Skip to comments.The Lessons of Suffering: Terri Schiavo and Holy Week
Posted on 03/30/2005 5:51:13 PM PST by Mr. Silverback
Note: This commentary was delivered by Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley.
It was a strange coincidence that Terri Schiavos ordeal took place during Holy Week. What she went through, and the nations reaction to it, taught us a sobering lesson about suffering and redemption.
The things that ordinary, sensible Americans were saying about Terris case were shocking and upsetting. Let the poor woman die was one of them. But Terri was not dying before her food and water were taken away. She simply needed to eat and drink, just like the rest of us.
Then there were the various media polls that asked the public whether Terri should be taken off life support. The only problem was that Terri wasnt on life support.
The facts were all out there, in plain view. Terris family, her nurses, her familys lawyers, and many others tried to explain them. And yet the public just wasnt willing to listen. Some people even showed a streak of viciousness toward this sick woman, arguing that she should just die and get it over with. Look at the flak that Tom DeLay took for fighting for Terris life in the House of Representativesso much flak that Im about ready to nominate him for a Profile in Courage Award.
Its very much like the time when, just a few years ago, I, as attorney general of Virginia, helped fight for the life of Hugh Finn, another brain-damaged patient. Like Terri, Hugh Finn had his feeding tube removed, despite our best efforts to save him. And former Governor Gilmore and I still receive criticism for trying to save him.
As Peggy Noonan has written, Why do those who argue for Mrs. Schiavos death employ language and imagery that is so violent and aggressive? . . . Why are they so committed to this womans death?
Indeed, why do we become so easily confused on matters of life and death? I think one of the biggest reasons is our fear of suffering. Strangely, our societya society with fewer illnesses and a longer lifespan than any previous generationhas an almost morbid dread of any kind of suffering. Many of us are willing to accept any laws, any court rulings, just or unjustas long as we believe that one day those laws might keep us from having to suffer. When a pollster asks most average citizens if Terri Schiavo should continue to live on life support, those people picture themselves stuck in a bed one day, no longer enjoying life the way they used to, wanting to die but not being able to. Its for their own sakes that so many people say Terri should die.
But this view of death misses the big picture. It places no inherent value on life; instead, it embraces the culture of death. Choosing death over suffering misses the point: that suffering can be redemptive, like Christs suffering during Holy Week. Suffering can teach us something, if were only willing to listen: that life is precious, and that the weakest person has value and is worthy of life. If we refuse to learn that lessonif we continue to believe the lies of the culture of deaththen ironically, in the end, well only bring more suffering upon ourselves and everyone else.
The answer is in the book or Proverbs, where it is said that those who hate wisdom love death.
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More truth in that one statement......
Terri: "Do you expect me to talk?"
Florida Judgenfuhrers: " No. We expect you to die."
Official flag of Pinella county, Florida - The State of Judicial Torture by Starvation
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I find that I have two answers to these people.
The first is based on what I believe: Life is sacred. You have no right to kill yourself or another because you are fearful. Suicide and murder are just plain wrong.
The second is a fallback position. If you insist on committing suicide because you fear pain, that's your business. But do it yourself. Don't expect a doctor, a nurse, or a judge to do it for you. Don't wreck our society and our medical system because you fear pain and want to take the easy way out. Don't kill innocent people for selfish reasons.
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How very TRUE!!!!
Exactly. Asking other's in the medical profession to kill you, corrupts them and the profession.
That's because, relatively speaking we have not suffered as previous generations have. Collectively, we are nowhere near the caliber of people the Pioneers were. I would love to find some lit from that period that provides information on how situations similar to Terri's were handled.
Thanks for posting this.
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