me over the course of several emails eventually writing a letter to my AB. He came back and I got called back and was pulled before a tribunal.

    Prior to this course, my position was that Canonically the church was correct. The pastor felt that Adam was a threat to not just the worship environment but to the actual safety of the Parish. He had offered the family options and had been refuted. We know all this.
    That is what the tribunal found. Mrs. Race’s accusations against me to the AB were disreguarded. But it resulted in the situation being deferred to both Bernalillo County, by the Diocese, and York County Maine, by me initially, for investigation of criminal threatening (she threatened me in a way that potentially endangered livelihood, a felony in maine).

    The woes of Mrs. Race are her own making. While I have empathy for families with autism, my nephew and brother are both autistic, I have lost any empathy let alone sympathy for Mrs. RAce.

    By her own admission her childrens teachers wish she would “just go away”

  10. PhineasJay – I do know your point. Carol Race lived in the Twin Cities years and years ago. She was some sort of a teacher at a church in the area. She is very obstinate, overbearing, headstrong, rudely arrogant, domineering, aggressive and dogmatic/hypocrite. Yes she can be both dogmatic and a hypocrite. I know someone who is afraid of her. She has been known to argue with my friend and she uses religion to debate and frighten people. What kind of a religion uses guilt and fear to grow it’s community? Carol’s religion. She wears the pants in her marriage. Her husband is hen pecked. I must say that I have read that a restraining order and a citation were issued. What kind of a parent would push an issue this far? She’s unstable. My friend and I had forgotten all about the terrible times we had with her, and we were not surprised to see her name in the news. We knew someday she would just go to far. I feel sorry for anyone that lives in Todd County and I feel her kids teachers pain – just go away.

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