Christianity and Middle-Earth

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Calling Gandalf the White

Being disinclined to put any of my money into George Felos’s pocket, I am without a personal copy of Litigation as Spiritual Practice (Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2002). There are, however, numerous excerpts lying about on the internet, so I will rely on those—endeavoring, of course, to use the more sober sources. (italics mostly mine for readability)

The Florida Baptist Witness seems to fit the respectability requirement well enough, so I’ll start with that.
In a discussion of the “cosmic law of cause and effect,” Felos argues that we create our own physical realities with our mind, but most people do not understand their own power to change their life’s circumstances – even including the ability to make a new dream car appear “out of the ether.” (178-179)

(…)

Felos illustrates this power in his own life by describing an incident while on a plane during a time when he was engaged in a “right-to-die” case and had become very involved in the hospice movement. He pondered, “I wonder what it would be like to die right now?” and “indulged the thought by imagining the plane starting to lose it trajectory and descend.” The plane did, creating chaos in the cabin as people began to realize the plane was going to crash. “Needless to say, the juxtaposition of my imagined death and the possibility of a real demise heightened for me my different reactions. I assure you, my hubris in assuming that I would meet a life-ending crash with equanimity was not lost on me.” (181-182)

The pilot later explained to the passengers that there was an unexplained problem with the auto pilot which caused the momentary descent. “At that instant a clear, distinctly independent and slightly stern voice said to me, ‘Be careful what you think. You are more powerful than you realize.’ In quick succession I was startled, humbled and blessed by God’s admonishment.” (182)
The next clip is from the publisher's website, again quoting Mr. Felos.
While standing in the house with the realtor, I knew I would live there, as improbable as the circumstances made it seem. Believing that something will happen is not foresight. Rather, it is the actual experience in the present of something that will occur in the future. The paradox with this form of intuition is that the future is no longer the future because it becomes for that moment the present. When I entered that house for the first time, I knew I would live there because, through foresight, I realized I was already living there.

Most times this "knowing" for me is sensed as a feeling. Sometimes I hear it, and sometimes I see it…

(…)

…Intuition does not lie in the rational mind. Sometimes it is "seen" through other centers of the body, such as the heart or solar plexus. Everybody has had that "gut feeling." For me, the experience of intuition through sight is like seeing two different realities at the same time. To use a Star Trek analogy, it's dimensionally multi-phasic. (I wondered whether I could write this book without referring to Star Trek, and didn't get past page three!)

The crew of the Enterprise, beset in one episode by all types of strange maladies, discovered that they were infected by invisible parasitic creatures attached to their bodies. The creatures were unseeable because they existed in another phasic dimension. They occupied the same space and time, but at a different vibrational level. With the benefit of a hand-held "multi-phasic viewing device" constructed by our heroes, they could press a button and observe the creatures on their skin. Release the button and they were gone. Intuitive seeing is somewhat like that for me. A transparent image exists and is there, and then it's not. While extremely subtle, it is also undeniably real.
Third witness, National Review—which, whatever one’s politics, can be surely be considered at least as reliable a source as Blue Dolphin Publishing:
Felos believes he used this "conscious evolution" in his first "right-to-die" case concerning Estelle Browning. Felos says when he was alone with Browning they shared a "soul touch" in which their spirits left their respective bodies and spoke to each other. It was in this encounter that Browning "told" Felos she wanted to die:

"As I continued to stay beside Mrs. Browning at her nursing home bed, I felt my mind relax and my weight sink into the ground. I began to feel lightheaded as I became more reposed. Although feeling like I could drift into sleep, I also experienced a sense of heightened awareness."

He writes, As Mrs. Browning lay motionless before my gaze, I suddenly heard a loud, deep moan and scream and wondered if the nursing home personnel heard it and would respond to the unfortunate resident. In the next moment, as this cry of pain and torment continued, I realized it was Mrs. Browning.

I felt the midsection of my body open and noticed a strange quality to the light in the room. I sensed her soul in agony. As she screamed I heard her say, in confusion, "Why am I still here ... Why am I here?" My soul touched hers and in some way I communicated that she was still locked in her body. I promised I would do everything in my power to gain the release her soul cried for. With that, the screaming immediately stopped. I felt like I was back in my head again, the room resumed its normal appearance, and Mrs. Browning, as she had throughout this experience, lay silent.


(…)

Felos describes his spiritual beliefs as syncretistic religion, mixing elements of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Native American ceremonial practices. In Litigation as Spiritual Practice's introduction, he declares, "evolution of consciousness is our ultimate salvation."

His apparent lack of concern for Terri Schiavo's plight might be better understood in the context of his belief that "[i]n reality you have never been born and never can die."

This is all not to say that Felos isn't entitled to believe whatever he wants to. He, of course, is. However, this is the same man who has described the Schindler family and their supporters as "fanatics."
And lastly, I offer the reader a snippet from the incomparable Mark Steyn:
Michael Schiavo’s lawyer, George Felos, is a leading light of the so-called ‘right-to-die’ movement, and his book, Litigation as Spiritual Practice, makes interesting reading. On page 240 Mr Felos writes, ‘The Jewish people, long ago in their collective consciousness, agreed to play the role of the lamb whose slaughter was necessary to shock humanity into a new moral consciousness. Their sacrifice saved humanity at the brink of extinction and propelled us into a new age.... If our minds can conceive of an uplifting Holocaust, can it be so difficult to look another way at the slights and injuries and abuses we perceive were inflicted upon us?’

Mr Felos feels it is now Terri Schiavo’s turn to ‘agree’ to play the role of the lamb whose slaughter is necessary to shock humanity into a new moral consciousness.
There are those of us who would like to see George Felos charged with something, accessory to murder at the least, but I have my doubts about the efficacy of human effort in sorting out this particular loonybiscuit.

As a devout Christian, I am of the opinion—and I don’t say this lightly—that Mr. Felos tiptoed through the tulips of his phasic dimensions one time too many. Curing that's going to take bell, book and candle.

 

Link this

Lay Down Your Sweet and Weary Head

Saving Terri Schiavo:

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."

Aragorn, The Two Towers

 

Link this

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Darkness Went With Them

The Nazgul they were; the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them and they cried with the voices of death.
There is a great reluctance on the part of even some of Terri Schiavo’s most outspoken supporters to use the word ‘murder.’ As best as I can understand, this particular reservation hinges on a definition in law which would distinguish a ‘miscarriage of justice’ from the textbook designation for unlawful death.

It’s a moral advantage sometimes (if not financial) to be largely ignorant of the legalistic nitpicking in which law students are rigorously schooled (and which the ACLU has used to its doubtless pure-hearted and disinterested advantage on so many occasions).

I understand the principle involved: it’s essentially linguistic algebra. If A+B=C, then you’d jolly well better not try to slip a+B=C by a judge. That Would Never Do. (Unless you can throw in enough subjunctive clauses of the sort that will convince a judge to believe that ‘A’ actually does equal ‘a’ and right and wrong be damned.)

Because as long as there’s so much as a microscopic hook from which to dangle his legal participles, what His Honor says is what happens. Should your lawyer set a procedural foot wrong, he’s put it down in quick-set cement. Signed, sealed, delivered: forever hammered into stone. You can appeal to Caesar all you want; the chances that he’ll bother to lend an ear are so thin as to not even cast a shadow.

Thus the judiciary system becomes a hive-mind of metal and wheels, a grotesque anthropomorphic adding-machine operated by statutory hydraulics and ex cathedra holy water pumped killing-cold from a polar sea. The only hope you have—the only chance you will get to appeal to the warmth of a human heart—is a jury. (Given their druthers, a great many members of the judiciary branch of government would, I suspect, gladly do away with juries. They’re so untidy, juries – they will let themselves be affected by their feelings despite judges’ instructions.)

Terri Schiavo didn’t get a jury. You don’t when your only crime is being disabled.

The moral of this Great American Story is this: if you’re innocent, you die anyway. There is no court of appeals.

And that—the intentional killing of an innocent—is the definition of murder.


Update: Join the Resistance!

 

Link this

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Other Woman in Michael Schiavo's Heart

He has a heart?

But I'm being snippy. It's really a such a sweet, touching story:
"They met by chance at a dentist's office. Neither was searching for love..."
Make a good country song, that. We could have a second verse to the Media Blues. You'll recall the first one:
She’s a mindless cauliflower with old broccoli for a brain
She’s a-droolin’ and she doesn’t know her name
She’s as dumb as a potater
Or a shiny red tomater
And she’ll never, never think a thought agaaaaiiinnnnn
Hmmmm. How 'bout:
They was in the dentist’s office when their eyes first met in love
He was sadder than the mournin’ of a duuuvvvve
While the dentist was a-drillin’
His pore, lonely heart was fillin’
With this sugar-coated angel from abuuuuuuvvvvvve.
*cough* Where was I?

Ah, yes, touching story. A fairy-tale ending of bliss snatched from the jaws of a cold, cold world, a morsel of earthly happiness ever tinged with the bittersweet shadows of old, old sadness. Will this sorrowful couple find peace? Will Tara marry Philip or Charles? Or are Charles and Philip the same man? Maybe Tara's a man! And what about Barnabas? Will Othello and Becky Sharp find happiness after all their suffering? And there's bound to be an aria from Madame Butterfly in there somewhe—*smack!*

Ow! (ed--No, Baillie. No more songwriting. Bad!)

Okay, okay! How 'bout that old American standby?
How he missed her,
How he missed her,
How he missed his Clementine,

Til he kissed her
Little sister
He forgot his Clementiiiinnne!
Passion, cruel persecution, starry eyes and gentle souls, dental floss, regret and yearning, all wound helplessly into a heartwringingly complicated cat's cradle worthy of all the love-triangles that ever were - it's all here for you, America! Who needs All My Children?
"I could see he was very uneasy, very scared," John Centonze said. "He had spent four to five years by himself. He seemed lonely and heartbroken."

Schiavo always made it clear he was still in love with Terri, relatives say.

"Mike still has a lot of emotions for Terri," John Centonze said. "People make him out to be this mean guy, and he's nothing like that at all."

Jodi Centonze knew what she was getting into, her brother said.

"From the beginning she knew the situation," her brother said. "He told her, if you have a problem with this, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to fulfill her wishes, and carry it out until the end."
Poor dears. Such nobility! Such self-sacrifice!
"She's there for him 100 percent," Centonze's brother said.
So it would seem.

This is one of the puffiest puff-piece-apologies for adultery and murder I think I've ever read.

 

Link this

A Fool's Hope

Sean Hannity is live with the wee scrap of a hope that Jesse Jackson has brought to the Schindler family with his visit and promise to call state senators.

More on that and on Nat Hentoff's Village Voice article at Blogs for Terri

It's a long shot, but so was Frodo's journey to Mount Doom.

 

Link this

Monday, March 28, 2005

Reprise: a Plea to the President

Archived, same here.

 

Link this

Call to Action: Demand Autopsy

IF she dies. There's still a window for a miracle.

Archived, more here
.

 

Link this

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Elessar



"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."


Narsil


A bright and burning blade of power, Narsil of the moon and sun;
Light for dim and desp’rate hour, ancient legend scarce begun.
Peril from the stones of fire shaped into a weapon fell,
Hammered to the smith’s desire,
Age of glory yet to tell.

Crucible and Last Alliance, spent the life of Elf and Man,
Harrowed deep the West’s defiance in the torn and bloodied land.
Ring of Shadow swells the storming, wind of ruin hard assails,
Into Night the hell-fires warming as the Mordor-Lord prevails.
Slain the king and Narsil broken, song celestial is stilled,
True-forged steel a victor’s token, light to eventide is spilled.
One – the One! – In instant longest, hope leaps from the death-fed ground;
Shattered sword that strikes is strongest, casting proud ambition down.

Overturn the doom of breaking, set new fire into the blade,
Might from final slumber waking, sword from deepest Time remade.
Etch the waxing moon in crescent, flame of sun and star-gleam bright,
Glow in splendor incandescent,
Anduril, the foe of Night.


~~~


(This poem is an acrostic, the first letter of each line combining to spell out in three words the metaphorical meaning of the text. The division into three stanzas echoes that significance, the metaphor of each stanza, being respectively Christ Born, Christ Slain, Christ Risen.)

 

Link this

A Plea to the President

Mr. Bush, please send in the federal marshals. If Clinton can do it, why can't you?

And, yes, I've heard all the arguments. I don't care.

This was legal. Would you have sheltered a runaway slave or would you have turned him over to the authorities?

 

Link this

Friday, March 25, 2005

Email Media Outlets

Alert from : Blogs for Terri

Archived, more here
.

 

Link this

Reprise

In honor of Good Friday and Easter Sunday I am reposting two essays concerning the Euthanasia-pushers and Terri Schiavo.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Rustle of Morgul-Rags: January 9,2005

The Dutch should know better. The Dutch do know better.

Via Ecumenical Insanity comes another nasty waft of Night and Abyss as the Witch-king of Angmar gets ready to ride again.

“Doctors can help patients who ask for help to die even though they may not be ill but "suffering through living," concludes a three year inquiry commissioned by the Royal Dutch Medical Association. The report argues that no reason can be given to exclude situations of such suffering from a doctor’s area of competence.

The conclusion has reopened a fierce debate over what constitutes grounds for requesting euthanasia, as it contradicts a landmark Supreme Court decision that a patient must have a "classifiable physical or mental condition." The 2002 ruling upheld a guilty verdict on a GP for helping his 86 year old patient die, even though he was not technically ill but obsessed with his physical decline and hopeless existence (BMJ 2003;326:71).

The Dutch euthanasia law does not specifically state that a patient must have a physical or mental condition, only that a patient must be "suffering hopelessly and unbearably."


Emphasis mine.

~~~

[Y]et another weapon, swifter than hunger, the Lord of the Dark Tower had: dread and despair. The Nazgul came again, and as their Dark Lord now grew and put forth his strength, so their voices, which uttered only his will and his malice, were filled with evil and horror. Ever they circled above the city, like vultures that expect their fill of doomed men’s flesh. Out of sight and shot they flew, and yet were ever present, and their deadly voices rent the air. More unbearable they became, not less, with each new cry. At length, even the stout-hearted would fling themselves to the ground as the hidden menace passed over them, or they would stand, letting their weapons fall from nerveless hands, while into their minds a blackness came, and they thought no more of war, but only of hiding and crawling, and of death.
~~~

In the Brave New World of the Royal Dutch Utilitarian Society, social engineering is to be admired over charity, convenience over courage, and expediency over unfailing love. To concede transcendence of the vainglorious dictates of the Efficiency-mongers would be to admit to the existence of a Mind and Power beyond the understanding of men who are their own I Am. It would be to admit that we are not meant to be a hive, a precision clockwork ever clicking out the perfect seconds of a tidy machine-world; that even what may appear as needless suffering has an office of unfathomable value in the shaping of a human soul.

~~~

‘Why? Why do the fools fly?’ said Denethor. ‘Better to burn sooner than late, for burn we must. Go back to your bonfire. And I? I will go now to my pyre. To my pyre! No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. No tomb! No long slow sleep in death embalmed. We will burn like heathen kings before ever a ship sailed thither from the West. The West has failed. Go back and burn!’


…Denethor started as one waking from a trance, and the flame died in his eyes, and he wept; and he said, ‘Do not take my son from me! He calls for me.’

‘He calls,’ said Gandalf, ‘but you cannot come to him yet. For he must seek healing on the threshold of death, and maybe find it not. Whereas your part is to go out to the battle of your City, where maybe death awaits you. This you know in your heart.’

‘He will not wake again,’ said Denethor. ‘Battle is vain. Why should we wish to live longer? Why should we not go to death side by side?’

‘Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the hour of your death,’ answered Gandalf. ‘And only the heathen kings, under the domination of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair….’


…Then suddenly Denethor laughed. He stood up tall and proud again…His eyes glittered. ‘Pride and despair!’ he cried. ‘Didst thou think that the eyes of the White Tower were blind? Nay, I have seen more than thou knowest, Grey Fool. For thy hope is but ignorance. Go then and labour in healing! Go forth and fight! Vanity. For a little space you may triumph on the field, for a day. But against the Power that now arises there is no victory. To this City only the first finger of its hand has yet been stretched. All the East is moving. And even now the wind of thy hope cheats thee and wafts up the Anduin a fleet with black sails. The West has failed.’
~~~

Thy hope is but ignorance. Better to die at our own hands than endure one more hour and then one more hour after that and another after that, because, you see, hope is taken from us, ravished, robbed and left cold as the dead under endless night.

This is the natural state of the chronically, severely depressed; they can see only the uttermost sprawl of the Void. What they cannot see is that for all the vastness of its width and length and height and depth, even the dominion of nothing, of hopelessness and unbearableness, must know its bounds.

I can say this with considerable authority because, you see, I dwelt long in that Void myself; and here on the other side, I know now that there is an end to its reach.

Circumscribing that chill, grey dying-place of despair; beyond the formless labyrinth where there is ‘no taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower’; beyond the legions that besiege the City, beyond the martial rain of horror and fire and delight in death, beyond the Orc-trenches filled with the corpses of the dispensable, beyond the dread sorties of the Winged Nazgul – in short, beyond the reach of every weapon that the Enemy can wield, there are other creatures and other places and other purposes.

~~~

Now at last [Frodo and Sam] turned their faces to the Mountain and set out, thinking no more of concealment, bending their weariness and failing wills only to the one task of going on…But as the day wore on and all too soon the dim light began to fail, Frodo stooped again, and began to stagger…At their last halt he sank down and said: ‘I’m thirsty, Sam,’ and did not speak again. Sam gave him a mouthful of water; only one more mouthful remained...


[Sam] could not sleep and he held a debate with himself. ‘Well, come now, we’ve done better than you hoped,’ he said sturdily. ‘Began well, anyway. I reckon we crossed half the distance before we stopped. One more day will do it.’ And then he paused.

‘Don’t be a fool, Sam Gamgee,’ came an answer in his own voice. ‘He won’t go another day like that, if he moves at all. And you can’t go on much longer giving him all the water and most of the food.’

‘I can go on a good way though, and I will.’

‘Where to?’

‘To the Mountain, of course.’

‘But what then, Sam Gamgee, what then? When you get there, what are you going to do? He won’t be able to do anything for himself.’

To his dismay, Sam realized that he had not got an answer to this. He had no clear idea at all. Frodo had not spoken to him much of his errand, and Sam only knew vaguely that the Ring had somehow to be put in the fire. ‘The Cracks of Doom,’ he muttered, the old name rising to his mind. “Well, if Master knows how to find them, I don’t.’

‘There you are!’ came the answer. ‘It’s all quite useless. He said so himself. You are the fool, going on hoping and toiling. You could have lain down and gone to sleep together days ago, if you hadn’t been so dogged. But you’ll die just the same, or worse. You might just as well lie down and give it up. You’ll never get to the top anyway.’
~~~

Even as the Steward of Gondor is rejecting death with honor, preferring instead his own will and his own sight and his own knowing of good and of evil, from the Golden Hall the two-who-are-not-men come in concealment astride their shared steed. On the Anduin, hidden as yet behind the ominous black sails swelling northward to the City, a great furled standard approaches, bannered destiny writ with the White Tree and the Seven Stars and the high crown of kings, and borne by the one to whom alone sovereignty belongs: he who was named Elessar. And - not least, not least, not least at all - sick with suffering, the halfling great-hearts whom Denethor would scorn as the witless fools of a witless Fool creep faithful unto death to drink of the poisoned Mordor-cup that is their lot.

~~~

Frodo groaned but with a great effort of will he staggered up; and then he fell on his knees again. He raised his eyes with difficulty to the dark slopes of Mount Doom towering above him, and pitifully he began to crawl forward on his hands.

Sam looked at him and wept in his heart, but no tears came to his dry and stinging eyes. ‘I said I’d carry him if it broke my back,’ he muttered, ‘and I will!’

‘Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you…’
~~~

Encouraging or facilitating the death of someone who above all things needs to be carried into light and warmth and reassurance is a despicably callous act. To call it mercy is to deal in arrogance and the utter mockery of grace, the spurning of individual worth and redemption.

It is also an impertinent attempt to deafen people to the Word-who-was-made-flesh, the Man of Sorrows who would sing the patient sufferings of ephemerals into the Eternal music, thus binding forever, in the mending of the world, the lays of mortal men to the imperishable evensong of Love.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Morgul Vale: March 12, 2005

In defence of Terri Schiavo, I will treat my readers to some excerpts from Henry Friedlander’s The Origins of Nazi Genocide (Chapel Hill, 1995).

By way of laying the groundwork, however, let us start with a few paragraphs from The Two Towers.

Led by the treacherous Gollum, Frodo and Sam are seeking the hidden way into Mordor, the pass of Cirith Ungol:

Frodo’s head was bowed; his burden was dragging him down again. As soon as the great Crossroads had been passed, the weight of it, almost forgotten in Ithilien, had begun to grow once more. Now, feeling the way become steep before his feet, he looked wearily up; and then he saw it, even as Gollum had said that he would: the city of the Ringwraiths. He cowered against the stony bank.

A long-tilted valley, a deep gulf of shadow, ran back far into the mountains. Upon the further side, some way within the valley’s arms, high on a rocky seat upon the black knees of the Ephel Dúath, stood the walls and tower of Minas Morgul. All was dark about it, earth and sky, but it was lit with light. Not the imprisoned moonlight welling through the marble walls of Minas Ithil long ago, Tower of the Moon, fair and radiant in the hollow of the hills. Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, a light that illuminated nothing. In the walls and tower windows showed, like countless black holes looking inward into emptiness; but the topmost course of the tower revolved slowly, first one way and then another, a huge ghostly head leering into the night. For a moment the three companions stood there, shrinking, staring up with unwilling eyes…

So they came slowly to the white bridge. Here the road, gleaming faintly, passed over the stream in the midst of the valley, and went on, winding deviously up towards the city’s gate: a black mouth opening in the outer circle of the northward walls. Wide flats lay on either bank, shadowy meads filled with pale white flowers. Luminous these were too, beautiful and yet horrible of shape, like the demented forms in an uneasy dream; and they gave forth a faint sickening charnel-smell; an odour of rottenness filled the air. From mead to mead the bridge sprang. Figures stood there at its head, carven with cunning in forms human and bestial, but all corrupt and loathsome. The water flowing beneath was silent, and it steamed, but the vapour that rose from it, curling and twisting about the bridge, was deadly cold.
~~~

Now, it is a no-no in better blogging circles to refer to one’s opponents as Nazis, for the simple reason – among others – that facile Hitler comparisons bleed dry the proper expression and understanding of what the Third Reich was actually like. If you bung accusations of Nazi-hood liberally about in careless spitefulness, then what words will you find to describe the deepest, darkest evils, the nightmare Mordor-lands that burn every life that strays into them (whether of perpetrator or victim) to bitter ash?

So I do not call the Euthenasia-pushers Nazis. But I do not speak carelessly when I say that they have set up housekeeping in a perilous Morgul-vale, where even the night-blooming blossoms cast poison upon the air—for the ideology that animates Terri Schiavo’s killers-to-be is rooted in the same soil that nurtured and eventually gave birth to the genocidal philosophies of the Third Reich.

Origins, chapter one, page 1:

The growing importance of the biological sciences in the nineteenth century, following the discoveries of Charles Darwin, led most scientists to advance theories of human inequality as matters of scientific fact.
Pages 6-7:

Viewed from our vantage point, eugenic research during the first half of the twentieth century was seriously flawed…It is not correct, however, to label the scientific research of eugenicists as pseudoscientific…By the scientific standards of the time, eugenic research was on the cutting edge of science. Its practitioners were respected scholars from various scientific disciplines who occupied important positions in major universities and published their results in major scholarly journals. Their research tools were the most advanced available at the time, and the prided themselves on applying them meticulously…In their time, the results obtained by eugenicists were generally accepted by the scientific community, and only the discovery of DNA after World War II provided the tools to prove that their research conclusions had been faulty. Even the eugenic research conducted in Germany—as well as other places—which violated all ethical standards in its use of unprincipled methods, did not violate the canon of science.
In other words, Eugenics - and its cuddly death-mate Euthanasia - is a perfectly logical extension of “survival of the fittest.”

Pages 14-15:

...As early as 1920, two eminent scholars proposed the most radical solution to the problem posed by institutionalized handicapped patients in Germany. In that year, Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche published a polemical work entitled Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens [Authorization for the destruction of life unworthy of life.] Karl Binding, a widely published legal scholar who died just before the book appeared, argue that the law should permit the killing of “incurable feebleminded” individuals. Alfred Hoche, a psychiatrist and specialist in neuropathology, analyzed Binding‘s arguments from a “medical perspective.” Both men lived in Freiburg, a city that was also the center of the Nordic wing of the race hygiene movement. Hoche was a professor at Frieburg University, and Binding, who had taught at Leipzig, had retired in Freiburg. Both Binding and Hoche were right-wing nationalists who rejected individual rights and championed the rights of the national community.

Binding argued that suicide, which he labeled a “human right,” should not be unlawful. He also maintained that euthanasia, that is, assisted suicide, should not be penalized, referring to the desire for assisted suicide of many terminal cancer patients who receive from their physicians a “deadly injection of morphine” and die “without pain, perhaps also faster, but possibly only after a somewhat longer time.”

The discussion of suicide and terminal cancer patients was ancillary to Binding’s main concern. His polemic focused on the fate of individuals considered “unworthy of life [lebensunwert],” which could mean both individuals whose lives were no longer worth living because of pain and incapacity and individuals who were considered so inferior that their lives could be labeled unworthy. He used the argument that the terminally ill deserved the right to a relatively painless death to justify the murder of those considered inferior. Binding and all subsequent proponents of his argument consciously confused the discussion by pointing to the suicide rights of terminal cancer patients facing a certain and painful death when in reality they wanted to “destroy” the “unworthy life” of healthy but “degenerate” individuals.

Binding’s definition of unworthy life was not very precise, but he did make it clear that he referred to inferiors who should be killed even if they could live painlessly for many years. He added a new criteria when he asserted that whether a life was worth living was determined not only by its worth to the individual but also by its worth to society. Emphasizing in a footnote that millions had given their lives for their fatherland during the world war, Binding made the following point to underline his argument: “If one thinks of a battlefield covered with thousands of dead youth…and contrasts this with our institutions for the feebleminded [Idioteninstitute] with their solicitude for their living patients—then one would be deeply shocked by the glaring disjunction between the sacrifice of the most valuable possession of humanity on the one side and on the other the greatest care of beings who are not only worthless but even manifest negative value.” Binding’s comparison of the death of worthy individuals in the service of their nation and the survival of pampered inferiors was a staple of eugenic argumentation and, as we have seen, mirrored the argument in favor of sterilization advanced by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Describing the individuals whose lives were unworthy of life as suffering from “incurable feeblemindedness,” Binding argued that their lives were “without purpose” and imposed a “terribly difficult burden” on both relatives and society. Although they had no value, the care of such individuals, Binding argued, occupied an entire profession of healthy individuals, which was a total misappropriation of valuable le human resources. Alfred Hoche fully supported his coauthor’s argument. Hoche offered a variety of definitions of unworthy life, such as, for example, incurable mental retardation or incurable feeblemindedness, but he did not hesitate to use the popular term “Ballastexistenzen,” that is, beings who are nothing but ballast that can be jettisoned. He also advanced a utilitarian argument, bemoaning the loss of “national resources” for “nonproductive purposes,” concluding that “it is a distressing idea that entire generations of nurses shall vegetate next to such empty human shells [leeren Menschenhülsen], many of who will live to be seventy years or even older.”
~~~

For those who carry a Ring of lifelong disability, the years can exact a wearisome toll of sorrow and pain, a toll that drains our days of much of their former joy. It’s not an easy thing to be a burden, even when those who shoulder it do so in love and faithfulness.

But if the more incapacitated – the Terri Schiavos in hospitals and hospices - are required to submit to being starved of food and water unto death, then what of the rest of us? Are we too hindrances, parasites, millstones around the neck of society—leeches sucking our families and communities dry? Do we have a duty to die so that resources can go to serve lives considered of more value? Do we have a duty to demand death so that our husbands and wives and children can get on with the good times without cripples to slow them down?

We humans must each one bear our given Ring to the Fire. For some of us, that Ring is physical weakness that leaves us unable to work and play as once we did when we were young and full of life and energy and strength. Like Frodo, we find that our burden weighs hard upon us, and we know that it weighs hard upon our loved ones also.

For they, too, must bear a heavy Ring.

~~~

When you and I in our long journeys between birth and death come at last to our steep, cold Morgul-stair, seeking the way to bear our Rings through to the ordained end, will we find that the pass is guarded by the Enemy’s hidden servants, by as yet unseen demons and monsters - or will we look anxiously upon that death-lit dwelling-place of Night and find that the windows are not barren black holes looking inward upon emptiness, but rather that we see peering from them the faces of lovers and friends?

 

Link this

"Symbolic Support" Update: Care Packages for Terri

Alert archived, more here.

 

Link this

Of Liberalism

“Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure?”


Eric Cohen, How Liberalism Failed Terri Schiavo:
" A true adherence to procedural liberalism --respecting a person's clear wishes when they can be discovered, erring on the side of life when they cannot--would have led to a much better outcome in this case. It would have led the court to preserve Terri Schiavo's life and deny Michael Schiavo's request to let her die. But as we have learned, the descent from procedural liberalism's respect for a person's wishes to ideological liberalism's lack of respect for incapacitated persons is relatively swift. Treating autonomy as an absolute makes a person's dignity turn entirely on his or her capacity to act autonomously. It leads to the view that only those with the ability to express their will possess any dignity at all--everyone else is "life unworthy of life."

"This is what ideological liberalism now seems to believe--whether in regard to early human embryos, or late-stage dementia patients, or fetuses with Down syndrome. And in the end, the Schiavo case is just one more act in modern liberalism's betrayal of the vulnerable people it once claimed to speak for. Instead of sympathizing with Terri Schiavo--a disabled woman, abandoned by her husband, seen by many as a burden on society--modern liberalism now sympathizes with Michael Schiavo, a healthy man seeking freedom from the burden of his disabled wife and self-fulfillment in the arms of another…

"In the end, the only alternative is a renewed understanding of both the family and human equality--two things ideological liberalism has now abandoned and modern conservatism now defends…”

“The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful. For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry; and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.”

 

Link this

Of Governors and Presidents

“Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.” –G.K. Chesterton

And by being intimidated by judiciary Nazgûl when you have the executive power to defend the life of a innocent.

 

Link this

I Took My Courage in My Teeth

...to keep it from turning tail and bolting for cover.

I've never filed a formal abuse complaint before and, let me tell you, I'm still quivering. But I did it, so whatever happens, I can sleep at night.

1-800-96-ABUSE: That's the hotline to the Florida Department of Children and Families. Call them now. Tell them that there is a 41-year old woman being held hostage by her husband and that he is depriving her of food and water and that she is near death. She is at Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park. Do it.

 

Link this

Thursday, March 24, 2005

This Was Legal

This is a scan I made of the original, authentic family document which is in my possession, c. 1828. My maiden name is Stallings.


The judiciary—with only a few unavailing exceptions—from Greer to the Supreme Court, have decreed the same. Whether by commission or omission, they agree: it is legal to starve a human being to death, no exceptions, no mercy, no nothing.

Which side are you on?

 

Link this

National Call for Action: Candles for Terri

Update: Call Florida Governor Jeb Bush NOW.

Alert and Call to Action archived.

 

Link this

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Ethics of Barad-dûr

When my brother was dying in an ICU room and a doctor and a nurse cornered me and pressured me to unplug him from the respirator, I was informed that the process involved was to take him off the paralytics that were preventing him from fighting the respirator so that he would be able to breath on his own. Then they would switch it off.

Of course, once they cut the paralytics, then he would start fighting the respirator, right back in the same psychotic hell that was killing him in the first place.

If that wasn't the case, then why was he on the paralytics?

So I asked them: why can't you switch off the respirator while he's like this, unaware, oblivious?

The answer? "That would be legally murder."

That's "ethics" for you.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

 

Link this

Hung Be the Heavens With Judicial Black

The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air.

The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them. She was the universe.



Byron

 

Link this

The Foreseeing

From the ancient writings of the Hebrew prophets come the riddles of the seer:

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
And from 2000 years ago, the answer:
And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified him.
This is my question for him:


When did you understand?
Which breath drew knowing harshly in
And gave it flesh and bone and skin,
And sped your heart to beat in sudden dread on ebon wings?

When did you first perceive?
Was it a thought, a waking sight?
Or telling dream come in the night
With ancient words that spoke to you of dark and fearful things?

When did you see?

When did you bow your head?
And cup the truth in gentle hands
To drink like salt and desert sands,
And trade for cold, black winter
All your summers and your springs.

~~~

One of his lambs is dying.

 

Link this

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

True Life Passion Play

There are no devils left in hell; they are all in Florida.

(Great minds think alike.)

And another tidbit:

The Faithless Lover

 

Link this

The Light of Men

Lest I give the reader of my previous post the impression that I consider the “mercy-killers” damned for all eternity, let me assure you that I do not.

To the day of their deaths, they have the freedom to turn back, to recant their lies and rebellion and cast away their love of darkness, to plead for Light. I personally don’t think there could be any greater punishment for that unholy trinity—Felos, Greer and Schiavo—than to have their hearts and minds opened by God Almighty to what they are doing and have done.

(And I don't mean a convenient death-bed retraction; I mean wells of bitter sorrow overflowing in true anguish of repentence. Believe me, God can tell the difference.)

In that instant, they would desire death - but Love, in both sternness and pity, would offer forgiveness. Pray God that it will be in time to save Terri’s life.

~~~

We humans are not condemned to walk always in shadow. There is high beauty forever beyond the reach of that shrouded land. It will lead us safe home if we will but turn and look up with conscience-stricken hearts.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last…I am the bright and morning star.”

Two thousand years ago, an innocent walked steadfast into the belly of Mount Doom. His tale ended a little differently than Frodo’s, for Frodo is but an ephemeral type: Jesus of Nazareth was the reality and the Ring had no power over him.

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?

But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.


~~~

At the same time, we must hold this in mind, too:

Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment...

And this:

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

And this:

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh: for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.

~~~

And yet, as long as there is breath, there is hope. For Terri - and for them all.

 

Link this

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."

Update 3: TERRI STARVING: JUST "PART OF THE DEATH PROCESS"

Death-process. I think I missed that one.

 

Link this

Monday, March 21, 2005

A Ranger of the North

David Bass (his brother runs TolkienMovies) has had several excellent articles published at WorldNetDaily about Terri Schiavo. (I've known his parents for twenty-five years and so I take an interest in their sons' accomplishments.) I encourage you to read them.

Judicial Terrorism
It's Your Turn, Mr. President
Judicial Homicide
End the Charade, Michael Schiavo
Supreme Ignorance
Floridians: Show Judge Greer the Door!
Schiavo Lawyer: New Age Mystic

 

Link this

On the Pelennor Fields

And so the vigil continues.

I, of course, don’t know which way Judge Whittemore will decide, but I do know this: if God is for Terri, no one can prevail against her.

The Riders of Rohan swept onto the battlefield yesterday and last night in the wee hours, come swift at the last perilous second to ride down the Orc-legions of the Enemy and break the siege of Minas Tirith. Now we wait to see if the black ships carry friend or foe.

We don’t know Heaven’s will. We can only walk in faith and trust and unyielding courage. But this one thing we can know here in this Easter week: no matter the outcome of Terri’s case, today or in the days to come, it is but a battle in a greater war - one that the Enemy cannot win.

Because Love triumphed in that war long, long ago.


The Black Gate


A circling crowded host is spread upon the vast and martial plain:
The legions of the Enemy draw nigh,
Drunk with the honeyed gall of hate and nourished to a heart profane,
Enslaved by Night to Mordor’s will beneath the Window of the Eye.

If out from deep Abyss could storm be poured from vintage stores of rage,
New roil of death from ancient evil flow,
Spill Nothing down upon the world, make null this frail and mortal Age,
Begrudging e’en the breath a man might in his dying moment know:

Such End as that is what the Night would bring, if none but we remained
Beneath this wing-belabored, cloud-wracked sky;
If swords of men, though bright and keen, were left to us our only friend,
The walls of hearth and home behind would soon forever broken lie.

But out of Time and Time beyond the measured riddles of our days,
Tomorrow and Tomorrow’s long-ago,
The sternness and the tenderness of Love’s sweet-temp’ring, gentle grace
In secret binds the prison chains upon the Once and Never Foe.

The ramparts of that Shadow, black and cold, will ne’er again be found;
The stones will shiver, each his ending flee.
The earth herself her mouth will open wide, e’en as they tumble down
Into a ruin great as that which brought the bending of the Sea.

Though high against the hidden stars stand yet the towers of the Night,
And lean with hateful gaze unto the West,
Swift-shattered, they shall vanish in the turning of the world to Light,
And in their fall the earth will as the gardens of the Shire be blessed.

Cry sad lament for Innocence, for Love who took the shrouded Road,
Left bright of sun and pale of moon behind.
For grief exchanged he cheer and mirth, embraced the bitter doom forbode;
Yet in his sorrow shall the world a fount of summer gladness find.

And those of hearts wherein the beauteous hymn of trembling starlight dwells
Will see the Night bereft of hate’s desire:
For by that promise silver-clear like sweetly ringing Elven-bells
—Each step endured by Love—
The Ring draws ever nearer to the Fire.

~~~

 

Link this

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Exterminate! Exterminate!

Let’s have some more lovely excerpts about that splendid Empire of Efficiency known as the Third Reich: just the thing to brighten your Sunday afternoon. (We live to serve.)

(bold mine)

p. 22
The euthanasia killings—that is, the “systematic and secret execution” of the handicapped—were Nazi Germany’s first organized mass murder, in which the killers developed their killing techniques…The euthanasia killings proved to be the opening act of Nazi genocide. The mass murder of the handicapped preceded that of Jews and Gypsies; the final solution followed euthanasia. In euthanasia, the perpetrators recognized their limitations and, to avoid popular disapproval, transferred the killings from the Reich to the East. No substantive difference existed, however, between the killing operations directed against the handicapped, Jews, and Gypsies. The killing technique that had been developed and tested in euthanasia was used again and again. The killers who learned their trade in the euthanasia killing centers of Brandenburg, Grafeneck, Hartheim, Sonnenstein, Bernburg, and Hadamar also staffed the killing centers at Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. The instigators had learned that individuals selected at random would carry out terrible crimes “without scruples.”
Niiiice!

p. 57-58
Although most Reich Committee children were obviously not suffering painful or terminal diseases, the killers defended their actions on the ground that their conditions were debilitating and incurable. The disabilities that had to be reported were indeed serious physical ailments. They included neurological disorders and physical deformities considered incurable and hereditary by the standards of medical knowledge at that time…The Reich Committee children were killed because they did not fit into the projected future German society.
Well, they weren't any use, were they?

And my favorite - a nice tidbit to shed a little light onto the “separation of powers” technicality arguments that are making the rounds in the media today:

p. 172
At times, approving relatives threw the (euthanasia) bureaucracy into consternation. Marie Kehr of Nuremberg wrote to the Sonnenstein killing center about the death of her two sisters. She suspected that their simultaneous deaths at Sonnenstein were not a coincidence and wanted to know whether the killing of her sisters was legal: “I can only find peace if I could be certain that a law of the Reich enables the release of human beings from their incurable ailments.” The Sonnenstein director, Horst Schumann, was not certain how to respond and wrote for advice to Werner Heyde, who then consulted with others. One month later, Herbert Linden of the RMdI wrote to the Nuremberg Nazi party regional office about this case, asking that they verbally answer Marie Kehr’s question, but only “if K. is politically unobjectionable and has no church ties.” Ten days later, the Nuremberg office wrote Linden that Kehr and her brother-in-law had been informed.”

Well, then! If it’s legal, what’s all the fuss about?

 

Link this

A Knife in the Dark

From Blogs for Terri– please pass this on.

Urgent Update:

Alert archived: more here.

~~~

I now return you to my regularly scheduled ranting:

This is the argument that the delightful Congressman Blumenauer is making:
“…the measure is immoral because Schiavo made it clear to her husband that she would not want to live in a vegetative state.”
There’s considerable disagreement about whether Terri ever did make such a statement: the principle witness for the prosecution—her repellent husband—is the same one who is living with his mistress and their two children. (The children are blameless, by the way. Though I suspect that they're going to need some serious counseling at some future stage of their lives. Why on earth would a loving father damn his children to have to live with something like this?)

Mr. Schiavo’s statements to that effect are what is called in legal circles “hearsay.”

Let me draw the reader’s attention to this story. It’s an old one, this particular tale of execution by hearsay, but none the less pertinent for that.

Secondly, for those who may have missed it, here is an object lesson in the perils of euthanizing people based on casual remarks, which I will repeat here for your convenience:
My brother’s near-death experience with acute respiratory failure, i.e. ARDS (read his story) began with a visit to the emergency room due to what appeared to be severe bronchitis. He didn’t want to go to the hospital, but a friend bullied him into it, fortunately, because he was already there when the ARDS hit, thus saving precious time.

One of the ICU nurses – a very nice man named Michael, oddly enough – told me later that it had been a struggle to get my brother on the respirator. He kept yelling at the nurses to let him die and he had the strength of the temporarily demented.

Now if my brother had had a wife who was bent on killing him, all she would have needed was George Felos and Judge Greer and she’d have been in business: “He said he wanted to die! You heard him! You heard him!” And they would nod solemnly and that would be that. Respirator switched off.

Fortunately, he had a sister and a brother-in-law to stand his back. And that is why he is alive today.

A few weeks after my brother began his delayed recovery from lung failure, he was fitted for a plug for his tracheostomy so that he could talk. His memory was still very faulty, both short-term and long-term, but there came a day when I felt it was time to tell him something of what had occurred. So I did, and when I got to the part where the doctor had wanted me to let him die, my brother piped up angrily:

“That’s when you tell ‘em to go to hell!”
Indeed.

 

Link this

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Critically Urgent Action Needed to Save Terri

Terri Schindler-Schiavo's Feeding Tube was removed yesterday, Friday, March 18th.

Archived: more here.

 

Link this

Friday, March 18, 2005

Thirty Pieces of Silver

Has anyone thought to offer Michael Schiavo thirty pieces of silver? Maybe that’s what he’s holding out for.

(I’ve got a few silver dollars I could donate toward the collection. Old dimes and quarters will do, too. Anybody up for it? There's an email address on the Essays page.)

~~~

I am not pleased with what I heard on Fox News this afternoon. They are not paying attention.

Blogs for Terri points out some flaws in Shepard Smith’s misinformed remarks on Terri’s condition.

Doctors are not infallible. We like to think that they are, because when we’re seriously ill, we want help from demi-gods – not mere humans.

A distressing number of reporters and newscasters seem to know little about Terri’s case apart from what they’ve read in their Cliffs Notes. Almost automatically, they chant the mantra of all the appeals and reviews and opportunities that Terri’s parents have had, and nobody seems to want to stop and say, “What if the ‘facts’ used in the judgments aren’t facts?”

Instead, we get the same old refrain, like an endlessly repeated dirge from a vending machine: drop a quarter in and listen, drop another quarter in and listen again, drop another quarter and another and another and another, over and over and over again.

It’s like a demented country song:
She’s a mindless cauliflower with old broccoli for a brain
She’s a-droolin’ and she doesn’t know her name.
She’s as dumb as a potater
Or a shiny red tomater,
And she’ll never, never think a thought agaaaaiiinnnnn.

I may not have a string of letters beside my name, but I do know that if you aim a rocket at the moon and have just one wee tiny error in your calculations, by the time that rocket gets to the moon’s orbit, it’s going to miss the target by quite a few miles.

There are many large errors in the equation that is the Cliffs Notes version of Terri’s condition.

~~~

My brother’s near-death experience with acute respiratory failure, i.e. ARDS (see story below) began with a visit to the emergency room due to what appeared to be severe bronchitis. He didn’t want to go to the hospital, but a friend bullied him into it, fortunately, because he was already there when the ARDS hit, thus saving precious time.

One of the ICU nurses – a very nice man named Michael, oddly enough – told me later that it had been a struggle to get my brother on the respirator. He kept yelling at the nurses to let him die and he had the strength of the temporarily demented.

Now if my brother had had a wife who was bent on killing him, all she would have needed was George Felos and Judge Greer and she’d have been in business: “He said he wanted to die! You heard him! You heard him!” And they would nod solemnly and that would be that. Respirator switched off.

Fortunately, he had a sister and a brother-in-law to stand his back. And that is why he is alive today.

A few weeks after my brother began his delayed recovery from lung failure, he was fitted for a plug for his tracheostomy so that he could talk. His memory was still very faulty, both short-term and long-term, but there came a day when I felt it was time to tell him something of what had occurred. So I did, and when I got to the part where the doctor had wanted me to let him die, my brother piped up angrily:

“That’s when you tell ‘em to go to hell!”

I wonder what Terri would say if they’d let her talk?


Update: Blogs for Terri has an interesting personal tale regarding Terri, which also points out the media problem I reference above:
I had to share some of these facts - the news never really reports the truth nowadays. Each day, our local news stations continue to refer to Terri as in a vegetative coma and it infuriates me. Not one journalist, not the local TV news nor the big stations, Larry King, Barbara Walters, etc., has thoroughly sleuthed out all the facts, even the ones I described here, and reported them to the public.

I cannot help but mention to all of you reading this - with so little truth being reported on this case . Do you really think you are getting the truth about everything and that Terri's case is an isolated incident of lies and deceit and poor reporting?


Update 2: Killed because their lives are not worth living.

 

Link this

Thursday, March 17, 2005

"She’d be better off if she were a terrorist."

From National Review Online: Torturing Terri Schiavo
“What kind of law is it, what kind of society is it, that says the lives of Khalfan Khamis Mohammed and Mohammed Daoud al-`Owhali’s have value — over which we must anguish and for the sustenance of which we must expend tens of thousands annually — but Terri Schiavo’s is readily dispensable? By court-ordered torture over the wrenching pleas of parents ready and willing to care for her?

“What kind of society goes into a lather over the imposition of bright lights and stress positions for barbarians who might have information that will save lives, but yawns while a defenseless woman who hasn’t hurt anyone is willfully starved and dehydrated? By a court — the bulwark purportedly protecting our right to life?

“The torture starts Friday, at 1 P.M. Unless we do something to stop it.”

 

Link this

Terri Schiavo: A Concise Reference

Paul Diegnan provides an aggregator for precise information on the Terri Schiavo case (via Blogs for Terri ).

 

Link this

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ash Nazg Durbatulûk

National Review Online: Starving for a Fair Diagnosis

"Many people believe that Terri Schiavo has had “the best of care,” and that everything has been tried by way of rehabilitation. This belief is false...

...Terri’s diagnosis was arrived at without the benefit of testing that most neurologists would consider standard for diagnosing PVS. One such test is MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)...Terri has never had one. Michael has repeatedly refused to consent to one. The neurologists I have spoken to have reacted with shock upon learning this fact. One such neurologist is Dr. Peter Morin. He is a researcher specializing in degenerative brain diseases, and has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University.

In the course of my conversation with Dr. Morin, he made reference to the standard use of MRI and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to diagnose the extent of brain injuries. He seemed to assume that these had been done for Terri. I stopped him and told him that these tests have never been done for her; that Michael had refused them.

There was a moment of dead silence.

'That’s criminal,' he said, and then asked, in a tone of utter incredulity: 'How can he continue as guardian? People are deliberating over this woman’s life and death and there’s been no MRI or PET?' He drew a reasonable conclusion: 'These people [Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer] don’t want the information.'"


Read it all.


Update: Troops of Devils, Mad with Blasphemy

Excerpt from ABC's transcript of Michael Schiavo's remarks on Nightline last night. Bold mine.

BURY: Your wife's family and their supporters have been arguing in the most graphic terms that what you are going to allow happen on Friday, in their words, is in effect condemning your wife to a cruel death by starvation.

I'd like you to address that charge from them.


SCHIAVO: That's one of their soapboxes they've been on for a long time.

Terry will not be starved to death. Her nutrition and hydration will be taken away.


If that isn't the Black Speech from Hell, I don't know what is.

 

Link this

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Marshmallows for Terri

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

 

Link this

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Least of My Brothers

"Like the film critic who wondered why the future king would waste time on a couple of useless hobbits when he could follow fortune and glory, we forget that lost lambs as well as kings may have parts to play in God’s world, and that denying the “least of my brothers” the dignity of a chance may well deprive the world of a saviour."

For the benefit of any new readers coming in through the front door, so to speak, I republish here a true story of how a "lost lamb" saved another's life.

My brother went into acute respiratory failure a year ago September at forty-five years old. By the time I got the phone call, he was on a respirator in the ICU of a small hospital several hours from my home. Think SARS without the contagious aspect and you’ll get some idea of what condition he was in: as the Merck site puts it, 'the survival rate for patients with severe ARDS who receive appropriate treatment is about 60%; if the severe hypoxemia of ARDS is not recognized and treated, cardiopulmonary arrest occurs in 90% of patients.'

There was the usual story: long drives, long nights, phone ringing at any old hour - “You’d better come and do you want us to resuscitate if his heart stops before you get here?” - that sort of thing, but he kept reviving despite every expectation to the contrary. There began to be a little hope, if only the ICU staff could get him off the sedatives long enough to wean him off the respirator. But you can’t wean someone on a respirator off sedatives if he’s in the full grip of an ICU psychosis. Every time they tried, he’d wake up just enough that it took most of the staff to keep him in the bed. Whatever world he was in wasn’t a nice one, and the exertion of having a knock-down-drag-out with the nurses would then send his oxygen levels plummeting and I’d get another phone call.

But he kept living and by the time a month had passed, they’d figured out the right combination of anti-psychotics and he had begun to respond a little – the right way, I mean. So we began to think he might make it. That’s when I made a major mistake and had him transferred to the ICU of a hospital only 45 minutes away instead of three hours. A TEACHING hospital, mind you.

To trim an extremely long tale, something somewhere got dropped, anti-psychotic-wise, and by the end of that first week in the new hospital a doctor ambushed me and informed me my brother was going to die anyway, so I should let him 'die with dignity'. There were other things factoring into her opinions, but the main thing was that they couldn't get him off the paralytic they had him on because as soon as he'd start to wake up, he'd go into a psychotic episode and that would start him crashing again. So they needed my permission to bring him off the paralytic long enough for him to be able to breath on his own, then they’d pull the life-support. Otherwise, it would be legally murder.

What 'dignity' had to do with somebody suffocating to death, I failed to see, but the ambush took me utterly by surprise. I tried to tell them what the other hospital had done and how he had been improving when this hospital got him, but it was to no avail - he had blood clots now and probably had brain-damage from all the crashing and he was probably having seizures, and blah, blah, blah. I, being of a somewhat timid nature, meekly left the ICU intending to come back the next day to see him taken off life-support and we came home and started calling relatives.

It took a while, but finally by late that night, my brain had kicked in along with a lot of pent-up rage over recent events in the news*, until I was practically glowing in the dark, I was so furious, and I expressed that fury in a blunt letter to the lot of them, which my husband dutifully delivered by hand early the next morning. ("If you can make him comfortable enough to die, why can't you make him comfortable enough to live?" "We can always kill him later; we can't resurrect him.") This was not enough to sate the newly savage Baillie, however, and so the nurses got an earful when I got to the hospital, which resulted in a long discussion in the meeting room.

So they put him on the anti-psychotics he should have been on all along, in a week or so he was transferred out of the ICU to Intermediate. This, of course, meant a whole new string of doctors, and the “What will his QUALITY of life be?” business to endure, but it was just tough cookies. One or the other of us showed up there every day, right on through Christmas, and he got off oxygen and then he had his trach-tube removed and started eating again and went to physical therapy and one January day, lo and behold, he went home. Wobbly, frail, confused, forgetful, but home.

Two months later he was buying books and shopping at Walmart. He’ll be on a lot of medicine for the rest of his life, but that’s a minor detail. And the reference to the news*? If I hadn't been seething for weeks over the attempted murder of Terry Schiavo, my brother would now be ashes.



The original (expanded) is here.

More Tolkien-flavored bloggy-rants about euthanasia in general and Terri in particular below on the main page here, and also here and here.

Terri’s Fight

Blogs for Terri

Up-to-the-minute action info here:

 

Link this

Sunday, March 13, 2005

When the Cold of Winter Comes


“We will not leave Merry and Pippin to torment and death – not while we have strength!”

Aragorn, The Fellowship of the Ring


~~~

The Deciding


I stand upon a western shore, my path is shadow-dim;
The Bearer’s kin are taken by an evil band and grim.
To Minas Tirith, lady-white, ‘tis charged to me to go,
But shall I leave the little ones to drink a bitter woe?
Yet humble is their battle-might that they could serve the West,
While the city of my blood and bone is by the darkness pressed.

The one road of our Fellowship is sundered into three,
And of the Nine but two remain in company with me.
Three slender boats of Elven-make we rode upon the wave,
But one has borne a warrior unto his Rauros-grave;
We gave him to the River and our hearts were cold and numb,
And the water throbbing, throbbing like the pounding of a drum.

Upon the lake’s far eastern side, the second craft lies still,
Her oarsmen vanished in the wood that climbs the steepling hill.
And could I read the footprints there, they’d speak of halfling folk;
The Bearer found his courage to endure the heavy yoke.
But closer than a brother is a true and loving friend,
Thus faithfulness companions him, death-loyal to the end.

Tomorrow calls from Gondor’s gates beyond the hills afar,
And there my feet must turn if I would find the evening star;
But if I set my heart and sword to seeking my desire
And leave them to a fate malign, these children of the Shire,
Though of the folk of Middle-Earth the least of them they be,
No kingdom will be fair and sweet if they are lost to me.


~~~


“Not long after Terri's injury, Michael melted down her wedding and engagement rings to make a ring for himself.”

It's ours, ours! We must get the Precious, we must get it back!

Gollum, The Return of the King


~~~


The Origins of Nazi Genocide


Chapter 3, p. 39

The attack on handicapped patients in state hospitals and nursing homes had opened in 1933 with sterilization and a reduced standard of care. But this was only the beginning. In 1935 Adolf Hitler told Gerhard Wagner, the Reich physician leader, that once war began he would implement euthanasia. He kept his word. When war started on 1 September 1939, the machinery to kill the handicapped was in place and the killings began. And just as the sterilization legislation enacted against the handicapped was followed by that enacted against Jews and Gypsies, the murder of the handicapped would be followed by the murder of Jews and Gypsies.

First came the murder of handicapped children. In 1938 the newly born infant of a family named Knauer served as the pretext for Hitler to set in motion the program of euthanasia he had intended to institute. The Knauer baby, sex unknown, was apparently born with severe handicaps. The exact nature of its affliction cannot be reconstructed with certainty, by testimony does seem to agree that it was born with a leg and part of an arm missing. Some evidence suggests that it was also blind, and the physicians also diagnosed it as an “idiot.” But its blindness was not noted by all observers, and the diagnosis “idiot” was not definite. In addition, the baby apparently suffered from convulsions.

The child’s father consulted Werner Catel, the director of the Leipzig University Children’s Clinic, and asked him to admit the infant. Catel, who admitted the child to the hospital, later claimed that the father request that he kill the child and that he refused because this was against the law. Shortly thereafter, the Knauer family appealed to Hitler to grant permission to have the infant killed. Such appeals reached Hitler through his private chancellery, where similar appeals had already been collected. This Chancellery of the Führer (Kanzlei des Führers, or KdF), headed by Philipp Bouhler, prepared the information for Hitler, who decided to act in the Knauer case. He instructed his escorting physician (Begleitarzt), Karl Brandt, to visit the Knauer infant, consult with the Leipzig physicians, and kill the child if his diagnosis agreed with the conditions outlined in the appeal. In Leipzig, Brandt consulted with the attending physicians, confirmed the diagnosis, and authorized euthanasia; the baby was killed.

After the killing of the Knauer infant, Hitler authorized Brandt and Bouhler to institute a program of killing children suffering from physical or mental defects…


p.48

The killing system depended on the cooperation of bureaucrats, physicians, and parents…As the system of reporting and evaluating disabled children commenced, the need to establish and staff additional killing was became urgent…

…Eventually, at least twenty-two killing wards for children were established by the Reich Committee. Little is know about some wards except that they existed; others have become infamous through postwar revelations in judicial proceedings.


p. 49-50

[One] children’s killing ward was established in 1940 in the federal state of Bavaria in the large public institution Eglfing-Haar near Munich…headed by Hermann Pfannmüller, an early participant in adult and children’s euthanasia. Pfannmüller, who had received his medical license in 1913 and his specialty certification in psychiatry in 918, had served in various state institutions—often specializing in the treatment of alcoholics—before his appointment as director of Eglfing-Haar…Pfannmüller participated in the enforcement of the racial and eugenic legislation, heading in 1935 the Augsburg office for racial heredity; he was also an early advocate of euthanasia. In Eglfing-Haar, he rapidly introduced a system that subjected his patients to a rigorous regimen; he also conducted tours through his institution to educate the public about the biological deficiency of his charges.

We have unusually graphic testimony about these Pfannmüller tours and the treatment of patients at Eglfing-Haar even before euthanasia had officially commenced. Ludwig Lehner, a Bavarian schoolteacher, testified in 1946 in London, where he was then held as a German POW, about his experiences on one of these Pfannmüller tours. Lehner, an opponent of the Nazi regime, took this tour in the “fall of 1939,” shortly after his release from Dachau. Although he was drafted in 1940 and spent the war years as a German solider, Lehner vividly remembered his tour through Eglfing-Haar and described to his British captors what he remembers:


"During my tour, I was eyewitness to the following events: After visiting a few other wards, the institution’s director himself, as far as I remember he was called Pfannmüller, led us into a children’s ward. This hall impressed me as clean and well-kept. About 15 to 25 cribs contained that number of children, aged approximately one to five years. In this ward Pfannmüller explicated his opinions in particular detail. I remember pretty accurately the sense of his speech, because it was, either due to cynicism or clumsiness, surprisingly frank: ‘For me as a National Socialist, these creatures (meaning these children) obviously represent only a burden for our healthy national body [Volkskörper]. We do not kill (he might also have used a euphemism instead of the word ‘kill’) with poison, injections, etc., because that would only provide new slanderous campaign material for the foreign press and certain gentlemen in Switzerland. No, our method is, as you can see, much simpler and far more natural.” As he spoke these words, {Pfannmüller] and a nurse from the ward pulled a child from its crib. Displaying the child like a dead rabbit, he pontificated with the air of a connoisseur and a cynical smirk something like this: “With this one, for example, it will still take two to three days.” I can still clearly visualize the spectacle of this fat and smirking man with the whimpering skeleton in his fleshy hand, surround by other starving children. Furthermore, the murderer then pointed out that they did not suddenly withdraw food, but instead slowly reduced rations."

 

Link this

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Morgul Vale

In defence of Terri Schiavo, I will treat my readers to some excerpts from Henry Friedlander’s The Origins of Nazi Genocide (Chapel Hill, 1995).

By way of laying the groundwork, however, let us start with a few paragraphs from The Two Towers.

Led by the treacherous Gollum, Frodo and Sam are seeking the hidden way into Mordor, the pass of Cirith Ungol:

Frodo’s head was bowed; his burden was dragging him down again. As soon as the great Crossroads had been passed, the weight of it, almost forgotten in Ithilien, had begun to grow once more. Now, feeling the way become steep before his feet, he looked wearily up; and then he saw it, even as Gollum had said that he would: the city of the Ringwraiths. He cowered against the stony bank.

A long-tilted valley, a deep gulf of shadow, ran back far into the mountains. Upon the further side, some way within the valley’s arms, high on a rocky seat upon the black knees of the Ephel Dúath, stood the walls and tower of Minas Morgul. All was dark about it, earth and sky, but it was lit with light. Not the imprisoned moonlight welling through the marble walls of Minas Ithil long ago, Tower of the Moon, fair and radiant in the hollow of the hills. Paler indeed than the moon ailing in some slow eclipse was the light of it now, wavering and blowing like a noisome exhalation of decay, a corpse-light, a light that illuminated nothing. In the walls and tower windows showed, like countless black holes looking inward into emptiness; but the topmost course of the tower revolved slowly, first one way and then another, a huge ghostly head leering into the night. For a moment the three companions stood there, shrinking, staring up with unwilling eyes…

So they came slowly to the white bridge. Here the road, gleaming faintly, passed over the stream in the midst of the valley, and went on, winding deviously up towards the city’s gate: a black mouth opening in the outer circle of the northward walls. Wide flats lay on either bank, shadowy meads filled with pale white flowers. Luminous these were too, beautiful and yet horrible of shape, like the demented forms in an uneasy dream; and they gave forth a faint sickening charnel-smell; an odour of rottenness filled the air. From mead to mead the bridge sprang. Figures stood there at its head, carven with cunning in forms human and bestial, but all corrupt and loathsome. The water flowing beneath was silent, and it steamed, but the vapour that rose from it, curling and twisting about the bridge, was deadly cold.
~~~

Now, it is a no-no in better blogging circles to refer to one’s opponents as Nazis, for the simple reason – among others – that facile Hitler comparisons bleed dry the proper expression and understanding of what the Third Reich was actually like. If you bung accusations of Nazi-hood liberally about in careless spitefulness, then what words will you find to describe the deepest, darkest evils, the nightmare Mordor-lands that burn every life that strays into them (whether of perpetrator or victim) to bitter ash?

So I do not call the Euthenasia-pushers Nazis. But I do not speak carelessly when I say that they have set up housekeeping in a perilous Morgul-vale, where even the night-blooming blossoms cast poison upon the air—for the ideology that animates Terri Schiavo’s killers-to-be is rooted in the same soil that nurtured and eventually gave birth to the genocidal philosophies of the Third Reich.

Origins, chapter one, page 1:

The growing importance of the biological sciences in the nineteenth century, following the discoveries of Charles Darwin, led most scientists to advance theories of human inequality as matters of scientific fact.
Pages 6-7:

Viewed from our vantage point, eugenic research during the first half of the twentieth century was seriously flawed…It is not correct, however, to label the scientific research of eugenicists as pseudoscientific…By the scientific standards of the time, eugenic research was on the cutting edge of science. Its practitioners were respected scholars from various scientific disciplines who occupied important positions in major universities and published their results in major scholarly journals. Their research tools were the most advanced available at the time, and the prided themselves on applying them meticulously…In their time, the results obtained by eugenicists were generally accepted by the scientific community, and only the discovery of DNA after World War II provided the tools to prove that their research conclusions had been faulty. Even the eugenic research conducted in Germany—as well as other places—which violated all ethical standards in its use of unprincipled methods, did not violate the canon of science.
In other words, Eugenics - and its cuddly death-mate Euthanasia - is a perfectly logical extension of “survival of the fittest.”

Pages 14-15:

...As early as 1920, two eminent scholars proposed the most radical solution to the problem posed by institutionalized handicapped patients in Germany. In that year, Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche published a polemical work entitled Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens [Authorization for the destruction of life unworthy of life.] Karl Binding, a widely published legal scholar who died just before the book appeared, argue that the law should permit the killing of “incurable feebleminded” individuals. Alfred Hoche, a psychiatrist and specialist in neuropathology, analyzed Binding‘s arguments from a “medical perspective.” Both men lived in Freiburg, a city that was also the center of the Nordic wing of the race hygiene movement. Hoche was a professor at Frieburg University, and Binding, who had taught at Leipzig, had retired in Freiburg. Both Binding and Hoche were right-wing nationalists who rejected individual rights and championed the rights of the national community.

Binding argued that suicide, which he labeled a “human right,” should not be unlawful. He also maintained that euthanasia, that is, assisted suicide, should not be penalized, referring to the desire for assisted suicide of many terminal cancer patients who receive from their physicians a “deadly injection of morphine” and die “without pain, perhaps also faster, but possibly only after a somewhat longer time.”

The discussion of suicide and terminal cancer patients was ancillary to Binding’s main concern. His polemic focused on the fate of individuals considered “unworthy of life [lebensunwert],” which could mean both individuals whose lives were no longer worth living because of pain and incapacity and individuals who were considered so inferior that their lives could be labeled unworthy. He used the argument that the terminally ill deserved the right to a relatively painless death to justify the murder of those considered inferior. Binding and all subsequent proponents of his argument consciously confused the discussion by pointing to the suicide rights of terminal cancer patients facing a certain and painful death when in reality they wanted to “destroy” the “unworthy life” of healthy but “degenerate” individuals.

Binding’s definition of unworthy life was not very precise, but he did make it clear that he referred to inferiors who should be killed even if they could live painlessly for many years. He added a new criteria when he asserted that whether a life was worth living was determined not only by its worth to the individual but also by its worth to society. Emphasizing in a footnote that millions had given their lives for their fatherland during the world war, Binding made the following point to underline his argument: “If one thinks of a battlefield covered with thousands of dead youth…and contrasts this with our institutions for the feebleminded [Idioteninstitute] with their solicitude for their living patients—then one would be deeply shocked by the glaring disjunction between the sacrifice of the most valuable possession of humanity on the one side and on the other the greatest care of beings who are not only worthless but even manifest negative value.” Binding’s comparison of the death of worthy individuals in the service of their nation and the survival of pampered inferiors was a staple of eugenic argumentation and, as we have seen, mirrored the argument in favor of sterilization advanced by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Describing the individuals whose lives were unworthy of life as suffering from “incurable feeblemindedness,” Binding argued that their lives were “without purpose” and imposed a “terribly difficult burden” on both relatives and society. Although they had no value, the care of such individuals, Binding argued, occupied an entire profession of healthy individuals, which was a total misappropriation of valuable le human resources. Alfred Hoche fully supported his coauthor’s argument. Hoche offered a variety of definitions of unworthy life, such as, for example, incurable mental retardation or incurable feeblemindedness, but he did not hesitate to use the popular term “Ballastexistenzen,” that is, beings who are nothing but ballast that can be jettisoned. He also advanced a utilitarian argument, bemoaning the loss of “national resources” for “nonproductive purposes,” concluding that “it is a distressing idea that entire generations of nurses shall vegetate next to such empty human shells [leeren Menschenhülsen], many of who will live to be seventy years or even older.”
~~~

For those who carry a Ring of lifelong disability, the years can exact a wearisome toll of sorrow and pain, a toll that drains our days of much of their former joy. It’s not an easy thing to be a burden, even when those who shoulder it do so in love and faithfulness.

But if the more incapacitated – the Terri Schiavos in hospitals and hospices - are required to submit to being starved of food and water unto death, then what of the rest of us? Are we too hindrances, parasites, millstones around the neck of society—leeches sucking our families and communities dry? Do we have a duty to die so that resources can go to serve lives considered of more value? Do we have a duty to demand death so that our husbands and wives and children can get on with the good times without cripples to slow them down?

We humans must each one bear our given Ring to the Fire. For some of us, that Ring is physical weakness that leaves us unable to work and play as once we did when we were young and full of life and energy and strength. Like Frodo, we find that our burden weighs hard upon us, and we know that it weighs hard upon our loved ones also.

For they, too, must bear a heavy Ring.

~~~

When you and I in our long journeys between birth and death come at last to our steep, cold Morgul-stair, seeking the way to bear our Rings through to the ordained end, will we find that the pass is guarded by the Enemy’s hidden servants, by as yet unseen demons and monsters - or will we look anxiously upon that death-lit dwelling-place of Night and find that the windows are not barren black holes looking inward upon emptiness, but rather that we see peering from them the faces of lovers and friends?

 

Link this

October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 March 2006 April 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2007 May 2008

Contact

Blog Main

Powered by Blogger

Evangelical Blogroll
(The views of these bloggers may not necessarily be those
of Entropy House. Conversely, the views of Entropy House
may not necessarily be those of these bloggers.)

eXTReMe Tracker