Far-Right Pastor Enrages Parents With 'Autism Is Demonic' Sermon
"I know a minister who has seen lots of kids that are autistic, that he cast that demon out, and they were healed, and then he had to pray and their brain was rewired and they were fixed," Morrow said. "Yeah, I just went there. I mean, you can get online and see lots of examples of it. If it's not demonic, then we have to say God made them that way. Like, that's the only other explanation."
Morrow continued, 'Why [does] my kid have autism?' Well, either the devil's attacked them, he's brought this infirmity upon them, he's got them where he wants them, and/or God just doesn't like 'em very much and he made 'em that way. Well, my God doesn't make junk. God doesn't make mess-ups. God doesn't make people that way."
According to Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist, who helped Morrow's remarks receive public attention, "infuriated people in the community, some of whom have children with autism and have no trouble reconciling it with their faith." Mehta pointed out that the "sentiment was shared by many people who commented under the church's video on Facebook, with responses ranging from 'This whole congregation needs to run away' to 'I'm embarrassed this is in our community.'"
Mehta noted at the time that "one Missouri mother was so upset about his sermon that she reached out to Morrow personally to tell him how her son, who has autism, is a blessing. She explained that he doesn’t have an 'illness.' Rather, he's a 'brilliant child' who simply communicates differently. She also asked Morrow if he felt the same way about children with Down syndrome. He said that, too, was Satan's fault."
Mehta stressed that "Morrow isn't merely some random ignorant pastor. He's also a school board member for the Stoutland R-II School District. This guy oversees education for public school students, at least some of whom we have to assume are on the autism spectrum. That would mean he believes the devil has attacked all of them and the only way to handle those students is with prayer instead of therapy or academic intervention."
On Sunday, September 10th, Mehta updated that Morrow finally responded to the criticism that his beliefs received. But instead of making amends, Morrow doubled down.
"I made a statement Wednesday night talking about demons, and we're going to keep talking about them on Wednesday night. And I made a statement. I said, 'Let's talk about something demonic.' And I said, 'autism.' And then I said, 'God doesn't make junk,'" Morrow recalled. "Those of you that know me know that I love people and I would never say that people are junk. It has been perceived that I'm evil, that I am full of the devil, that I am possessed myself because I said kids with autism are junk. That's what has been perceived. What was intended was autism is junk. People that have it are loved by God and loved by me."
Mehta rejected Morrow's defense.
"Let me remind everyone that Morrow claimed kids with autism could be 'healed' with prayer," Mehta wrote. "That's a lie. He said that the only alternative to believing autism is caused by demons is saying, of children, 'God just doesn't like 'em very much and he made 'em that way.'"
Mehta added, "Oh. And he’s still on the local public school board."
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.