I was very lucky to be born disabled in 1966, just as the disability rights movement was gaining strength worldwide — I was born into an era of disability activists agitating for recognition that we are human beings like any other, and that we should be treated with respect and dignity.

This is a political claim, but it’s also a theological one that has resonance with the fundamental precepts of most religions. As a Quaker, for example, I am taught to look for “that of God in every one,” in the words of George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement.

In most cultural contexts and for many centuries, disabled people have struggled for inclusion and survival. Throughout history, many disabled children have died or been left to die. Although a few disabled adults achieved prominence in previous eras — including a blind Syrian poet, a dwarf civil servant from...

You do not currently have access to this content.