Thursday, March 31, 2005


In the next day or so, Terri Schiavo will pass away. I'm not sure what I can say about this that hasn't already been said. But several people have asked me what I think about it--including my mother. So here goes:

This is a case that touches us on a very emotional and spiritual level. We are, most of us, uncertain about its implications. Because of that, we tend to think of Terri as a symbol rather than as a person. In a way, she has been elevated to an almost Christlike status. We discuss and contemplate her tragedy like a bunch of divinity students or a Sunday school class discussing the Passion. That is very different from the way that we usually react to tragedy. Usually, when we hear of a tragic event, we think: "oh, that poor person" or: "oh, those poor people." But with Terri, as with Jesus, we think about the implications this has for us.

I want to take a moment and say: oh that poor girl. She is in my prayers. And I pray that we are doing the right thing.

That last point I have given a great deal of both prayer and thought. And I think that we are doing the right thing. I come to that conclusion from my religious beliefs. I believe that we have souls, and if we have souls then there are only two reasonable possibilities: either Terri's soul has already moved on, or it wants to.

Her parents cling to a third possibility: that Terry is not only still there, but that she wants to be. Yes, that is possible, but I think it very unlikely. And I think that her husband is a much more reliable source for her wishes here than her parents. There are some things you just can't tell your parents. That is part of why our laws and customs say that the spouse, and not the parents, have the final word in such matters. What is that passage: "and a man shall leave his parents and cleave unto his wife?" Something like that.
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