Since the beginning of time, religion has created a structure for society. It keeps things in order and emphasizes good behavior. Over time, people developed shared beliefs and morals that motivated them to help others.
In the following post, we will explore how faith is providing support and resources for the deaf community.
The Deaf Community: Accessibility and Support
Deaf people face barriers in everyday life that hearing people couldn’t imagine, like accessing information, navigating, and the biggest hurdle is communication. It happens everywhere, from public venues, to welfare services, and religious sites. The deaf community cannot enjoy or use it in the same compacity as a hearing person.
A spoken language is a dominant form of communication, but let’s take a step back to those left behind deaf people rely on visuals to navigate daily life. The American Disabilities Act has policies that every public venue should follow, but some establishments still fall short.
Providing resources through textual language is one way that improves accessibility, which means making a deaf-friendly website for an establishment, providing brochures, and marking signs for easy navigation.
As for the church, textual resources are available in the books, but this still doesn’t make the religion accessible. Reading the Bible or the Torah isn’t the same as going to a shopping mall. It requires a different level of understanding. Religious organizations should support deaf people by providing resources like captioned videos, interpreters, and other things that will make worship accessible.
What is the Role of Religion in Modern Society
The world is full of optimization and distractions to no end. Religion gives clarity and structure to everyone. From a Sociological standpoint, religion is a practice that brings people together for the same reason, which can provide social stability through interaction with people from different places. It can build tolerance which also reinforces a stable society.
Worshippers will also use it as a moral compass. Most religions teach right from wrong in the form of codes or laws. In Christianity, it would be the Ten Commandments or Buddhism, precepts. These are the foundation for moral behavior and strengthen society as a whole.
Coping with Stress
In times of stress and anxiety, religion provides that support through self-reflection, prayer, or worshipping with others. The idea of togetherness makes a person feel supported, wanted and loved. That is how religion can promote better well-being and gives individuals a sense of purpose.
When deaf people can properly access religion, it can do the same things for them. They thrive in their micro-communities, but advancing accessibility creates an inclusive community.
Religious organizations, for-profit, volunteering, and missionaries impact communities. They operate on a spiritual or a religious tradition and advocate for communities neglected by leaders. There are several areas in that they assist people all over the world.
In the education sector, several schools have opened for deaf students with a faith-based education, from Christianity to Islam, these institutions provide religious instruction in addition to practical, real-world skills for deaf students. More importantly, a faith-based education supports the students because it potentially empowers them to band together and advocate for each other.
Previously, we discussed the idea of how religion can support emotions. Faith can develop coping mechanisms and a sense of self-worth. Aside from all the mundane things that cause people anxiety, imagine not understanding the world due to language barriers. It can also contribute to emotional distress.
It’s similar to being in a foreign country where you are literally at a loss for words. It presents personal challenges if they don’t have that community. The lack of Sign Language and Signers makes it even harder to access things.
That is the importance of a community of people with the same traits or lived experiences. Deaf people want to understand themselves and shape their identity. Faith can develop a deaf person’s sense of well-being and worth. It’s another reason religious spaces must have more accessibility because any hindrance in communication can hurt the deaf community.
The deaf community is built on the idea of a collectivist culture. However, some communities form stronger than others, because there is also this part of isolation of not knowing Sign Language. Some deaf people were born deaf or became deaf later in life.
How Religion Can Promote Acceptance
That part of acceptance is a tricky thing to navigate. Some communities might isolate people if they can’t communicate well with them. That isolation could be detrimental to someone who already feels like they are on the margins of society. That’s why having a community is essential for spiritual growth.
Missionaries operate all over the world with the intent of spreading the word of their creator. The Christian Mission of the Deaf in West Africa is one example of a non-profit organization helping the deaf understand the word of God who otherwise faces language limitations. Missionaries and other programs through the church build ecclesial communities for deaf people to thrive through training deaf people in religious studies, youth leadership camps, and more.
Basic Services and Welfare
Most religions encourage worshippers to fight for the vulnerable. Spanning Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam, each religion has its version of giving back to its community.
Religious organizations also reach out to assist with housing and medical services, especially for deaf communities. The National Association of the Deaf advocates for improving public transportation, voting rights, assistive technology, and housing. While this is not explicitly an association founded on religious values, they are still making a tremendous impact in supporting the deaf community.
Experience Signers are important to the deaf community. Interpreters provide understanding in the hearing world. Some churches hire and train interpreters specifically for deaf audiences. Many businesses provide these services to religious establishments.
Visit https://www.unspokenasl.com/ and learn more about the power of inclusive communication for the deaf community.