There are many things to mourn about the Schiavo case. That her heart attack destroyed Ms. Schiavo's mind. That for a decade and a half a woman whose soul has irrecoverably fled has been kept breathing. That the family is so dysfunctional--the parents have long hated the husband and the husband has long hated the parents--as to be unable to reach a collective decision on what to do. That the parents have been unable to listen to the doctors who tell them that their daughter's soul has irrecoverably fled. That the time of nurses and doctors who could be treating people who might recover is wasted by being spent, instead, on someone who will not recover. These, however, are "normal" tragedies that are created every day by the enormous power and yet limited reach of modern medicine.
It is right and fitting for all of us to mourn all of these
What is abnormal is for the Republican slime machine to step in, with its standard mix of lies: "She talks and she laughs and she expresses likes and discomforts," said Tom DeLay. "It won't take a miracle to help Terri Schiavo. It will only take the medical care and therapy that patients require." False witness on this scale is definitely not a help.
It is right and fitting for all of us to mourn this.
But what is even more abnormal, terrifying, and pitiable is that some people appear to have convinced the Schindlers, Ms. Schiavo's parents, that, in the words of their lawyer Pat Anderson, removal of her feeding tube deprives her of the "free exercise of her religious beliefs ... and, in fact, imperil[s] her immortal soul."
Now I'm a Pascal's Wager type myself. But for the Schindlers and others who trust that Jesus spoke with Authority and that the evangelists faithfully recorded his words, there is a direct message from the One Who Is to the Schindlers on this point. It is, "Fear not!":
Jesus said unto [Martha], "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
Who preaches a God who would damn someone because their feeding tube had been removed?