5/03/2005

The Terri Schiavo Case—Some Balance Please

As I listened to my conservative and my liberal friends speak out on the Schiavo case, I kept asking questions to myself. Is it really as black-and-white as they both seem to make it? I felt that the case raised more complex questions than it provided simple answers.

Thanks goes out to Christianity Today’s Mark Galli, who had the guts (in his article, Questions for Both Sides) to ask those questions in this month’s CT. I've placed Christianity Today in the “Christian Center,” and Galli's column seems to prove my point.

Here are just some of the questions Galli raises:

Why did the courts consistently refuse to allow new evidence to be introduced in this case, when they often seem eager to allow new evidence to be introduced in death penalty cases?

Why is it that so many who believe one should "love your neighbor as yourself," say they would want the feeding tube pulled on themselves but would not have done it for Terri?


Many doctors were confident that Terri's apparent responses to friends and family were random, unintelligent, motor-driven, and meant nothing. How did they know that?

Why did so many Christians on the Right, who insist Christians should obey governing authority, talk about defying officials and forcing their way in to save Terri?


Why did the single case of Terri Schiavo get so much front-page coverage, and the more than 10,000 per month dying in the Darfur genocide get hardly a mention in the newspapers in the last month?


Why does the Religious Right consider this a test case of whether the nation believes in the culture of life or the culture of death, when the legal case hinged on whether Terri wanted to live or die?


If there are people who were willing and able to take care of Terri, why weren't they allowed to practice such extraordinary love?

Why have many devout believers—who believe in the Resurrection—spoken about all this as if the worst thing that could happen to a person is dying?

2 comments:

Byron said...

Why is it that so many who believe one should "love your neighbor as yourself," say they would want the feeding tube pulled on themselves but would not have done it for Terri?

Straw man. Does he have evidence that this is the case, or is he just making this up? 79% of people, in a Zogby poll, when given the EXACT set of circumstances surrounding Terri Schiavo, said, "we do not believe that the feeding tube should have been pulled".

Why did so many Christians on the Right, who insist Christians should obey governing authority, talk about defying officials and forcing their way in to save Terri?

Fair question; I did that. Perhaps, and this doesn't justify it, our frustration with some of the other things Galli refers to (evidence not being considered, inhumanity of not allowing even Communion to be administered, etc.).

Why does the Religious Right consider this a test case of whether the nation believes in the culture of life or the culture of death, when the legal case hinged on whether Terri wanted to live or die?

Red herring. I don't know that the "Religious Right" considers this a "test case of whether the nation believes in the culture of life...". I don't think that the "Religious Right" (whatEVER that is) frankly cares what the polls say about this issue, but only about what is RIGHT.

Why have many devout believers—who believe in the Resurrection—spoken about all this as if the worst thing that could happen to a person is dying?

Galli will have to name one. I never heard this sentiment. I posted many times and never once suggested this; this was not the issue at all, that "dying is the worst thing that could happen to a person".

I read Galli's article, and he raises some good questions, but the article strikes me as containing a good bit of "fill" to stretch it to last an entire page long, because he really puts words into people's mouths and attributes actions to people that I simply did not see at all.

p.a.hiles said...

hey bob,
i really appreciate the questions that mark galli asks. i think that he raises some good points. as someone who has had a personal experience with this type of situation, the answers are ambiguos and coming to a clear decision is muddy, at best. to me, this is a situation where i think that the people involved should not be jugded until we step into their shoes.