Wednesday, March 23, 2005
THE INTERESTING SCHIAVO CASE
The saga of Terri Schiavo has been particularly interesting, both from a moral and constitutional perspective. What is even strange is what the Christian right has made of this cause, and how bad it makes Christins look.
The first thing to note is that this saga shows that you should have your wishes written down somewhere, either in a living will or an advanced health directive. Biblically, these are perfectly acceptable if the person feels that he is resigned to die and does not want to be kept alive. That's what Jacob did when he passed away: he let the death process go on and died. The Proverbs talk about giving comfort and alcohol to those who are dying. One of the things, then, is that if someone is resigned to die, then he should be made as confortable as possible to make the process painless. Of course, this does not mean that assisted suicide is acceptable, but it does mean that we can make those who are dying comfortable.
That being said, I think what is going on legally is reprehensible. Whatever the outcome of this, the injection of the federal government into this case, being advocatd by of all people political and Christian conservatives, is simply bizarre. On this case, the Democrats are hypocritically correct: it is an issue for the State of Florida to handle. Of course, I say hypocritically because they pick and choose which isues are state issues, and which are not, and of course there is no rhyme or reason to what differntiates one from the other. Bringing the federal government into the mix is unconstitutional, and it used to go against the usual conservative political philosophy.
Now ethically, this is an interesting question. I do not believe some of the stories that the families have told regarding communicating with Terri. They make it sound like that old cartoon from Warner Bros. with that frog. Everytime the frog was alone, he'd be singing and dancing, but when anyone else was around, it was "REE-BUT." On the other hand, no one knows what Terri is feeling, or whether she is able to understand what is going on, and if she could communicate her wishes except for a physical abnormality. As an example, you have that little voice in your head that is saying "Hey, I can hear you! Help!" kinda like that voice in your head that speaks while you're reading, or speaks while you're thinking, but physically, all that comes out is a moan.
I don't know if this is the case, and I am no expert, and the physiological evidence seems to suggest she is unaware, but in a field that has been totally given over to empiricism, how could this be known for sure? It seems that always death is the most viable option. Ever notice that? Can't support a child, kill it in the womb. Old parents in the way? euthanize them. dunno.
Furthermore, what I think is worse is how the Christians have been portrayed in this. Some of the claims that they have said about Terri just seem to be physically improbable, and then remake these claims...it makes them look like a bunch of idiots, and of course, it further erodes any credibility that for all Christians.
Finally, if President Bush really wants to save Terri, then in this lawless society, why not just ignore the courts and take custody of her. Be really gutsy, since after all, the federal courts and lawmaking body routinely ignore the Constitution when it suits their purpose.