Monday, March 28, 2005

Schiavo's Silence- What is Not Being Said?

This is a tough one. I feel somewhat inadequate to make a statement on this heart wrenching issue. I do not have all the facts and am basing a lot of this on TV reports, which is always dangerous.

The Bible gives us a foundation for upholding life. There is a sacredness of all human life because it is life according to God’s kind (Genesis 1). Ironically, Genesis 9:6, which we base our acceptance of the death penalty is another support of this position. (The Death Penalty is another debate.) We get from scripture a command to revere and uphold life, including the defense of the defenseless. We need to err on the side of life.

Now to Ms. Schiavo. Most Christians would accept the notion that life should not be kept alive by heroic or artificial methods. The crucial step in this argument is the definition of the feeding tube. Is this an artificially, heroic measure that has allowed this human to survive longer than would be natural?

Our understanding in the past has been that food and water are not heroic measures. But is the feeding tube enough of an artificial delivery system, that we are causing this body to linger when the soul is absent?

The patient has the ability to answer that question and could do so with a clear conscience in either case. In this case, the patient is unable to decide. So the question now goes to the one who is next in line with that decision.

This is where I have extreme concerns in this case. The husband does, I believe, have the right to make this decision. The courts have agreed to that. It is his decision that has me baffled.

His behavior is strange, including the disposition to cremate the body of his wife after her death. Why is he doing this?

The parents’ behavior is understandable and normal. Why not let them take custody of her life?

The husband is interesting. His life will not be better now. He is going into the life of O.J. Simpson or Scott Peterson. He does not seem to be served well by wise counsel. Especially the spokesman who mentioned how beautiful Ms. Schiavo seemed as she is dying - how dumb was that quote?

I find a number of disturbing conflicting disagreements in this case- Disagreement over persistent vegetative state. Disagreement over Ms. Schiavo’s condition. Strange behavior by the husband. Of course, none of this is helped by the sideshow surrounding these events.

As I read back over this, I feel like a Michael Moore- no real answers. Just a lot of questions. I am praying again for a sense of unity in our nation. Does this all have to be lines in the sand of our culture war? Lord, please help us.

update: Ms Shiavo passed away and the hurt and questions remain. Mr. Schiavo has to live with a decision he made to end her life. She was not allowed to die- she was willed to die by an outside agent. Now it is in the hand of God. He is a righteous judge without fail.

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