Saturday, March 19, 2005


The news this week has been unremittingly bad. To be honest, not much in the last month has made me (an admittedly goofy optimist) smile. In fact, last two days' coverage of the Terri Schiavo matter has made me weep.

The issues presented are not as black and white as either side claims. Doing something 'active' (removal of a feeding tube)to terminate the life of an individual who is still able to breath on her own is an ethical dilemma. The artificial prolongation of life for a brain dead human is an ethical dilemma.

This matter also raises profound questions as to the very definitions of life and death. It raises policy issues as to where now even scarcer funds for medical care should be directed. It also raises issues as to who has the right to make decisions as to whether a human lives or dies.

The voices that have touched me most deeply have been those that describe the anguish of having to make the decision on withholding extraordinary medical treatment at the end. They are usually spouses, parents, children. They are making that decision for a loved-one, and it is clear that it has affected each of them profoundly. The posters on Eschaton ( have been especially eloquent in relating their personal stories on this.

It is for these reasons that I find myself taken aback (but not speechless) by the shocking positions taken by Senator Frist and Representative DeLay in Congress. This kind of political grubbing is ghoulish at best, and eternally damning at worst.

We are coming up on Easter, the holiest holy day of the Christian calendar. While I have never been accused of being orthodox, I do admit to being Christian. I know that I have all sorts of timber in my eyes, so I probably shouldn't be complaining about the motes in those of my brothers and sisters. Still, when I get to the part of the Episcopalian communion service that goes

Lord, have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy

I will have a hard time of it.