Christianity and Middle-Earth

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I Heard the Death-Watch Beating

And thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor—one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
…Here at least
We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.

The Battlements of Hell

The room is dim and hushed. Low hums come from the cpu and its various dependents. I lean back in the recliner in which I spend most of my days, feet elevated so they won’t turn grey. My eyes skim the monitor screen, speed-reading the testimonials of America’s soul.

I’m wearing earphones. I click the switch and the words I see now echo in my ears, drowning the quiet with a steady cadence of calumny. They are spoken by inexorable voices, haughty and uncaring, and they come in rank upon rank; clone-platitudes recited from memory over and over and over again, like a cold, cruel sea beating on a diminished shore.

They are spoken by the skull beneath the skin.

Vegetative. Hydration. Palliative. Ethical. Artificial. Terminal.

The speakers cloak their political agendas as they pose for the camera. From their silvered tongues comes a stream of soothing textbook psychobabble. Condescending elites in expensive suits or omniscient medicals in rumpled white lab-coats, they are polished, suave, occasionally indignant in a well-bred, Continental sort of way. And they are oh-so-eager that a “witless halfling” die lest her living deflect their graspy little snatch at the judiciary power that will enable their demonic Utopia.

Irreversible. Comfort-care. Nutrition. Procedure. Nontreatment.

No Pythian pronouncements these. No eerie, mystical Delphic delirium for the cameras, no ravings from a wild-eyed sibyl drunk on the breath of the god. No, these sages speak judiciously, coolly, clinically. And so the code-words come, flowing from the screen in legions, dark-tinted ghosts like watered black ink, fluid and elusive. Not even the dust stirs as they slip by.

Process. Dignity. Natural. Expert. Protocol. Aid-in-Dying. Privacy.

They break ranks—these purposeful formulae of the Euthanasia-pushers—and evaporate as they pour into the room, only to flicker back into furtive being amongst the shadows under the furniture, wee new ghosts of old, old sins. There they peep and flutter, flitting careless from corner to corner, thin, insubstantial phantom-shapes my fingers cannot catch.

It's a struggle to find new ways to capture such evils, to bring them up short and pin them down, pierced and wriggling like death’s-head moths against the four-square surface of truth. I just keep trying, watching, thinking.

And to and fro they dance, back and forth, in and out; faint and gleeful wraith-scraps prancing on the margins of my sight, sly and formless and quick.

They are the words of honey-tongued death-dealers and they are abomination.


You of Mordor and Night, you who exult in the dominion of lies and blithely cast aside stark evidence of injustice, you who would be gods: if you want the fingernails of damnation sunk deep and implacable into your sorry hides, then go ahead. Enforce your technicalities, your sacred legalisms, your holy jots and your sacrosanct tittles. Spread your brittle weavings of fool’s gold and vainglory across your nakedness, let it glitter brighter than the brightest sun.

Sink your own claws into your divine right to kill helpless innocents. Make your stand on the battlements of Hell and defend them for all you’re worth.

It’s all you’ll have left in the End.


Update: And the Crowd Said Crucify (via Blogs for Terri)

"Several recent polls say that a majority of Americans believe that starving Terri is OK. God help us."

Update 2: Kenneth Tanner at Touchstone:

"As Schiavo approaches death—on Good Friday? on Holy Saturday? on Easter?—the media have already begun to look back on the extraordinary efforts to save her life by Congress, by President and Governor Bush, by the Florida legislature, and to label them the acts of extremists, of politicians cornered by radical “religious right” conservatives who would block individual freedom (in this case Ms. Schiavo’s purported wish to die) and ignore scientific experts in the name of religion."


Death-process. I think I missed that one.


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