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Pennsylvania Court: Guardians Can't Pull the Plug on Mentally Disabled People
Life News ^ | 8/30/10 | Steven Ertelt

Posted on 08/30/2010 4:19:51 PM PDT by wagglebee

Harrisburg, PA (LifeNews.com) -- In a ruling involving a mentally disabled man whose legal guardians sought the power to end his medical care, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has determined that state law requires life-preserving treatment for people who are not near death and have not refused treatment.

The Alliance Defense Fund and allied pro-life attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of 53-year-old David Hockenberry, who has had acute mental disabilities since birth, arguing that his legal guardians should not be allowed to deny him life-preserving treatment while he is not terminal or unconscious.

Hockenberry’s guardians unsuccessfully attempted to deny him temporary life-preserving medical treatment for pneumonia.

“Having a disability shouldn't be a death sentence when treatable medical complications arise,” said Independence Law Center Chief Counsel Randall L. Wenger, one of the allied attorneys.

"The court made the right decision to protect Mr. Hockenberry’s right to live. He is not dying or unconscious, and his life isn't worthless just because he has a disability that may lead others to view his life as less worthy to live," he added.

“A person’s value isn't based on his or her physical or mental abilities,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “No one should be allowed to decide that a person’s life is not worth saving just because he or she has a disability or medical condition.”

In December 2007, Hockenberry developed aspiration pneumonia. Hockenberry’s guardians--appointed as his legal guardians in 2002 by a trial court--tried to decline his required ventilator treatment to assist his breathing, but the hospital proceeded despite their objection. After three weeks on the mechanical ventilator, he recovered from pneumonia and no longer required the treatment.

Hockenberry’s guardians filed a petition with a trial court in January 2008 that would allow them to end his care if a similar situation were to arise in the future. The Department of Public Welfare objected, stating that Hockenberry was neither terminally ill nor permanently unconscious and never appointed a third party with the power to refuse healthcare necessary to the preservation of his life.

Hockenberry’s guardians filed a series of appeals until their case reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

In March, ADF and allied attorneys argued in a friend-of-the-court brief that people should not be considered better off dead just because of a disability. The high court concurred that the Health Care Agents and Representatives Act requires life-preserving care for such persons.

“We hold that where, as here, life-preserving treatment is at issue for an incompetent person who is not suffering from an end-stage condition or permanent unconsciousness, and that person has no health care agent, the Act mandates that the care must be provided,” the opinion states. “The enactment...regulates the situation in which the incompetent person suffers from a life-threatening but treatable condition, obviously reflecting the Legislature’s assertion of a policy position of greater state involvement to preserve life in such circumstances.”

Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund - http://www.telladf.org



TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: avarice; blasphemy; demagoguery; disabilities; euthanasia; greed; humanist; humanistmanifesto; moralabsolutes; murder; prolife; theft
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“Having a disability shouldn't be a death sentence when treatable medical complications arise,” said Independence Law Center Chief Counsel Randall L. Wenger, one of the allied attorneys.

Yet that is precisely what Zero and his death panels will make it if they have the chance.

1 posted on 08/30/2010 4:19:54 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser

Pro-Life Ping


2 posted on 08/30/2010 4:20:30 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; Amos the Prophet; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


3 posted on 08/30/2010 4:21:08 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

Gee. You wouldn’t think people who wanted their ward to die would be allowed to be “guardians”.


4 posted on 08/30/2010 4:23:18 PM PDT by Politicalmom (A racist is a conservative who is winning an argument with a liberal.-FReeper Freespirited)
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To: wagglebee

Praise be to Jesus Christ!


5 posted on 08/30/2010 4:24:26 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: wagglebee

This is the decision of his guardians? They’re really his worst enemies. How despicable, and how this poor man must feel knowing what they tried to do.


6 posted on 08/30/2010 4:24:56 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: wagglebee

Thank God for this ruling. Thank God. I will never forget Terri Schiavo. Never!


7 posted on 08/30/2010 4:25:33 PM PDT by Saundra Duffy (For victory & freedom!!!)
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To: wagglebee
“No one should be allowed to decide that a person’s life is not worth saving just because he or she has a disability or medical condition.”

Tell that to President Obortion.

8 posted on 08/30/2010 4:25:36 PM PDT by TheClintons-STILLAnti-American
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To: wagglebee
Hockenberry’s guardians unsuccessfully attempted to deny him temporary life-preserving medical treatment for pneumonia.

The guardians should be stripped of their POA.

9 posted on 08/30/2010 4:28:31 PM PDT by LaineyDee (Don't mess with Texas wimmen!)
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To: wagglebee
Is the state going to start paying the medical bills? or are they going to force the guardians to continue to pay under threat of arrest?
10 posted on 08/30/2010 4:31:56 PM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama = Epic Fail)
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To: wagglebee
Who are these people? I cannot in my wildest imagination come up with a reason why they would want to kill him.

My instincts tell me to follow the money...

11 posted on 08/30/2010 4:32:43 PM PDT by starlifter (Sapor Amo Pullus)
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To: wagglebee

It’s really sad that this had to be decided by a court. What sort of care-givers want to deliver death instead of care? Or take it upon themselves to make that decision?


12 posted on 08/30/2010 4:33:54 PM PDT by casuist (Audi alteram partem.)
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To: wagglebee

There is a very special place in hell ....


13 posted on 08/30/2010 4:34:38 PM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: TexasFreeper2009; Coleus; narses; Salvation; cpforlife.org; EternalVigilance; BykrBayb; ...
Is the state going to start paying the medical bills? or are they going to force the guardians to continue to pay under threat of arrest?

Do YOU think that those who cannot afford to pay their medical bills should be left to die?

Because if you do, you are basically advocating rationing and death panels.

Why do you seem to oppose the conservative pro-life condition? Or do you just think that the disabled don't deserve to live?

14 posted on 08/30/2010 4:38:00 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Mister Da

It looks as though the patient has Down’s Syndrome. They usually develop dementia and heart problems in their 40’s. He may not be unconscious. It would be worthwhile to know exactly what kind of condition he is in and whether or not there is any brain activity. Choosing not to treat an infection is not that uncommon in the final days of life especially if there is no significant brain activity.


15 posted on 08/30/2010 4:44:03 PM PDT by crymeariver (Good news...in a way)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

Did you just stumble in here? Perhaps you’re unaware this a conservative forum. We don’t advocate murdering inconvenient people.


16 posted on 08/30/2010 4:46:08 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: wagglebee
Do YOU think that those who cannot afford to pay their medical bills should be left to die?

Do you think the Government should take money from me at the point of a gun to pay for it?

Because if you do, you are basically advocating rationing and death panels.

Bullcrap.

Why do you seem to oppose the conservative pro-life condition?

When did the 'conservative' position become forcing one person with the threat of fines, prison, and ultimately death if they don't want to provide money of their own free will?

Or do you just think that the disabled don't deserve to live?

I think people deserve to keep the fruits of their labors without a bunch of Nanny State busybodies demanding their money for whatever pet cause it is they think is 'moral'.

Theft isn't moral no matter the reason you're stealing for.

17 posted on 08/30/2010 4:50:04 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: crymeariver

He recovered from pneumonia in 2007. He must have had brain activity since then, because dead bodies don’t mimic life signs for three years.


18 posted on 08/30/2010 4:50:18 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: crymeariver

He RECOVERED!

“n December 2007, Hockenberry developed aspiration pneumonia. Hockenberry’s guardians—appointed as his legal guardians in 2002 by a trial court—tried to decline his required ventilator treatment to assist his breathing, but the hospital proceeded despite their objection. After three weeks on the mechanical ventilator, he recovered from pneumonia and no longer required the treatment.”

It doesn’t talk about any pre-existing condition either.


19 posted on 08/30/2010 4:50:59 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

He has pneumonia. How expensive is that to treat?


20 posted on 08/30/2010 4:51:06 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: wagglebee

Good points.


21 posted on 08/30/2010 4:51:56 PM PDT by Dante3
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To: Lurker

I didn’t know they were forced to serve as guardians. Could you provide a link to back that up.


22 posted on 08/30/2010 4:53:19 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: Lurker

>>I think people deserve to keep the fruits of their labors without a bunch of Nanny State busybodies demanding their money for whatever pet cause it is they think is ‘moral’.<<

So if a disabled human cannot produce fruit, should he be euthanized?


23 posted on 08/30/2010 4:54:24 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: wagglebee

WOW!

What is left unsaid about caring for the mentally incompetent or disabled is how damnably bankrupting and life-draining it is for the guardian(s), as the necessity for acute care drags on for decade after decade.

The majority of families cannot afford that kind of care and cannot stop working to support themselves or other members of the family to concentrate on just one non-productive member.

Criticizing people who are in this position, accusing them of selfishness for NOT sacrificing their lives to the care of a disabled family member is grossly unfair.

I do want to add that this young man doesn’t appear to be dying from a terminal disease and wanting to withhold treatment for pneumonia was very cruel.


24 posted on 08/30/2010 4:54:34 PM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

“Is the state going to start paying the medical bills? or are they going to force the guardians to continue to pay under threat of arrest? “

I am certain the state is already paying his bills. Guardians aren’t responsible for bills. They are supposed to act on behalf of helpless people.


25 posted on 08/30/2010 4:54:43 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: wagglebee
The case here was that the custodians had no legal right
to withhold treatment without the client's consent,
once care was initiated

The Doctors hands were bound to
rules of best medical practice as
the patient could not speak for himself, and
there is no Adult Competent Spouse, Child, Parent, Sibling, (In that order)
or Court appointed Power of Attorney to speak for him

The Custodians were requesting
pre-established restraint of care,
when they were not any one of those categories
As best I can tell

26 posted on 08/30/2010 4:55:31 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: Lurker

Also, I didn’t see any indication that his guardians are forced to pay for his care out of their own funds. I’d like a link for that too.


27 posted on 08/30/2010 4:55:31 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: BykrBayb
I didn’t know they were forced to serve as guardians.

Can you quote where I said that they were? Thanks in advance. Have a super day.

28 posted on 08/30/2010 4:56:39 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Lurker; Coleus; narses; Salvation; cpforlife.org; EternalVigilance; BykrBayb; floriduh voter; ...
Do you think the Government should take money from me at the point of a gun to pay for it?

That's not the point. Do YOU think those who cannot afford to pay their medical bills should be left to die? YES or NO.

When did the 'conservative' position become forcing one person with the threat of fines, prison, and ultimately death if they don't want to provide money of their own free will?

So, YOU think the conservative position should be to let people die for lack of medical care?

I think people deserve to keep the fruits of their labors without a bunch of Nanny State busybodies demanding their money for whatever pet cause it is they think is 'moral'.

So, you consider life a "pet cause"?

29 posted on 08/30/2010 4:56:49 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: BykrBayb
Also, I didn’t see any indication that his guardians are forced to pay for his care out of their own funds.

Which means that I'm forced to pay for it by the Government. Thanks, sweetie. Real 'moral' of you.

30 posted on 08/30/2010 4:57:50 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Lurker

Your entire argument is predicated on the assumption that they were forced to serve as guardians against their will, and forced to pay for his care out of their own pockets.


31 posted on 08/30/2010 4:59:04 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: TexasFreeper2009; wagglebee; BykrBayb; trisham; little jeremiah

Those who try to save money by advocating for ending care of certain classes of people under certain situations, are going to force society to pay a bigger price than the cost of that the medical intervention would have cost in dollars.

We have to take care of people like this, because the consequences of not doing so are ones we literally can’t afford to live with.


32 posted on 08/30/2010 5:00:35 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Lurker

I don’t support most state paid health care. But we have it.

And we have no alternative safety nets, because they have largely been dismantled due to the extreme welfare hammock.

So we are in that awkward in between place.

I don’t support Medicare. But having had all these folks including myself pay into it since employed, it makes me angry when honest Medicare claims are denied, as in the case with an elderly relative of mine. He “paid” for it.

You and I “pay” for the health care of handicapped people, especially the many abandoned by their families (whether deliberately or because they have passed away or whatever).

Since I “pay” for that care, I want it paid out.

I’d like to work back to a system of personal responsibility, then family responsibility, then church or charity responsibility.

But when you have people who just can’t care for themselves (like a 5 year old) and the parents can’t or won’t care for them, and there is no extended family to care for them, what do you do? Force a church or the Red Cross? Sue the Salvation Army? Let the kid die by the side of the road?

Either the very dependent are going to be left literally to die, or the government is going to have to make some provision for the worst case scenarios. These would be minors, severely physically handicapped, seriously crazy, severely retarded, and the very frail elderly.

I am all for suing and jailing deliberately negligent parents, also.


33 posted on 08/30/2010 5:01:47 PM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: Lurker
Which means that I'm forced to pay for it by the Government. Thanks, sweetie. Real 'moral' of you.

In other words...


"60,000 Reichsmark is what this person
suffering from hereditary defects costs
the community during his lifetime.
Fellow Germans, that is your money,
too. Read 'New People', the monthly
magazine of the Bureau for Race
Politics of the Nazi Party."

34 posted on 08/30/2010 5:02:54 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: wagglebee

Sad. And they’re called guardians. I’ll call them bastards.


35 posted on 08/30/2010 5:05:04 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Your Hope has been redistributed. Here's your Change.)
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To: Lurker

>>Which means that I’m forced to pay for it by the Government. <<

So if a disabled person doesn’t have the money for his pneumonia treatment, should he be left to die? Would you be willing to pay for something to relieve his pain? Too costly? Or should we just drop him off at the Humane Society?

New show on Animal Planet. “Disabled Human Cops” They humanely euthanize, you know.


36 posted on 08/30/2010 5:05:24 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: SatinDoll; Coleus; narses; Salvation; cpforlife.org; EternalVigilance; BykrBayb; floriduh voter; ...
The majority of families cannot afford that kind of care and cannot stop working to support themselves or other members of the family to concentrate on just one non-productive member.

"Non-productive"? Is that the newspeak for "worthless eater"?

Criticizing people who are in this position, accusing them of selfishness for NOT sacrificing their lives to the care of a disabled family member is grossly unfair.

Killing the disabled is the pinnacle of selfishness.

I do want to add that this young man doesn’t appear to be dying from a terminal disease and wanting to withhold treatment for pneumonia was very cruel.

So, you condone the killing of the disabled with some conditions but not others? What criteria do you use to determine who lives and who dies? What is your method of rationing?

37 posted on 08/30/2010 5:06:13 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Persevero; Lurker

It should also be noted that Medicaid, which is the last ditch of government funding, does seek to recoup from estates where possible.


38 posted on 08/30/2010 5:07:36 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: BykrBayb; Lurker
Okay, so -- because Lurker doesn't favor Theft, he is therefore Hitler. Great argument. (And an automatic "You Lose" under Godwin's Law).

The Sixth Commandment states, "Thou Shalt Not Kill".
It does not say, "Thou Shalt Steal other people's money in order to extend life."

After all, that would be a violation of the Eighth Commandment: "Thou Shalt Not Steal".

39 posted on 08/30/2010 5:08:02 PM PDT by Christian_Capitalist (Taxation over 10% is Tyranny -- 1 Samuel 8:17)
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To: Christian_Capitalist

We must be careful not to embrace theories that deem taxation to be ipso facto a crime.


40 posted on 08/30/2010 5:10:38 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: wagglebee

What is your problem?! Did I say ANYTHING condoning the killing of anyone!!

I suggest you go back and read what I wrote. It obviously hit a nerve with you and I bet it is because you have never been in a position of sacrificing your time and money to care for another like I have.

I know your kind — you carp and criticize by don’t know squat!


41 posted on 08/30/2010 5:11:01 PM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: Christian_Capitalist

>>It does not say, “Thou Shalt Steal other people’s money in order to extend life.”<<

So should we just euthanize them? Humanely?


42 posted on 08/30/2010 5:12:42 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am inyenzi on the Religion Forum)
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To: SatinDoll

Are you familiar with wagglebee’s extensive history here? I suggest you stow that broad brush back where it belongs.


43 posted on 08/30/2010 5:13:09 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: Christian_Capitalist; BykrBayb; Coleus; narses; Salvation; cpforlife.org; EternalVigilance; ...
And an automatic "You Lose" under Godwin's Law

That is why I developed "Wagglebee's Corollary" to "Godwin's Law" and that is that whenever the subject is euthanasia or eugenics, some supporter of those agendas will inevitably state something that perfectly mirrors Nazi propaganda. This nullifies ANY CLAIM to Godwin's Law.

44 posted on 08/30/2010 5:13:50 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Christian_Capitalist; Lurker

Right. Completely different situation. They were speaking German, Lurker was speaking English. They were talking about Reichsmark, Lurker was talking about Dollars. They were writing in a magazine, Lurker was writing on the Internet.

You need to read up on Godwin’s Law and find out what it really means. If you can’t comprehend that, it’s best not to tackle the Holy Bible. You’re in over your head.


45 posted on 08/30/2010 5:14:01 PM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: netmilsmom

That would cost money too. What a dilemma.


46 posted on 08/30/2010 5:14:17 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: wagglebee

Too late for Terri.


47 posted on 08/30/2010 5:14:37 PM PDT by murphE ("It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." - GK Chesterton)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I suggest you butt out!


48 posted on 08/30/2010 5:14:59 PM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: wagglebee
Everyone has the right to have a living will made out that orders doctors to not give life saving care.

If a person is not legally capable (for whatever reason) of signing such a form themselves then I see no reason why their legal guardians could not do it for them, this IS their purpose under the law.

I didn't see specifically anywhere in the article that said that the guardians thought the boy should be killed because he is retarded. Maybe they are just the type of people (like me) who wouldn't want aggressive measures to be taken to save my life, especially if it was going to bankrupt my family to do so.

49 posted on 08/30/2010 5:15:14 PM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama = Epic Fail)
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To: HiTech RedNeck; Lurker
We must be careful not to embrace theories that deem taxation to be ipso facto a crime.

And Romans 13:1-10 tells us exactly what Moral justifications God permits for Taxation:

The Punishment of:

And THAT'S IT.

"You may Steal your Neighbor's money to pay for your pneumonia medicine" just ain't in there.
That is NOT Biblical Morality. That is Marxist Morality.
And Karl Marx hated the God of the Bible.

50 posted on 08/30/2010 5:16:09 PM PDT by Christian_Capitalist (Taxation over 10% is Tyranny -- 1 Samuel 8:17)
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