Boy’s Removal from Church Service Spurs Debate in UK on Welcoming Those with Autism


Boy’s Removal from Church Service Spurs Debate in UK on Welcoming Those with Autism

LONDON (RNS) — King’s College Chapel at Cambridge University has one of the most famous choirs in Britain, known around the world for its Christmas Eve service, which the BBC has been broadcasting for the past 70 years. When Paul Rimmer decided to take his two sons to a choral evensong at the chapel two weeks ago (June 16), he expected his music-loving son Tristan would enjoy the service.

Instead, the Rimmers’ visit brought headlines and an apology from the dean of the chapel and inspired a debate about how churches treat children and adults with autism after Rimmer was asked to remove 9-year-old Tristan, who has autism, for making too much noise.

“Music is very important to him, and it’s noticeable that he particularly likes good, quality music. He doesn’t like it when it is off-key,” said Rimmer, a post-doctoral fellow in earth sciences at the university. “We’d been before to King’s College Chapel as a family with my wife but without Tristan. But my wife was away and so was Tristan’s carer.”

“For him, calling out is a way of him expressing himself. But then someone came and asked us to leave. I explained that my son is autistic, but he insisted and said the dean wanted us to go, so we left,” he told Religion News Service.

“This was a form of discrimination against my son,” he added.

Rimmer was so incensed that he…

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