I don’t agree at all

This article was published on the Washington Times today. It’s a proudly conservative newspaper, and obviously one of my daily reads. I usually enjoy reading the articles, framed as they are within a more conservative mindset. But this time I must respectfully disagree.

As to Michael Schiavo’s status as guardian, it was not unassailable, but nor was it obviously insupportable. Michael Schiavo is entitled to the sweeping claims for his wife’s desires he has been making from every TV screen, but the most morally reprehensible act in this whole drama has been his refusal to simply turn Terri over to her poor mother, whose connection to her child-like daughter is more authentic and earned than anything that existed between Terri and Michael Schiavo.

The last sentence is valid. Quite valid. But the first? Excuse me sir, but what are you thinking? Step back for a moment and consider.
You are saying that Terri’s purported verbally expressed wishes (wishes, I might point out, which were not brought out until Mr. Schiavo had been involved in the legal battle for some months) should be honored. These wishes were [supposedly] stated by a woman of sound mind, currently happily married. But now we have a brain-damaged woman being “guarded” by a man living in a state of adultery with another woman. Do you suppose for an instant that Terri, were she able to speak her mind, would express any desire to have this man as her guardian? Would any court in the land support his claim, were she able to speak for herself? I think the answer could clearly be presumed to be negative.
Yet because she cannot speak for herself, the courts repeatedly give a man with obvious interests in other directions life and death power over her. Based on what? A vow he made some years ago to “love, honor, cherish and keep her…in sickness and in health…forsaking all others keep [him] only unto [her] so long as we both shall live.” He has already broken this vow in at least one point; why do the courts presume he still has her best interests in mind?

The outpouring of support to give Terri Schiavo back to her parents may prove quixotic, but it ensures that these future questions of who lives and who dies won’t be decided by the professional class alone in conferences and courtrooms. It will be done in full view, where it belongs.

No, that’s not where it belongs. There shouldn’t be a question. My dear sir, human life is inherently precious, whether or not you believe in the fact that it is created in the image of the Divine. If you believe that life can be valued by anything other than its inherent worth–by its quality, value to others, or value to humanity–then one day, much to your chagrin, you’re going to find yourself sliding helplessly off this slippery slope you have created. And then you’ll understand why the Terri Schiavos of this world must live: because they are people, and for that reason only, they deserve it.


~ by wildeyedwonder on March 25, 2005.

4 Responses to “I don’t agree at all”

  1. all of it “matters”, and ultimately there will be no “winners”. but demonizing her husband does nothing for the cause. doesn’t it give weight to his claim (her “wishes”) if he’s not dropping it? he stands to lose more than he gains – integrity and all – by holding onto this. who’d do that, unless it might happen to be true?

    does it make it right? no, probably not – but i haven’t seen any of the attempts on either side make much sense. i just hate that one side has to be the bad guy, that’s all.

  2. Sorry, Rick. I’m not budging on this one. I’m not “demonizing” her husband, although I think he’s in the wrong. I’m simply appalled that he’s trying to starve his wife to death. That’s one of the single most inhumane ways to die. She’s been without food and water for a week now; I’m shocked that she’s still alive. Try going without food and water for just one day and then come back here and tell me the man doesn’t have serious issues.

  3. you’re not “demonizing” him – just that everyone’s on his back, taking sides, when i don’t think it’s as clear cut “who’s right”.

    and everyone, both sides, will have to mourn. that’s tough, too.

    no, you’re right – it’s a terrible way to die. and death is never as good as life. i just hate the way it’s all *out there* – wouldn’t want my family stuff on Hardball every night.

  4. While the man may have issues as you have said, it still does not change the law that he is her guardian. She would change the law especially for her? No. Is it terrible that she is married to a man that would choose to starve her to death? Yes.

    But, no matter how hard we try, we cannot legislate morality. Because we are inherently evil people, there will always be those who abuse the law and make wrong decisions. So, as much as I personally believe Terri should live, it is legally her husband’s choice.

    She may, however, make more impact in her death, than in her life. As Jim Elliott did.

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