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Letters to the editor

March 23, 2005

Let parents assume care


To the editor:

As of this writing, Terri Schiavo is two days into what will be a gruesome, tortuous, prolonged death. In the United States today, it has come to this: One would most likely do jail time and pay a stiff fine if it was discovered that he or she was starving an animal to death. Scott Peterson, as well as the Florida person who molested and murdered 9-year old Jessica Lunsford, will be ushered into eternity at the end of a catheter full of mind-numbing drugs, thereby allowing an easy passage. Yet Terri - who is guilty of nothing - is allowed to starve.

Has the U.S. become so unmoored from any sort of moral consensus (such as that of protecting innocents) that we now rely on judges to make those decisions for us? Why, as a state's rights conservative, am I actually on the side of Congress, which is trying to move this case into federal court? Here's why: Because we have been sold on the idea of moral relativism for so long that as a people, we no longer even agree on when life should be protected.

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I'm not at all surprised that, especially on the left, human life is no longer sacred or special, especially if it is potentially embarrassing (unplanned or unwanted pregnancy and the consequent abortion) or inconvenient (physically and mentally challenged individuals, to include one's aged parents.)

Anyone with even a passing interest in this awful travesty, and who is honest, would have to admit that there is no logical reason for allowing this to happen. The films on the Internet do not lie. Terri Schiavo smiles, recognizes family members, becomes sad when they leave, and in other ways proves she is not on death's doorstep. She is not being kept alive artificially, by ventilators and such, as was the much revered Christopher Reeve. Her parents - as well as complete strangers - have offered to pay for her care and even buy off her "loving husband" Michael, who for no known reason has refused these offers, will not divorce her and marry the mother of his two children he is currently living with, and offers nothing more than his word that Terri had stated years before that she wouldn't want to live this way.

So the question to those who are on the side of Michael Schiavo and Judge Greer is simply one of why: Why not allow her parents to assume her care? Who or what would this hurt? And don't we, as a nation, in questionable cases like this, simply have to err on the side of life?

Doug Walker
Hagerstown




Is this about life or about politics?


To the editor:

I am outraged at this hypocritical intrusion into the disposition of Terri Schiavo's case in Florida. This group of self-righteous, so-called Christians is bent on prolonging the torture of this poor woman for political advantage, not Christian mercy.

Every day in hundreds of hospital settings, machines that support life are disconnected to allow nature to take its course. Why this case? Intervening in the natural life process is to take on the mantle of God. Some in this Congress do not seem to understand that God is God, and they are not.

Life-support systems were devised to give the patient time for the body to heal and resume normal functions. Terri Schiavo will never heal and regain normal functions. All tests say the brain is dead and the activity the parents believe to be responses are nothing more than reflexes of the primitive brain that is being artificially sustained. This is the group that says that the government is too intrusive on American citizens.

This is the group that wanted a constitutional amendment to "protect the sanctity of marriage." These are the people that want to protect state's rights. Now they don't want to protect Michael Schiavo's responsibility as Terri's husband.

Now they want to override the many court decisions in Florida allowing Terri a right to die. Now they want to intrude? Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a medical doctor. He has prescribed treatment for a patient he has never examined. That would be considered malpractice in any jurisdiction.

Bob Ayrer
Falling Waters, W.Va.




Why are Christians scared of death?


To the editor:

Why do modern Christians, who are supposed to believe that death is not the end, do anything to avoid death?

Christians act just like atheists, who believe that this life is all that there is, so you better hang onto it even if you are brain-dead.

I don't get it.

Although a brain-dead person may be able to live without life support as long as someone feeds her, what's the point if she is brain-dead and her husband said what is happening is contrary to her wishes?

Why is a Congress, which allows perfectly healthy babies to be killed as they are being born, getting involved in this brain-dead case?

Consistency is not a virtue, but in the absence of virtue, it has to do. But virtue and consistency is perhaps asking too much of the United States Congress.

Joseph Parker
Martinsburg, W.Va.

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