The death of Terri Schiavo
The battle for the heart and soul of the nation continues in earnest. The mainstream media, not content to let the nation grieve following the death of an innocent disabled woman, continues its assault on the truth. Proponents of assisted suicide and euthanasia attempt to paint the slow starvation and dehydration of and innocent disabled woman as something to be embraced. This has a certain irony given our serious concern in the Arizona desert that everyone have adequate water in their cars. It has also been a long standing concerns that those crossing the borders face the prospect of dying from lack of water. So the whole notion that somehow Terri's starvation and dehydration was somehow "euphoric" can only be described as disingenuous as best and insulting at worst.
Today we mourn her passing. We remember that every human being has value and worth no matter what some judge claims. No judge, no judicial edict can strip away the human person from the inherent dignity that is a part of his being. This we must not forget as we work to educate the country that providing food and water is not medical care but a basic need for life.
One other point. We no longer live in a republic. The courts allow the appearance of a democratic process, the courts hold the final word and make the final decisions not just on constitutional matters but on whatever they wish. We must respond that the constitution does not permit any branch of government or even the people themselves to destroy or take away the basic rights of innocent persons. We must never fail to stand up for the rights of the least of our brothers and sisters.
Ramblings on the Terri Schiavo story
There has been much discussion as to the legal authority of the governor’s office to act in the Terri Schiavo case. Seasoned legal minds disagree on this subject and this more than anything else has seemed to constrain the governor during the last two weeks.
Now on her 12th day without food or water, Terri’s story has galvanized the nation and prompted many to re-examine the purpose and function of government, even as they consider the plight of the disabled and the vulnerable. This is not a story that follows the typical fault lines of political wrangling, although the mainstream media for the most part has taken a “let her die” attitude. And one must wonder what thoughts the various appellate judges had as they turned down the frantic appeals to them to save her from dehydration.
Today Jesse Jackson called for her to be fed and hydrated. "I feel so passionate about this injustice being done, how unnecessary it is to deny her a feeding tube, water, not even ice to be used for her parched lips," he said. "This is a moral issue and it transcends politics and family disputes."
This morning’s column in the Village Voice by Nat Hentoff called what is happening to Terri Schiavo, “judicial murder.” Hentoff blamed the media for her present condition along with the people who would just soon see the disabled go away and die.
Peggy Noonan and countless others have asked the serious questions about how this could happen. Their comments along with the thousands of bloggers who have written their thoughts in cyberspace witness to a hope that there are those with a real concern for this judicial tyranny. Perhaps if our Congress has not lost its nerve, this event may be the rallying cry to stop the courts from becoming the philosopher-kings from Mt. Olympus.
At the same time one asks that do their fervent pleas to protect this defenseless human being combined with the cold calloused denial of water to a thirty woman and its acceptance by so many mean that we are finally seeing the face of death move from the shadows into the public square. Are we about to further engage the enemy of life on another front?
Suffice it to say that unless this nation confronts the evil that demeans and denigrates the value of the human person, unless we stop the slaughter of the unborn, unless we truly reach out and care for the least of these our brothers and sisters, whether healthy or disabled, and unless we stop the courts from claiming the right to kill the innocent, we are not long to live in real freedom. It will be as illusory as the shadows as twilight, there but for a moment – then darkness.
Let not this be our lot. Pray for deliverance. Then act consistent with the birthright
of a free people. Contact the governor. Contact the Florida Senate. Tell them that we, the people do not want government to sanction her death. Tell them to impeach the judge, complain to the council on judicial ethics, and ask that he be removed from office. Ask Governor Bush to use his executive power to protect a human being from a court-sanctioned death. I know you have heard this before. But please one more time for the sake of a brain damaged disabled woman, make that call and then commit to be involved in the cause of life. For if you do not engage the enemy, who will?
What to do
I have had many people asking me of late what they can do given the Terri Schiavo tragedy. Many are conerned about their own particular situation and ask about living wills and the like. I caution them that every "living will" is not always friendly to the paitent and that some have death traps for the unwary. Since I mentioned the subject, check out www.azrtl.org for a link to an appropriate document for review and consideration.
But more important is what we can do for the cause. Get involved. Join a local pro life group in your church or neighborhood. Find out when the next pro life event is going to happen and then go attend. Volunteer to help the state pro life office and if you live in Arizona, come join us at our various Culture of Life events.
Please do not wait until another tragic evbent occurs before you move into action. Now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of their country. Do not let her death be unanzwered. Gete involved - for life.
Is there any reason why certain people have failed to act in the Terri Schiavo matter? Do we find that the defenses for the failure of government to protect an innocent disabled woman all surround themselves in a cold and harsh reading of the law? Is it any wonder that people are more cynical when it comes to the purpose and function of government? As a nation, are we sick enough of the fact that we all have witnessed a court of law sanction the slow starvation and dehydration of a human being?
Or will we just move on?
So many questions - some point out the major weakness within all of us - fear.
Our lives have become too comfortable. Hence, anything we do will generally stop at the border of that comfort zone. The likelihood that we as a nation would be willing to address the difficult questions arising from the passion of Terri Schiavo is remote at best. People do not want to talk about such things. As one governor put it, this is all so "unseemly." So after the appropriate amount of "critical analysis" during which both liberals and conservatives will decide to blame Bush - regardless of his culpability = the mainstream press will pronounce the story dead, and move on to the next sensation.
But today is the day after Easter. For believers, the feast is the reminder that life conquers death, that love conquers all and that God is for real. There is the rub. The modern world isn't much different than the world at the time of Christ. Sin and death were every day events. People were afraid to get out of their comfort zones. Someone like Jesus Christ, who preached a challenging message of concern for the least of our brothers and sisters, might be a curiosity, but definitely not someone the worldly successful folks would follow. Life for them did not include God.
The same applies today - as one argues for the protection of human beings in law. One asks the serious question - what is the purpose of the law? Simply to keep order? Perhaps in its stripped down form, one may argue that it is about power. But in the American experiment, the pedigree is more profound. It involves a moral component that derives its explanation from some of most brilliant minds of the Middle ages. Drawing from Scripture, the notion that all are equal before God and therefore before Caesar, or the king or the Congress or the courts. This concept of rights inherent in the person is not some intellectual argument made in the vacuum of materialistic theory, but the natural consequence of applying Judeo-Christian ethics to the law.
No there is a very real effort to separate the moral from the law. And this effort will destroy the very law we need to protect us. When judges, courts of law, and political leaders ignore what is right in an effort to placate the law, then the law no longer exists for its proper purpose and must be corrected.
We discussed this last year in speaking of conscience. A right formed conscience is needed to guide a person to make correct moral decisions. Without the proper formation, there will be error and form that error, evil may result.
Such is the state of the nation as it watches the time go by for Terri Schiavo.
The soul of the nation
It is 5:00 pm in Phoenix, Arizona and day five or six (depending on how you are counting) of the slow death of Terri Schiavo. She has been denied food and water - otherwise referred to as nutrition and hydration since Friday March 18, 2005. During the past week, we have witnessed the Congress pass a law to have the federal courts intervene. Judge James Whittemore, federal district judge, with the arrogance that seems to permeate most judges in this country, ignored the clear intent of the Congress. His failure to consider the serious nature and the failure of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to respond points to the fact that they do not want to address the problem. And the problem is not just the legal case at hand. It is the state of the judiciary. It is out of control. Better said, it has taken control of all essential aspects of modern life. It has captured the soul of this nation.
No longer is our republican form of government a system of checks and balances. For how do we "check" a dictatorial judiciary?
How do we "balance" the right to life of a disabled woman with the power of the court to demand her death?
Both the legislative and the executive branches of government have ceded the final word to the courts. The courts effectively can veto any decision by the legislature regardless of its reasoning. If the court wants to reinvent something, such as marriage, it does so and tells the nation or the state to live with it. If the executive branch wants to protect life and property, the court can prohibit it and claim that the action violates a so called "constitutional" right. Example - abortion.
What is unnerving to the observer is the acquiescence of the politicians. Instead of declaring that the courts have no authority to allow the murder of human beings, these politicians walk away and let the injustice prevail. In other words they seem to accept the fact that the courts are the final authority.
When did this happen?
When we as a nation abandoned the basis upon which our civil and criminal laws as well as our constitution was based - the natural law.
If there is no universal law to protect the person, then law is simply what the powerful claim it to be.
If there is no universal law that respects the right to life of the person, then the government can usurp all rights.
If there is not due process that understands the natural law, then the process can be manipulated and the individual destroyed - all legally.
Remember that the atrocities that occurred in Germany, pre and during World War II were done under the color of law.
Since I started this post I took a call from a disabled client. We talked about the basic dignity that should be afforded any human being. She mentioned the horror of someone starving to death.
I am not simply concerned for Terri Schiavo. I am concerned for all those who are weak, vulnerable, and dependent. I am concerned that the law will not protect the innocent. I am concerned for the soul of the nation.
Time for Governor Bush to intervene
Time for the Governor to Act Now
Governor Jeb Bush has watched the Schiavo tragedy over the last two years. First, he encouraged the State Legislature in Florida to pass legislation to re-insert the feeding tube that was removed a year-and-a-half ago following a long series of legal maneuvers. Then, over the course of the last year-and-a-half, the State Courts have uniformly told the State Legislature and the executive branch that it had no authority to intervene to protect this disabled person. Without reviewing the evidence, the courts have uniformly supported the decision of Judge Greer that Terri Schiavo, an innocent person, must die by starvation.
When the last set of hearings had run its course, Judge Greer stated that on March 18, 2005 the feeding tube providing nutrition and hydration to Terri Schiavo could be removed. On that day, Michael Schiavo, the estranged husband of Terri Schiavo, ordered the removal of the tube.
Terri now is in her fifth day of a horrific process of starving and dehydrating to death. The country, in shock, clamored for action. And the Congress of these United States passed a specific bill allowing Terri's family to file a petition for relief in the Federal District Court in Tampa, Florida. Florida District Judge, James Whittemore, after listening to two hours of argument, would not order the reinsertion of the tube. His cavalier attitude reflects an arrogance typical of many on the current judiciary. Now there has been an appeal to the11th circuit. This does not bode well for Terri.
Through it all, Governor Jeb Bush has encouraged the State Legislature to once again pass additional legislation. The Florida House passed the measure, but it is bogged down in the Florida Senate due to the obstruction of one particular Senator named Jim King. As of this writing, the Florida Senate is being pressured -- not only by the people of the State of Florida, but by the people in this county -- to do the right thing and feed Terri Schiavo. Yet nothing has happened. And time grows short.
In all of this, certain people have acted admirably, albeit at the last minute.
However, the plain truth is that Governor Bush, in his role as chief law enforcement officer and/or the FBI should have taken Terri Schiavo into protective custody months, if not years, ago. The parade of horribles, the lack of due process, the failure to allow Terri to have her own legal counsel and an independent guardian ad litem, are only the tip of the iceberg as to the violations of her due process and civil rights by this Pinellas County judge.
One only needs to read some of the well-reasoned arguments currently on the Internet to understand the callousness of Judge Greer's position. Governor Bush should realize that he has the authority to act, and should do so now.
Although there are many people who argue as to whether Terri would respond to therapy, one should at least give it a try. According to one report, Dr. William Hammesfahr, a neurologist who has examined Terri, stated that Terri can "eat and swallow right now." He said that in many of the videos circulated through the news media, Schiavo is shown to be responsive. Hammesfahr was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1999 for his work on brain injury and stroke. He is a recognized expert in treating neurological disorders, having successfully treated thousands of patients using vasodilator therapy, which increases blood flow to the brain, thus healing conditions previously thought to be untreatable. Dr. Hammesfahr has stated that she is able to swallow. Further, he stated that other doctors who testified before Judge Greer had limited exposure to Terri, and had not completed the standard evaluations used by neurologists in the examination of brain injuries. It is also his opinion that she is not in a permanent vegetative state, or PVS, nor is she in a coma. Whether he is correct or not, the truth is that such matters need to be explored when a life is at stake.
While the Governor waits for a Federal court of appeals to consider reinserting the tube, Terri's condition continues to be compromised. Governor Bush needs to act immediately and issue an order taking her into protective custody. The immediate justification for his action is that her civil rights and due process rights have been systematically violated in Pinellas County by the judge. Further that there are numerous medical experts who would challenge the decision by Judge Greer that she is unable to receive therapy. Finally, Judge Greer rebuffed a request by the Florida Department of Children and Families for a 60-day stay on his motion so that they could investigate allegations that Michael Schiavo had abused and neglected his wife. And if there were not any other reason, the decision by Judge Greer to totally ignore a Congressional Subpoena served by the House of Representatives to call Terri into her hearings should be reason enough to take her into protective custody.
The time to act is now. It is not time for him to wait. The Governor has the moral and ethical, as well as legal obligation to act.
Time grows short.
The shadow of death lingers over this nation.
The governor has the authority to act to save Terri Schiavo's life
Every time I start to write - something happens and I am off and running.
Well as I write the judge in Pinnellas County has ordered the tube removed from Terri Schiavo. Judge Greer has disregarded congressional subpoenas and the outrage of a nation to cause the death of a woman. Why? Because he thinks he can. Because judges think they are gods. Because this judge thinks that no one can stop him. Because everyone involved in this case is letting him do it.
The governor could stop him and intervene.
The governor should stop him and intervene.
the governor must stop him and intervene.
The situation bears upon whether the nation is able to protect innocent people. If Terri Schiavo was a convicted felon, she would have rights to the federal courts and these courts would have to allow for due process. However, because she is an innocent, deprived of the right to counsel, this judge intends to cause her death.
If the governor is afraid to act, then his brother, the President, should order federal marshals or the FBI to intervene and take her into protective custody.
Then a real independent hearing could occur.
Then the evidence could be reviewed not just by a judge - but by the American people.
Then perhaps the truth would be discovered.
Then perhaps we would find out why this judge wants her dead.
Governor Bush, President Bush. The time for talk is over.
It is time to act now.
Save her life. Save the soul of this country.