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A Georgia woman thought she found the perfect church. It was located in her neighborhood and would accommodate her service dog, Hook. Cynthia Coleman, 58, is legally blind, with no vision in right eye and only peripheral vision in the left.

However, Coleman was told to take Hook and sit in the back pew after they sat down in the front of the church during her first visit, WXIA-TV reports.

“Sitting down for about five or 10 minutes and about four or five deacons approached me in a way that made me feel very uncomfortable. Somewhat aggressive,” she told the outlet.

To no avail, Coleman explained that she could not see the pastor from the rear. But the deacons insisted that Coleman and Hook sit in the back over concerns that the dog would become agitated during the service.

“I was about in tears because we don’t choose to be blind, and we don’t choose to be disabled. I almost felt like the leper in the church,” she told WXIA-TV. “In a public place, especially in a church, we should be welcomed with open arms.”

Coleman believes the church acted inappropriately. She said the deacons could have admitted unfamiliarity with how to manage a service dog and asked her to explain “how this works.”

“It was discrimination. It was discrimination. I had never in my life been discriminated against. Never,” she stated to the station. “And to be discriminated against for the first time, as a disabled person in a church is disgusting.”

The church declined to comment to outlet.

SOURCE:  WXIA-TV

 

Blind Black Woman Outraged After She Is Ordered To Sit In The Back Of Church was originally published on newsone.com

19 thoughts on “Blind Black Woman Outraged After She Is Ordered To Sit In The Back Of Church

  1. Gabbi on said:

    The church was simply not prepared to accommodate and the workers were not informed! I don’t think any harm was meant!

  2. Service dogs have been known to cause great bodily harm to people around them when they perceive aggressiveness toward their masters. Seems as if she is the one who needs to admit unfamiliarity on how to manage a service dog. Bringing a dog into a church, with all that activity and noise just seems foolish. Asking a relative or church member to pick her up and accompany her to church sounds like a better solution to her problem. She and the church don’t run the risk of a law suit and no shouting, tambourine beating church members run the risk of serious bodily harm due to being mauled by an animal just trying to protect its master. People always have to make things harder than they have to be. Well, she got her fifteen minutes, maybe now she and Fido can relax.

  3. Sharon on said:

    The dog is a service dog therefore it is supposed to go where she goes. There are laws that forbid banning service animals from public places, church included. All service dogs I’ve seen/been around in public places (restaurants, metro, bus) lay at the owner’s feet under seat or under table. They wear a harness identifying them as service animal that says do not pet. Dont see why people are saying they are uncomfortable being around a dog. Dog probably cleaner than some of those “church folk” and has better manners too.
    Instead of making her sit in the back, they could have moved her to the end of the row with the dog under the pew. Please find a new church that will welcome and respect you and your dog.

    • CamaroSD on said:

      No Sharon, not church included. In fact the ADA federal regulations specifically exclude religious organizations such as churches. They did not have to allow the service dog at all and are allowed to place restrictions on it. From U.S. Department of Justice Q&A sheet on service animals under the ADA:

      Q34. Are churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship required to allow individuals to bring their service animals into the facility?

      A. No. Religious institutions and organizations are specifically exempt from the ADA.

  4. The church also has potential liability issues as well. No guarantee any dog will not bite. The church sanctuary specifically is Holy ground for most churches and frankly for those reasons will not allow a dog. A dog is a dog. It does not mean I am a dog hater. I simply do not want to be around a dog in worship service. She is welcomed to concur with the church’s request or leave.

      • CamaroSD on said:

        Incorrect because the church is under no legal responsibility to allow a service dog. The church is exempt from the ADA and legally allowed to deny service animals.
        Q34. Are churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship required to allow individuals to bring their service animals into the facility?

        A. No. Religious institutions and organizations are specifically exempt from the ADA.

  5. The pastor henchmen (deacon). If I were a deacon I wouldn’t have participated in sitting that women in the back of the pew. I know the church have rule but they could have spoken to the lady in a subtle way and have someone tie the service dog outside and let the lady sit in the front pew.
    By the way, why the majority of these damn churches don’t allow individual to sit in the front pew.

  6. Henry on said:

    Sometimes a dog is just a dog,and I don’t want to set next to one in those settings. Sometimes just try to understand other people feelings about dogs.
    Leave the dog in the back and you can be up front,which seems to me a simple thing,sounds more like let me make a movement/statement
    Get over it and move on

    • RENO2AC on said:

      She is blind. It is her service dog. The dog is her “eyes,” so she cannot sit in the front while the dog is in the back. In cases involving disabilities, a dog is NOT just a dog.

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