Tuesday, March 22

TERRI SCHINDLER SCHIAVO -- A DISPENSABLE, "MISERABLE MINORITY"

Michael Schiavo, a husband who could not bring himself to honor his wedding vows and, as a man, honor, protect, and cherish his wife in her sickness, has won the day. So, too, have the men in black robes. The result: Theresa, a gross inconvenience to her philandering husband and a recurrent object of disdain for Judge George Greer, is dying a slow, horrific death by starvation and dehydration that violates every norm of fairness, compassion, and reverence for God's creation and His most vulnerable among us. And death will come this time. It will surely come.

What's being carried out in that Gulag -- the Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida -- where Terri has been warehoused for years and years without benefit of sunlight or fresh air, or much in the way of human kindness, as if already interred by the man who has long since grown weary of her continued breathing, is beyond the pale. It's an egregious affront to those who believe in the sanctity of life and that man's will should not transcend God's on this Earth.

Indeed, that which has horrified the church of her faith has been given a benediction by the courts. Secularism has triumphed. Life has been depreciated. What you cannot do to a pet dog or an endangered eagle in Florida, you can do to a hapless woman, who has become too much trouble, too great an inconvenience, for a society where the law of the land defies the laws of God.

THOU SHALL NOT KILL may apply to Scott Peterson, John Couey, and Brian Nichols, but certainly not to a Michael Schiavo or a Dr. George Tiller. You can do the most grissly things in this country -- partially extract a pre-born child from the womb and kill it or starve and dehydrate a defenseless woman whose only sin is that she requires a feeding tube to sustain her -- and get away with it; but, you don't dare neglect and starve animals in Florida or the weight of the law -- 120 felony counts -- will come down on you like the wrath of Yahweh.

Human beings requiring any form or manner of life support, from sentient human beings in the womb to the severely handicapped and mentally challenged, have everything to fear now. We live in an age, we truly do, here and throughout the world, in which lives perceived as unworthy of life are fair game for euthanasia. If you don't measure up, if you're an inconvenience, if you're the wrong kind of drain on tax dollars, if your gender doesn't fit the plans of the state, the plug is going to be pulled on you.

If you've listened closely to the dialogue that has surrounded the Terri Schindler Schiavo controversy and particularly in the mainstream media, a popular rationale for ending Terri's life, after 15 years of her requiring a feeding tube and the evidence of a CT-scan (dubious at best) that suggests her brain has mostly liquified, is that her likelihood of recovery is statistically so slight that she's rendered essentially hopeless. If you're a Type I Diabetic, how does this sit with you? You have an incurable, chronic disease, you require daily insulin shots to sustain you, and the insulin itself is a product of medical science. People like you died a century ago. How dare the wonders of modern medicine intervene to keep you alive! And even with good control of your blood sugars you may ultimately suffer serious complications and be rendered blind or severely incapacited. Will they come for you next? Preposterous, you say? Think again. Your chronic disease is fair game in this depraved new world, as are a host of chronic diseases and forms of paralysis. At some point in the progression of your disease, you may be regarded by an uncaring spouse, family member, or the courts, as no longer viable -- and by their standards, not yours!

Terri's only crime, for which her constitutional rights of "due process" and the proscription against "cruel and unusual punishments" have been sacrificed on the altar of expediency, is that she became categorized by her husband, her husband's attorneys, and the courts, as being among the "miserable minority" -- those who, owing to their brain injuries, are deemed "profoundly affected for life."

But, Theresa's legacy -- her noble example of grace, courage, and good-natured perseverance -- will be her profound and lasting imprint on our own lives. Much like your experience, Theresa, many of us will never be quite the same again. And that will be a virtue and that virtue will drive and sustain us against the forces of nihilism arrayed against us.

Peace be with you, Theresa, and may God give you in His Kingdom that which your husband and the courts refused you in this world.