Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Regarding the Schiavo Case

There are a lot of things worse than death. Fifteen years in a comatose state with a body sustained by machines is one of them. I try to live with a clear conscience in relation to God, so death holds no fear for me.

On the other hand, I can understand the reluctance of some to pull the plug. A glance at Baptist Press will show that Southern Baptists have been on a frenzy supporting Tom DeLay and those who are working to prolong Terri Schiavo's death. Those whose conscience in relation to God is troubled may have deep reasons for enacting laws to assure that technology postpones face-to-face relations with God for as long as possible.

Considering the way Southern Baptists have mistreated their moderate educators and missionaries and their women called to ministry, they need as much time as they can get to repent, confess their sins, and make amends. Still, time is running out.

17 comments:

jtr said...

There is no "plug" to pull! This woman is not on life support any more than the newborn babe who is sustained by her mother's breast. The only "support" she is getting from a machine is sustenance - food and water. This is very different than being on a machine that pumps one's blood or provides artificial breaths. To "pull the plug" on an individual who requires a machine to stay alive (such as a ventilator) is very different from denying a person food and water.

Ono said...

A newborn sustained by her mother's milk is a natural part of living. There is nothing natural about Mrs. Schaivo's condition, it normally would have been a condition that induced death, but for the marvels of modern medicine.

To mandate extraordinary care indefinitely is neither christian, nor does it make any commonsense.

Death, by various means, is a part of living. The pro-life movement is now completely ideologically adrift and has lost the sacredness and beauty of an authentic sense of death.

MTR said...

"Fifteen years in a comatose state with a body sustained by machines is one of them. "

I agree, but Terri is not in the state you described. She was on a feeding tube, much like many people. My wife, a special ed teacher, had many kids on feeding tubes--they didn't deserve to starve to death. Should we deny dialysis to people with bad kidneys? After all, that's not natural...
-FTM
http://fromthemorning.blogspot.com

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

jtr, ono, & matthew,

Thanks for your comments.

Perhaps more detailed information about Terri Schiavo's condition would be helpful.

Here's a link to a 40 page adobe .pdf file on Terri Schiavo by Dr. Jay Wolfson -- a professor of public health and law at the University of South Florida; in 2003, a Florida court appointed him to be Terry Schiavo's guardian ad litem for a month, seeking data on mental abilities disputed by Schiavo's husband and parents.

Bernard said...

The only solution to this whole Terri Sciavo case may be found within my blog:

http://www.tastyanimals.blogspot.com/

Once you read it, you will all agree that it is the only true solution.

Roger said...

"There are a lot of things worse than death."

Why don't Baptists save a LOT of money by deny relief aid nutrition (food and water) to those with no quality of life who are starving in famine-striken countries? If Baptist leaders decide we should be in the busiess of starving people to death, let's go all the way with it. I had to watch my daughter die, and I hope the Schindlers don't have to do the same.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Roger,

This is not a "quality of life" issue. It is an "end of life" issue.

Roger said...

Bruce,
Won't life end for anyone who cannot feed himself or herself, be they a little child, infirm/elderly, or totally disabled if we choose to starve them? So I agree with you the it is an "end of life" issue anytime someone is purposely starved. Whether our God wants us to intentionally starve our fellow human beings is another thing. From a moral perspective, starvation is completely different from a ventilator or artificial life support.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Roger,

Terri has been dead for fifteen years. There is no hope that she will come back to the body that has been artifically sustained in Florida.

Let that dust return to the earth in the faith and certain hope of her reception of a resurrected body.

Roger said...

Bruce,
Apparently, you've never had a child die in your arms, feeling the convulsions and hearing the cry, and watching those eyes close for good, your own offspring. At that moment, you would have ANYTHING to see a smile or a wink again. ANYTHING for one more day. ANYTHING to postpone that painful, harsh moment of death and to pray for a miracle. If you had, then you would sympathize and support the Schindlers' efforts and not disparage them in this critical time.

If my pastor or the CBF at large supports your views on this in the articles I emailed him, I'll be looking for a new church.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Roger,

I'm sorry you lost your child.

I've not lost a child, but I have ministered to families who have made difficult decisions regarding children facing the end of life.

None of these decisions should be politicized.

Roger said...

Hunger is not political and neither is thirst.

I just don't believe my God wants me or my elected leaders or judges to starve people to death. I can remember a time many years ago when Baptists wanted to feed the hungry and to quench thrist. Now we want to starve people into heaven. What a switch. It's sounding less like denomination and more like a cult.

Anonymous said...

Read this, I dare you:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/112/32.0.html

FTM
http://fromthemorning.blogspot.com

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Roger,

If you need proof of politicization, here's a link.

Roger said...

Politicians shouldn't be making hay of this issue. I agree with that.

However, the fact that they are doing so doesn't justify or make more morally sound or ethical the practice of using cruel starvation to extinguish the life of a woman here in the U.S. or of a child in a famine-striken country. Courts shouldn't be ordering away anyone's nutrition, nor should poiticians be forced to weigh in.

However, when a mother says, "Please, senators, for the love of God, I'm begging you, don't let my daughter die of thirst," I know it motivate me to see what I could do if I was a legislator.

That's all I have to say to you. To see a respected Baptist leader support anyone's starvation appalls me. "Stave them into heaven!" What a doctine. I certainly hope you never have to bury a child and I hope the Schindlers do not, either. That's all I have to say.

Anonymous said...

Bruce,

Now you're really grabing at straws. In one sense we are all political by nature. George Orwell's essay "Why I Write" makes the profound point about writing with political purpose. We all do it to a certain extent. One is being political whenever they agree with another individual and disagree with another. Why would it suprise someone that a Democrat or Republican might recognize a political opportunity? That doesn't mean that everyone taking a stand for Terry Schiavo has selfish political motives. That's a cop out.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this really a smokescreen to divert us from the crises of a country with no borders, and jobs being exported by the millions to exploit cheap foreign labor and enrich corporate investors in this country - not to mention the carnage in Iraq, and an unimaginable deficit created by tax refund and spend Republicans?

Don't take a living will for granted. I fought the doctors who wanted to overrule the one my mother had on file, in their costly efforts not to prolong life, but the process of dying of one who had no idea who or where she was.

As a pastor who has walked through this kind of decision with others more than once I believe the real tragedy is the conflict in this woman's family that must involve an agenda other than this young woman's life.