Wednesday, March 23, 2005

To My Elected Representatives, In Re Terri Schiavo

Dear President Bush, Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, and Congressman Jeff Flake,

Over the last couple of months, I’ve written to each of you at least twice asking for your help in the case of Terri Schiavo of Florida. If the court is correct, and she would rather die than live in her disabled condition, the state is assisting in her suicide. If the finding is wrong, it is still euthanasia. In either case, it is unacceptable to me, but apparently not unconstitutional (!?), for the state to kill an innocent citizen. Words fail to adequately express my disappointment in our government for once again failing its citizens on the fundamental civil right to life. Of what value are any of our liberties without life in which to pursue them? Recent legislation was so insufficient as to make me doubt the intentions that drove it. Terri’s case is not being reviewed on an evidentiary basis, but is still being denied on a point of law. We had an opportunity to change that by changing the law, but we failed.

I find the denial of her free practice of her faith as objectionable as the denial of her right to life. We were founded for the most part by men and women who sought freedom in which to practice their religion. Yet Terri Schiavo’s freedom to practice her Catholic faith is being denied. If the court’s finding is correct, and she expressed a desire to die in a manner contrary to the teachings of her faith, her soul was imperiled. In the absence of her ability to communicate a desire to be devout, why couldn’t we assume she would aspire to be? And now, a state judge stands between Terri and the practice of her faith by denying her access to daily Communion because he has ordered that nothing can pass her lips, not even two or three drops of consecrated wine. Further, he has removed the only other mechanism by which Communion could have been administered. It wasn’t necessary to deny her this freedom. The tube could have stayed in, closed off to nutrition and hydration, but available to allow her the Sacrament.

I can’t imagine the consequences of our failure in this and all other cases like it. We are killing an innocent disabled woman by court order in the United States of America. This is not the America I hoped it was. It is not the land of the free or the home of the brave. We are cowards. We don’t have the nerve to stand up and say we love life enough to protect it. We enslave the weak and helpless who live or die at our discretion. Are all men created equal? Yes, but they won’t find equitable treatment in the nation formed on that ideal.