Megan Barron has one simple request: please don’t pray with her in airports.
The 22-year-old recent Duke University graduate was born with dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a severe skin condition that makes skin blister from minor injuries, heat, friction and scratching. Barron’s hands have been scarred into fists, she has a few blisters on her face, and her thumbs have been surgically freed to help her type and perform other tasks, ABC News reports.
In a blog post published on Tuesday, Barron describes how her condition has attracted devout Christians who sometimes see her as a way to “exemplify God’s power to heal.” She says their good intentions to cure her with prayer are misguided ones.
“Rather than heal me as they intended (and you know the old maxim about good intentions), they helped break my self-esteem,” Barron wrote. “Does my body project a fate seeming so grim that I actually need saving? Every once in a while, I have to actively remind myself that what happened to me was an objective case of a genetic splicing error not the Devil’s handiwork.”
Barron goes into detail describing two separate incidents at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale airport where religious people have asked her mother whether they can pray to heal her daughter. Both times, Barron’s mother consented.
“The next thing I knew I was caught in what can only be described as a quite unholy prayer sandwich,” Barron wrote, describing an incident that happened when she was 15 years old. “The woman and her mother placed one hand on my back and one on my chest and right there, in the middle of the Ft. Lauderdale airport, began to feverishly pray on my body for Jesus to heal me. Between shouts of 'Jesus Cristo!' and 'Heal her, Father God!' their bodies shook violently, as if wracked by father, son and holy ghost all at once.”
In a separate incident at the same airport, a man approached Barron’s mother and asked whether he could pray for her.
“He approached with the same caution one would approach a frightened deer and asked if I believe in prayer,” Barron wrote. “He held out his hands and prayed for God to heal me, but with the added twist and flourish of asking God to take the Devil’s hands off me.”
Barron, a former White House intern, says she believes these people have good intentions and she appreciates their support. She says her misgivings lie when the people who pray for her make the assumption that she is suffering from her condition.
“What people should really be praying for in this situation is to have their good intentions supplemented with good judgment, because I think that’s what God probably would have preferred. Heaven knows I would.”
Barron has blogged about her condition before and the misconceptions surrounding epidermolysis bullosa. In a separate article, Barron referred to a case where a child with EB was kicked out of a Golden Corral, because the restaurant management though the child’s condition was contagious.
“Coming to terms with life as a rarity is a complex challenge that has no clear-cut beginning, middle and end,” Barron wrote. “We learn to adjust to being a constant exception -- not a rule. We will always have to educate the public and medical communities alike as to why we also matter.”