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May 20, 2008

How does one deal with someone who, due to no fault of their own, strikes others in a religious service? These are always difficult situations, and only rarely can the blame be legitimately placed only on one side. Sometimes there are simply no easy answers.

Similarly, what does one do with a person who has the rather unusual Tourette symptom of shouting out profanities and insults in a religious service? Should the rights of this person, who is not intentionally being disruptive, to attend outweigh the wishes of others in the congregation to worship in a peaceful environment?

What about others in the congregation who have anxiety or mood disorders which may be adversely affected by behavior of the person with Tourette syndrome?

I would say that attempts should be made to accommodate people without causing problems for others. For instance, as a child, I was, like many aspies, terrified by certain kinds of noises. I would sometimes have a panic attack and literally run out of the room.

Whose rights are more important? The rights of the person who, perhaps due to her or his neurodiversity, is making the noises, or the rights of myself who, perhaps due to my neurodiversity, is forced to leave the room? As I suggested, these questions have no simple answers.

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