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She Died For Our Sin—Terri Schindler-Schiavo (1963-2005
by Stephen A. Peterson
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She Died For Our Sin—Terri Schindler-Schiavo (1963-2005)

Stephen A. Peterson

One of the wisest judgments ever rendered to a social/moral dilemma in the history of humankind and recognized even by atheists was the judgment of King Solomon of Israel some 3,000 years ago. Two women came before the king each claiming to be the real mother of an infant child. One woman came before Solomon with selfish motives. The other woman came with the love of a mother for her child. The king was given two very good stories making it impossible to know who had the welfare of the child at heart. Since he could not ascertain who the real mother was, Solomon decided to split the child in two. Rather than allow her child to die, the real mother revealed herself when she spoke up to express her willingness to give up possession of her child to the non-mother to allow her child to live rather than die. The mother chose life. The king ruled for life.

In much the same way, American jurisprudence, political, moral and social systems were given a Solomon-like moral decision and failed miserably before itself and the world. In the Terri Schindler-Schiavo (pronounced in the Italian :skee-ah-vo) case, for thirteen days, we witnessed the legal execution of a handicapped woman. Americans and the world witnessed one of the major issues that should concern every person at least in the United States—the rise of the culture of death.

As with any and every thing that is evil, the culture of death never presents its true face wrapping itself in the maze of confusing, glossed over words designed to evade and confuse the public as to their true intentions. The best illustration of this came when the Michael Schiavo attorney, George Felos, came forward as Terri lay dying to describe her last moments of life as “peaceful” and “beautiful”. Felos, who supports euthanasia in all its forms, gave his statement as a way of silencing the outcry of those who opposed the murder of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Those of us who have witnessed dying persons know full well that the death of a starved person lacking hydration is anything but “peaceful” and “beautiful”. Felos and those in the culture of death manipulated America’s lack of familiarity with the dying process because of this country’s fear and cosmetic approach towards dealing with the dying. We so fear death to the point that we cannot even say that a person is dying, is dead or has died. We refer to a person’s death euphemistically as “passing away” or he/she “passed”. In the case of some, passed to what? In the case of those who believed in no God, they are “DEAD”!

In the culture of death, in spite of what has been advertised, no one’s wishes are secure even with a Living Will. Right now, the Living Will is the supposed instrument that should detail a person’s wishes. However, in the culture of death coupled with a growing body of judges legislating from the bench, they could easily be countermanded. Such cases have reportedly been observed and reported in the United States.

When there was no documentation as to the wishes of an incapacitated person, as Terri Schindler-Schiavo, why did the courts or anyone, for that matter, accept the word of a conflicted advocate whose actions, words and deeds were inconsistent? Michael Schiavo was living with another woman in an adulterous state (bigamous if he referred to this woman as his wife), had two illegitimate children with her, did not follow through with court documented promises he made to care for his wife, and received a generous sum of money for her care from the lawsuit that he failed to follow through with. All of these facts and other allegations lead this author to believe that as human beings, we must err on the option of sustaining life until these inconsistencies are resolved. This is not, however, an option for those supporting the culture of death. We are led to believe that a sane, rational person does not or would not “want to live that way”. The culture of death says that if you are not a full functioning, contributing person then you are not a person and should, therefore, move on and let the ones who, in their view, live and you die!

In the culture of death as in Spartan society of old, an individual’s personhood was decided by hand picked members of society. If it was decided, a baby was weak, handicapped or malformed, they were left out to die a death of starvation, dehydration or consumed by wild animals. Are we to use our judiciary of one, two or nine to decide the fate of persons with Alzheimer’s, Minimal Brain Dysfunction, or anyone with a disabling disease or syndrome? Are we to always believe legal guardians with hidden agendas? Despite what Michael Schiavo, George Felos and the supporters of the culture of death would have you believe, Terri Schindler-Schiavo was NOT brain dead, but rather brain damaged.

As a Christian/Roman Catholic, I am proud of my denomination as well as the other Christian denominations and non-Christians of good faith that organized themselves as a voice of one in the defense of life. As an American, I am equally proud of President Bush and all Congress men and women who gave up vacations, spent their own personal funds in the defense of life. These actions were moral and within the Constitution of the United States, therefore, right and for the common good not just for one woman. These individuals have my respect and deserve the respect of all sane people not just in the United States but in the world! We should take careful note of the legislators, journalists and judges who, by their actions, words and deeds supported the public execution of Terri Schindler-Schiavo by starvation and dehydration.

Let it be known, that this not a Democratic or Republican struggle. It is a moral issue which threatens the very moral, social and ethical soul of this nation. The fact that those who supported states rights applauded the action taken by the President and Congress only strengthens the argument that a ghastly, repugnant and reprehensible mistake was made by the judicial branch of government. As for the minority of legislators who voted against the congressional bill or absenced themselves from the halls of Congress, and the judges who slammed the doors on Terri Schindler-Schiavo and her family without tangible and convincing evidence of her wishes, I and the majority of Americans will never forget how the wishes of the Schindler family who begged for their daughter and sister’s life to be spared were mercilessly trampled upon with the blessings of those in support of the culture of death. Terri Schindler-Schiavo died for their’s and our sin. To argue, as some have, in their attempt to advance the notion that those advocating life are attempting to play God, is insulting and ludicrous! The United States throughout it history, though mistakes from time to time have been made, has a consistent pattern to err on the side of life.

The equally ludicrous claim that the public outpouring of support to save Terri Schindler-Schiavo was a Christian fundamentalist, religious right wing Republican conspiracy led by members of the Republican party who were behind the President's and Congress'intervention done for political gain is also an insult to all, both Democrats and Republicans, Christians, Jews and Islamics. ALL Americans, regardless of their socioeconomic, ideological or religious persuasion believe the courts should have allowed the Schindler family access for the life their daughter and sister. It is ironic that protestors outside Terri Schindler-Schiavo’s execution chamber were represented by Christians, Jews, Islamics, atheists, agnostics, liberals and conservatives. It is also ironic that Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, Senator Joseph Lieberman and nearly half of the Democratic Caucus publicly stated that Congress did the right thing. They agreed with one voice that Terri Schindler-Schiavo should have been allowed to live!!! Are they all members of the religious right wing of the Republican party?

Those who believe the Terri Schindler-Schiavo case is over are tragedically mistaken. This is merely the first chapter in a continuing novel that will have dramatic social, political, and moral implications long after this generation of people has long died. It is this author’s belief that the Terri Schindler-Schiavo murder will historically be found and remembered to be one of the United States’ greatest judicial and moral injustices and failures comparable to the 1853 Dred Scott Decision wherein African-Americans were denied full personhood until 1965!!! A travesty that will forever bring shame and horror for generations to come just as the Dred Scott Decision does now!

What sin have we committed? How about the sin of apathy for starters? That is, not raising our voices against and opposing those who call abortion “choice”, death by starvation “beautiful” and “peaceful” or those who continue to use deception to paint their culture of death as completely acceptable, good and right. How about the sin of greed? Wanting our share of material things enough not to speak up because we might be sued, face imprisonment, be shamed, or lose social and political standing. So many of us, even those of us who call ourselves people of God worship our “things” more than we do Almighty God. May God have mercy on you! YES, she was executed for our sin! Will there be others to follow?

May God bless and have Terri Schindler-Schiavo and those who grieve her public execution. And may God forgive those who caused, participated and supported the execution of an innocent, handicapped woman. For it is not my right or ability to decide where you will go from here or judge your guilt or innocence. That is God's! He will deal with you accordingly and you will not escape His judgment!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Sargent 16 Jul 2006
You expressed thoroughly and explicitly the thoughts of many Americans. I hope your article is published.
Joyce Poet 29 Apr 2005
Frightening. Thank you so much, Brother, for your voice. May the world hear Terri's voice through yours. I pray the Lord will spread this article out there for the multitudes and that many will stop to question their standing. God help us all to band together for Life.


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