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|The Issue Is Life||
The Terri Schiavo case is far more serious than many of us realize. Understanding the value of life and desiring to protect it is the real issue facing us. On every level, we are dealing with the sanctity of life.
The greatest man who ever lived, the ultimate expression of human worth and rights—Jesus Christ—said he came that "we might have life." God is not only the creator and giver of life, but His primary characteristics are life, love and holiness.
We are seeing on every front the tragic results of devaluing human life and placing the ideologies of men and the objectives of others above life. Terrorists have no regard for human life, for the innocent, for the civilian. They disregard human worth in order to further their demented cause. This has been typical of all historical expressions of evil.
We are appalled at the murder of Jessica Lunsford at the hands of a known child molester. We are shocked that a teenager could kill his own grandparents and walk into school, grinning as he shoots other children and school officials before taking his own life. We are horrified as a convicted felon goes on a killing rampage in an Atlanta courthouse, then amazed as he is miraculously stopped by a woman who understands the true source of life and cares about divine purpose for everyone.
We see in the Schiavo case a situation that brings us face-to-face with the serious issue of life's value. With the legalization of abortion on demand in the United States, as well as other "advanced" countries, many have placed their own personal comfort and convenience above the care of others if the situation demands personal attention or sacrifice. We can see the horror of this disregard when terrorists attack our trade center or kill school children in Russia on their first day in class; yet we can't see our own failure to properly regard life when we have such liberal laws concerning abortion, including partial-birth abortion.
We must admit that life is the issue that determines whether sound moral principles are the primary governing factor determining our nation's laws, standards and practices.
The right-to-die issue does need careful consideration, as a great percentage of our population reaches their latter years. Many people, including my wife and I, have established living wills, giving guidelines concerning our wishes regarding life support. We have tried to explain our wishes; but when there is no standard that has been clearly established, I agree with President Bush, who said, "If we are going to err, let's err on the side of life."
I am convinced that the Schiavo case will, in many ways, foretell the coming attitude of our society. Cal Thomas effectively dealt with the issue when he wrote:
"Having been conditioned to accept killing—even killing by the state according to an arbitrary standard of who is fit to live and who is not—it will be a short step to killing Grandma and Grandpa in their assisted-living centers, which quickly will be transformed into centers for assisted dying."
Powerful, profound, provocative and right on target, Mr. Thomas! He also suggested that attorneys will ultimately be meeting with the children to discuss how much more of the inheritance there will be to split if it is not spent on the person needing assistance. Unless Americans' views change on the value of life, I believe that this will indeed occur.
The decision concerning Terri Schiavo will determine the future for many of us, including the grandfather of 11 writing this article. The Center for Practical Bioethics presents helpful advice concerning advance directives, including living wills. These healthcare matters will become increasingly significant over the next decade.
We should not fear this discussion. We should not label and categorize people who want to bring to the table issues that demand not only serious discussion, but also prayerful and careful attention. In the end, I pray we will come down on the side of life, because life is the issue.