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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

How to Die

I know there is no single right or wrong answer with the Terri Schiavo case in Florida, the vegetative woman who is has had her feeding tube removed and, possibly, re-inserted after a few days. (If you want to go into all the possible contradictions in this case, go to Heart of Canada and witness Theresa's impressive attempt to rationalize the issue.)

Leaving aside the moral arguments for and against allowing this person to die, not to mention the susequent court ruling which should have finalized her fate, I simply wish that the cause of death could be something less barbaric than starvation. Even condemned criminals on Death Row have access to a humane death, one which puts a person to sleep painlessly before a quick end to life. But Schiavo doesn't have this option given to her as she will have her life taken away over 14 days without food and water.

If she is going to be condemned to death, then put her out of her misery, quickly and honestly.

Posted by Rob Huck on March 22, 2005 | Permalink

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» Media Bias and Terri Schiavo from Colbert's Comments
"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life," President George W Bush Can someone explain to me why the Terri Schiavo case does no... [Read More]

Tracked on 2005-03-23 11:54:02 AM

Comments

I'm not sure what you mean by "rationalize the issue" regarding the post to which you've linked. I wouldn't consider that post rationalization so much as identification of the many different kinds of conflicting statements being made in the media and elsewhere about Terri Schiavo. In reviewing the statements, I believe it's not hard to see why this case has riveted the attention of so many people around the world (as I say in the post).

On the other hand, if you're referring to other posts I've written about the kind of situation in which Terri is in, I believe you and I would agree that starvation is objectionable; however, I would not agree with your rather callous statement that she be "put out of her misery," which seems, in my opinion, to be an astonishingly high-handed and impressively disrespectful way to speak of an individual person.

Posted by: tz | 2005-03-22 9:34:45 PM


I didn't want to begin my post with the various conflicts involved with this complicated issue as it has been discussed many times over, which is why I referred to your post, the most detailed post I have yet seen on the matter.

However, I don't believe I was being overly "callous" when I utilized the oft-used expression "put her out of her misery." I find the very idea of letting the woman starve to death to be nothing more than a compromise which allows the powers that be to kill a person without actually doing the deed itself. Therefore, they get off the hook of taking a human life. It's dishonest and cruel.

If the judicial decision is that a person must die, then the state should kill that person outright. Letting her linger to her grave, even if her neurons aren't responding to her pain, is, all the same, a vile act.

If I was being callous, it's only because the decision to let her die is callous in of itself. I don't believe I am speaking any worse than those who advocate for Terri Schivo's death.

Posted by: Huck | 2005-03-22 9:58:04 PM


Yes, your point about the method of death raises the idea of a kind of official dodge. Andy McCarthy in the National Review Online has made a similar statement to what you have said vis-a-vis how Terri is dying:

"Of course, the physical needs of the body are not limited to food and water. There is also air. But no judge, even in Florida, would ever have had the nerve in Terri's case to permit "the medical procedure that opponents refer to as asphyxiation." Too crude. Too quick. Too obviously murder of a vulnerable innocent. Brazen, instant savagery might wake us from our slumber. For the culture of death, better that we sleep."

It's worth reading the rest of his article at
http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_03_20_corner-archive.asp#059019 I think he would agree with you about the deed being dishonest and cruel.

I am sensitive to the kind of language used with regard to people. For example, today I read an article that compared Terri to "pudding" and "a begonia." That article was here

http://www.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=7470

in the Detroit Metro Times, and I found it repulsive, to say the least.

Posted by: tz | 2005-03-22 10:47:49 PM


I have been curious about religious perspectives on the Terri Schiavo case, so I took a closer look at what is being said on the web.

The Pope has come out against the starvation regimen. The Vatican condemned the withdrawal of the feeding tube in its newspaper Monday.

"Who - and on the basis of which criteria - can establish to whom the 'privilege' to live should be given?" L'Osservatore Romano asked in a commentary Monday. "Who can, before God and humanity, pretend with impunity to claim such a right?

Jewish religious leaders and thinkers are divided - but with a majority (at least in my findings online) against the withdrawl of life support...

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, a leading halachic authority of the past generation, points out that we have no "yardstick" by which to measure value of life. Even for a deaf, demented elderly man, incapable of doing any mitzvot, we must violate the Shabbat to save his life. It is not within our moral jurisdiction to decide what quality of life is "not worth living" and therefore unworthy of treatment.

A spokesman for the national Orthodox Jewish organization, Agudath Israel, appealed to Michael Schiavo Wednesday to "recognize that what a court may consider legal can still constitute a grave violation of a higher law," and asked him to "please allow your wife to continue to live."

Muslim opinion is also divided ... as is the case with the Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu sources I referenced. However overall, the bulk of religious opinion tends to the view that her life should be sustained.

Here is a comment from a Buddhist blog to that effect ...

"If she is a shell, a vegetable.... what harm is there in keeping her alive for however many years? The money is there, so she isn't a burden on the taxpayers, or family ..."

Posted by: raskolnikov | 2005-03-22 11:22:57 PM


The Fact is that Terri Schiavo is being kept alive by “art” and not nature. Death by starvation, as cruel and callous as it seems, is the natural progression of her condition. Asphyxiation or injection is euthanasia - a deliberate action to preempt the natural progression of disease or injury.

The fact is that Terri Schiavo will not recover. Paradoxically, the only hope for people like her lies in stem cell research - something the same people who scurried back to Washington oppose- but sadly for Terri any discoveries are 50 years or more away (after the life expectancy of an otherwise healthy person of her age).

If she does not die of starvation it is certain she will die prematurely of either infection ( like Christopher Reeve ) or pneumonia ( like Karen Ann Quinlan ) due to her circumstance. In a sense those forms of death are just as artificial as euthanasia. All those types of death would not occur but for our deliberate actions to either kill her or extend her life.

Given a choice between a death caused by deliberation, a death caused by circumstance or a death by natural progression I can’t help but think God would prefer it be natural.

Posted by: nBob | 2005-03-23 12:40:05 AM


I agree with President Bush... "When in doubt, err on the side of life".

Posted by: Joel K | 2005-03-23 3:16:16 AM


If the judicial decision is that a person must die, then the state should kill that person outright. Letting her linger to her grave, even if her neurons aren't responding to her pain, is, all the same, a vile act..

Huck


I don't think the court sees it that way. I believe the legal case is as follows.

People have the right to refuse medical treatment. A feeding tube was legally defined as medical treatment some time ago. Therefore people have a right to refuse a feeding tube.

If a given person can not clearly articulate her desire to refuse medical treatment and has let no written instruction, a series of people are given standing to present her position to the court. The surrogate of preference is the spouse.

No judge has ordered anybody killed, the court system has simply looked at competing views and picked among them based on established law. Which is their job.

I see a pretty bright line between society allowing people to control their medical treatment, through a living will or a surrogate and euthanasia. Are you suggesting it is in society's interests to cross that line?

Mont D. Law

Posted by: montdlaw | 2005-03-23 4:51:19 AM


Obviously, the line isn't that bright if our society is having such a vigorous debate over the issue. I understand the legal arguments behind the judge's decision and I'm not condemning the decision. The law is being followed to the letter.

No, my issue is that even though Schiavo cannot "feel" pain, damage is being done to her body over an indetermined, but ultimately finite, period of time which will lead to her demise. If refusing "medical treatment" is the same as letting her die, then I'd rather they just make her die immediately without all the lingering. All this is doing is wearing down on the family -- Terry Schivo's husband included -- and delaying the inevitable. Again, it would be more honest than saying she died of "natural progression."

I suppose the question might be, then, whether or not the law can be changed to reflect special cases such as these.

One more point I'd like to add is that this is a very emotional case. I think it be wise that all of us who are concerned with the outcome attempt to keep their emotions in check and their heads in the right place. Despite the impressions given by the media, I have no reason to assume Michael Schiavo isn't acting in his wife's best interests, and I won't speculate any further because I simply don't know the man. If I disagree with what he's doing, it's only because I disagree with the act itself, not his motivations.

Posted by: Huck | 2005-03-23 8:02:18 AM


Here's what I don't get. All the lefties say to "put her out of her misery" or "end her suffering". Then when you say that you shouldn't take decisions about life lightly, they say "well, she’s a vegetable" or "she’s already dead, its artificial life" or "her brain is now just fluid".
So which is it? You can't have it both ways. And if she's just a vegetable who has no awareness or feels no pain, then why not keep her going just for the sake of the parents? To ease their pain.
If she is a vegetable, it doesn't matter if you keep her going or not, it really boils down to who you want to help - the parents or the husband.

Posted by: alsocanadian | 2005-03-23 9:00:34 AM


I would caution you from using the "vegetative state" description that many of the pro-starvation media uses to describe this woman. There has been many reports of her ability to respond to voices and music (although her "husband" has banned the playing of music) She can track objects with her eyes and some reports even claim she can speak some limited words.

Read More..

http://www.brentcolbert.com/blog/index.php/2005/03/23/media_bias_and_terri_schiavo

Posted by: Brent Colbert | 2005-03-23 11:52:19 AM


Obviously, the line isn't that bright if our society is having such a vigorous debate over the issue.

Huck

But the general debate is not about how this woman will die, but if she will die. If a person or their surrogate decides to refuse medical treatment, including a feeding tube then the result is death. In Schiavo case the debate is around who has the legal right to act as her surrogate, who would best represent this woman's wishes. What you are advocating in the post we are discussing is euthanasia, which is something else entirely.

Mont D. Law

Posted by: montdlaw | 2005-03-23 1:31:47 PM


Huck,

You're going beyond right-to-die, past physician-assisted suicide, to full-blown euthanasia. Others have already blazed this intellectual trail. If Schiavo dies, and the practice of withdrawing food and water from non-dying patients becomes entrenched, the next of objective of the euthanasia movement is likely to be the substitution of lethal injection or other forms of "active euthanasia" for starvation/dehydration. *Then* we will hear all about Schiavo's probable sentience and terrible suffering... and be steered towards the "humane" solution.

Guys, the rising tide of euthanasia is not going to stop here. If it isn't turned back it will sweep away not only the putatively brain-dead Terri Schiavos, but the clearly sentient ones as, along with the Tracy Latimers and all the other _lebensunwerte Leben_

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-23 2:05:00 PM


As usual, too many people are jumping to unfounded conclusions around this issue. Terminally ill patients frequently choose to end their lives by dehydration; the experience is, reportedly, not as unpleasant as the alternatives. see for example here: http://tinyurl.com/3qbjc

This whole Schiavo debate is really not that complicated.

1) Individuals have a right to refuse medical treatment, including forced feeding by a tube.

2) Patients who are unable to speak for themselves must have their interests represented by a legal guardian; first in line is their spouse.

3) More than 20 judges in more than half a dozen state courts, appeals courts and now federal courts have adjudicated the best available evidence and expert opinions, and have all reached the same conclusions; that Michael Schiavo is acting in his wife's best interest and following her wishes, as expressed when she was still able to do so, not to prolong her life in a persistent vegetative state. (Contrary to the conservative noise machine's narrative most of those judges were Republicans, by the way. Judge Greer, who has received death threats for his decisions, is described by his colleagues as a devout, Evangelical Christian.) The arrogance of people who presume to know more about this case than all those judges because of something they read on some blog is just astounding!

The only unique thing about this case is the unwillingness of Mrs. Schiavo's parents to let go, and the media frenzy they have provoked. Similar decisions are made by families all the time, without the rancour, and no one notices.

American conservatives should be much more concerned at the prospect of the State dictating to individuals and families what medical treatments they must undergo, even against their will.

Oh, and don't ignore the case of Sun Hudson, who was removed from a respirator and allowed to die against his mother's wishes because of a law, signed by George "err on the side of life" Bush which allows hospitals to terminate patients who don't have enough money, regardless of the patient's or the family's wishes. Don't see a lot of outrage from the "culture of life" hypocrites about that one. http://tinyurl.com/44wm9

I fully support anyone who makes the decision on their own behalf, or as legal guardian behalf of their incapacitated child or spouse, to end futile care and let nature take it's course. But that is their decision, not the State's, not the hospitals, and for damn sure not the insurance companies.

To see people who call themselves conservatives arguing in favour of State intervention in the most personal matter imaginable is, frankly, sickening...

Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-03-23 2:21:33 PM


raskolniko,

Though I'm not a Catholic, I think the Catholic position is well worth considering. As I understand it:

- You cannot kill a patient, but you need not impose extraordinary treatments to keep her alive.

- There is a distinction between the normal duty of care, which is mandatory, and extraordinary treatments, which are not. For example, you couldn't leave a comotose patient lying in her own waste, in the expectation that she will eventually contract a fatal infection. If a terminal cancer patient gets bedsores, you may have to treat them with antibiotics, even though you would not have to impose a burdensome course of radiation therapy.

- The principle here is that you can let the underlying fatal disease or condition take its course, but you cannot introduce a new condition with the aim of causing the patient to die.

- Provision of food and water is considered to be part of the normal duty of care, even if provided through a tube.

- If Terri Schiavo dies within the next few days, her death will result from causes deliberated introduced last Friday, not from her underlying condition.

nBob: You're going down the same as Peter Singer, the animal rights/euthanasia guru. You know, the guy who said it would be morally acceptable (though admittedly unattractive) for parents to conceive and raise a child to age 4, then have it slaughtered to a provide a vital organ transplant for an older child. Once you collapse the distinction between so-called active and passive euthanasia (causing to die versus allowing to die) you're likely to discover that you've killed two children this morning by buying yourself a deluxe latte rather than giving the money to famine relief. And once you enter this moral world, there's no telling where you'll end up.

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-23 2:35:50 PM


nBob: I meant to say, "You're going down the same *path* as Peter Singer"

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-23 2:37:58 PM


Hermit,

Let's look more closely at your second point:

"Patients who are unable to speak for themselves must have their interests represented by a legal guardian; first in line is their spouse."

If you have money to put in the stock market, you can invest it in fly-by-night mining ventures, bankrupt airlines... whatever. It's your money. But if you are administering money as a trustee (on behalf of a disabled person, say), you *must* put it into prudent investments, and you can get into serious trouble if you don't.

In the same way, the law recognises a patient's right to refuse medical treatment even - in the extreme case - at the cost of their life. That doesn't that third party should be able to refuse vital treatment under delegated authority.

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-23 2:50:13 PM


In the same way, the law recognises a patient's right to refuse medical treatment even - in the extreme case - at the cost of their life. That doesn't (mean) that (a) third party should be able to refuse vital treatment under delegated authority.

Chris Burd

But that is not a matter of US law. As a matter of US law the third party has that right. If people would like to change that law, they should feel free to try. But I am pretty sure we are against the courts doing that. Or are we only against it if we disagree with the result.

Also

If Schiavo dies, and the practice of withdrawing food and water from non-dying patients becomes entrenched the next of objective of the euthanasia movement is likely to be the substitution of lethal injection or other forms of "active euthanasia" for starvation/dehydration.

Chris Burd

I'm pretty sure this practice is already entrenched, at least in the US. That is why the US courts are rejecting the Schindler's arguments. That is why US hospitals can withdraw care, including nutrition and hydration, from poor patients over family objections. US society has made this decision. Only time will tell if, like the Netherlands,the US expands these decisions to include actual euthanasia.

Mont D. Law

Posted by: montdlaw | 2005-03-23 3:31:41 PM


Hi Mont,

I'm not discussing the case from a legal point of view, but from a moral one, as my use of "should" was meant to indicate. But, no, I don't think that in principle there's anything wrong with courts intervening in abuse-of-trust cases. That's not the sort of thing people generally mean when they complain about courts overreaching. The law around euthanasia and similar issues is likewise an emerging area, and I don't mind the courts putting in their two bits' worth.

Yes, dehydration/starvation is already a common practice. I think you'll agree that Schiavo case will either weaken it or further entrench it, depending on the outcome.

BTW, there a good essay in Slate today, which matches my views pretty closely.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2115208

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-23 6:05:26 PM


I read the Slate piece and Harriet McBryde Johnson seems to be confused on a number of points.

1) Ms. Schiavo is not terminally ill.

No one in any legal proceeding has argued that Ms. Schiavo is terminally ill. You do not have to be terminally ill to refuse medical treatment. If someone's kidneys failed in Florida tomorrow, he could not be forced to undergo dialysis so he wouldn't die. This fact is irrelevant.

2) Ms. Schiavo is not dependent on life support.

Whatever Johnson's opinion US law defines a feeding tube as medical treatment. Which people have the right to refuse, along with dialysis and chemotherapy and blood transfusions. Life support is not an issue here. This fact is irrelevant.

3) The question is who should make the decision for her, and whether that substitute decision-maker should be authorized to kill her by starvation and dehydration.

Here the heart of the case. Who has the right to decide what medical treatments Ms. Schiavo should undergo. The law says that standing here goes to the spouse, with the court's approval. These conditions have been fulfilled and reviewed and approved.

4) Ms. Schiavo is completely unaware of her situation and therefore incapable of suffering physically or emotionally. Her death thus can't be justified for relieving her suffering.

Again, no one is arguing this. The argument is whether Ms. Schiavo would wish to continue medical treatment under the circumstances she is in. This point is irrelevant.

5) There is a genuine dispute as to what Ms. Schiavo believed and expressed about life with severe disability before she herself became incapacitated; certainly, she never stated her preferences in an advance directive like a living will. If we assume that Ms. Schiavo is aware and conscious, it is possible that, like most people who live with severe disability for as long as she has, she has abandoned her preconceived fears of the life she is now living. We have no idea whether she wishes to be bound by things she might have said when she was living a very different life. If we assume she is unaware and unconscious, we can't justify her death as her preference. She has no preference.

These arguments would effectively void a living will. Both arguments Johnson gives here apply just as sharply there. A person makes provison for this sort of thing when they are living a very different life, who knows what they think when it acutally happens. If they can't express it why should the earlier document apply. Further, if that person is unaware and unconscious why should any earlier opinion matter.

6) Ms. Schiavo, like all people, incapacitated or not, has a federal constitutional right not to be deprived of her life without due process of law.

Refusing medical treatment is not depriving someone of life. It is granting them the right to refuse medical treatment. A whole whack of courts have reviewed the evidence in this case and one more will review it. They have all decided the same way. A feeding tube is medical treatment and Ms. Schiavo's surrogate has a right to refuse it on her behalf. This point is irrelevant.

7) In addition to the rights all people enjoy, Ms. Schiavo has a statutory right under the Americans With Disabilities Act not to be treated differently because of her disability.

Ms. Schiavo's right to refuse medical treatment is the same as anyones. Unless the ADA somehow voids this right this point is irrelevant.

8) In other contexts, federal courts are available to make sure state courts respect federally protected rights.

The state court protected Ms. Schiavo's constitutional right to refuse medical treatment just fine. So far the federal court is continuing to protect that right.

Finally Johnson says. . .

I hope whoever is appointed to speak for me will be subject to legal constraints. Even if my guardian thinks I'd be better off dead—even if I think so myself—I hope to live and die in a world that recognizes that killing, even of people with the most severe disabilities, is a matter of more than private concern.

So no more living wills then, no more refusing medical treatment, no more making your own medical decisions if the government doesn't agree.
In fact if I was Johnson I would save my money, because as it stands now, it won't matter what she or her appointed surrogate want if she can't pay for it.

Mont D. Law

Posted by: montdlaw | 2005-03-23 8:00:47 PM


"To see people who call themselves conservatives arguing in favour of State intervention in the most personal matter imaginable is, frankly, sickening..." This is nonsense. The supremacy of the individual over the state is pure liberalism...right liberalism granted...but it is not conservatism as Burke outlines it. This is a prime example of the 'living' constitution that Scalia admonishes the black robes for purporting. The US Constitution does not guarantee the right to refuse treatment.

Antonin Scalia on the case of Nancy Cruzan -

"While I agree with the court's analysis today, and therefore join in its opinion, I would have preferred that we announce, clearly and promptly, that the federal courts have no business in this field, that American law has always accorded the state the power to prevent, by force if necessary, suicide. ... The point at which life becomes 'worthless,' and the point at which the means necessary to preserve it become 'extraordinary' or 'inappropriate,' are neither set forth in the Constitution nor known to the nine justices of this court any better than they are known to nine people picked at random from the Kansas City telephone directory."

Posted by: DJ | 2005-03-23 8:06:03 PM


"If you have money to put in the stock market, you can invest it in fly-by-night mining ventures, bankrupt airlines... whatever. It's your money. But if you are administering money as a trustee (on behalf of a disabled person, say), you *must* put it into prudent investments, and you can get into serious trouble if you don't."

Posted by: Chris Burd .

But if the trust is established for a specific purpose, with instructions given on how it is to be used the trustee must follow those instruction. If the proceeds are to benefit the opera you can't give them to the college football team.

According to Michael Schivao, to Terri Schiavo's friends, and as found by the courts, it was Terri Schiavo's instructiont to her trustee not to continue medical treatment if were ever in the kind of condition she is in today.

Mr. Schiavo appaerntly takes his promises very seriously; He waited to make the decision until there was no doubt that she will never recover, and since then he has refused to give up in the face of the worst kind of slander and he has turned down literally milions of dollars in bribes from people trying to buy his guardianship from him, all to carry out the promises he made to his wife, to carry out her instructions.

Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-03-24 7:39:12 AM


DJ...

We can quibble about what a "real" conservative is all day. Most of the people I know, both here and in the United States, who call themselves conservatives make a lot of noise about individual rights, indivual responsibility and individual liberty, and spend a lot of time complaining about the evils of "guv'mint" interference in their lives.

When it comes to something like this, I tend to agree with them...but they seem to have abandoned the idea themselves.

Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-03-24 7:42:54 AM


Mont,

Once again you are opposing a moral argument with an argument founded on the coldest legalism.

For a fresh perspective, let's consider the various miscarriage-of-justice cases of the last 20 years. Frequently, in those cases, the legal remedies have been exhausted before the case comes to public attention. In the criminal justice system, there's an ultimate recourse: an appeal to the Crown. All constitutional governments that I know of have similar mechanisms.

In cases like Schiavo's, without any clear societal intention, a situation has emerged in which a private individual has, in effect, life-or-death power over another person. There's no ultimate recourse to executive oversight in the case of vulnerable disabled people. That's an anomaly.

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-24 9:54:54 AM


Like most of the anti-Terri arguments, your argument depends on a claim of certainty where there is actually no certainty.

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-24 9:58:58 AM


This is a very sad story for Terri, her family and her husband. In particular, what is very sad is the utter failure of the Florida Legislature to provide for a superior set of legal answers then what has taken place here.

But the greatest failure of all has been by Jeb Bush. He has always had the power to take Terri into protective custody, and until the last couple of days has never considered doing so.

The flaw in all this, comes from backward lawyers who have somehow lodged into law a false notion that you somehow have the right to request certain treatments, such as one that would let you die prematurely. When Terri told her husband that she did not wish to be kept alive, if that is true as the Courts seem to think, she was beyond a choice she was legally competent to make. None of us have the legal right to kill ourselves, or to neglect ourselves. And that is what this actually boils down to.

Terri may linger for years as she has, and that should be something we accept as part of God's Will. It does not harm anyone very much, even if the Government has to fund such support services, its far less costly than paying scumbag lawyers millions of dollars to endlessly argue about it in Court.

I would have preferred that Jeb Bush simply have done his duty as Governor and moved to take her into protective custody. I would have felt badly for the husband who was trying to follow his wife's wishes, but unfortunately, these wishes were not "lawful" and were "ultra vires", or SHOULD have been.

What is truely sad, is that the Florida Legislature was negligent in its duties to very carefully consider the law of the community because it crafted these terrible laws that are now being adjudicated.

Its the same kind of shit created in Alberta by members of the Law Society of Alberta under the Dependent Adult Act. It tries to ignore the fact that seniors are still alive, and still have feelings and preferences, even if they have diminished capacity.

That is what some people have told the Summit on Justice Committee was a great "evil". But its also something that the Conservatives in Alberta have utterly ignored.

I believe that there is a side to God that obliges him to "punish" a sinful people. And what the legislators in the State of Florida have done with seniors there is a "great sin".

Who says that God is not just when He inflicted this year a record of four killer hurricanes? Even before we ever heard of Terri, His Justice was already being served upon a sinful and wicked and heretical people?

Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-24 11:05:32 AM


Chris

I am opposing a moral argument with a legal one because morality will not assure people the right to refuse medical treatment, they have to depend on cold legalism for that.

Also, I don't think the criminal justice argument holds up. The state is the major player in the criminal justice system. It defines crime, investigates crimes, accuses people of crimes, judges people guilty of crimes and punishes them for crimes. Protecting people against the might of the state is vital to a democracy. In fact, I believe that is exactly what the state and now federal courts in the US are doing for Ms. Schaivo, protecting her right to refuse medical treatment from the power of the state.

Finally I am not sure what you mean by "without any clear societal intention". Is societal intention not codified in law?

Mont D. Law

Posted by: montdlaw | 2005-03-24 11:51:08 AM


Joe Greene said:

"Who says that God is not just when He inflicted this year a record of four killer hurricanes? Even before we ever heard of Terri, His Justice was already being served upon a sinful and wicked and heretical people?"

I wouldn't call the Cubans "sinful and wicked and heretical." Castro and his international left apologists, yes, but the Cuban people? Fuggedaboudit!

Posted by: Mississauga Matt | 2005-03-24 12:24:33 PM


First,I think it's sick that our country would let innocent person starve to death. Second I feel for Terry because it was wrong. I hope that her husband GET WHAT HE DESERVE !!!!!!!!!

Coming from a 14 year old Broken Hearted Girl.

Posted by: Krissy | 2005-04-05 9:12:06 AM


Krissy wrote:

"First,I think it's sick that our country would let innocent person starve to death. Second I feel for Terry because it was wrong. I hope that her husband GET WHAT HE DESERVE !!!!!!!!!

Coming from a 14 year old Broken Hearted Girl."

I know that you feel badly, we all do. When I feel badly about injustices, I try to think about what suffering injustice actually means. For thoughtful Christians, it means sharing Jesus's cup in the Garden, just before Good Friday. It means to taste injustice, and that is the most bitter thing that exists. It is a spiritual gift of sorts to "suffer injustice" for our Lord's sake. The Holy Father tried to teach Christians this most difficult concept, that "injustice" is always the consequence of sin.

Finally, I get comfort from observing in Terri, how God fulfilled His Plan for her. God used Terri's life to humble the most powerful Government on Earth, and he showed that the Congress, the Senate, and the President together with his Brother the Governor, were utterly powerless to do anything, even as simple as reconnecting a feeding tube for a disabled woman.

God's message about the great evil of Euthanasia could not have been more powerfully delivered, and even if someone had tried to plan it, it could not have come out as strongly as it did.

And if you look at the suffering of Terri's parents, where they were not even permitted a Christian Burial for their daughter, consider how broken hearted they must be.

Finally, God showed the true face of evil, in the judge, the lawyer and the husband who all defied the "will of the people" and that Terri live out her days according to God's original plan for her.

Remember that what makes democracy important for Christians, is that the Holy Spirit moves through the people. Legitimacy for democratic government does not come merely from an unruly majority, its also something that God Himself guides in His People through elections. That is why I always marvel after elections how they seem to turn out even better than I might have thought, with the benefit of hindsight.

Finally Krissy, understand that what possesses the judges, the lawyers and the husband is the kind of evil spirit that Jesus talked about, an evil spirit that cannot come out except with prayer.

Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-04-05 9:34:04 AM



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