My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
I hope you all had a great freedom day and took a moment to cherish the wonder of living in a free country in which the human dignity of all are protected by the Constitution. If we want to honour our freedom (and here comes the sermon – always thought I should have been a dominee or priest) every one of us need to respect the dignity of everyone in the country.
It is so easy to judge someone for how he or she looks, what political party that person supports, what gender he or she is, or whether the person speaks Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu or Shangaan. That is why this video tears me up every time I watch it. It challenges our prejudices and reminds us that we are all deserving of respect because we all have an inherent self worth. Respect.
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