"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
There is a world of difference between allowing someone who is dying to do so unimpeded, and taking the life of someone who is otherwise not at risk of death.
Rabbi Marc Gellman: It is one thing to let a person die in peace who is already dying. It is one thing to remove an obstacle to death. It is quite another to cause death. When you add in her parents' willingness to assume the financial and emotional burden of her care, the insistence of her husband that he be given the right to starve his wife to death just seems insanely ghoulish to many people who are otherwise in favor of a person's right to die. Death, they argue-and I agree-is not always an insult or a betrayal. Death can be a natural and welcome release from pain and suffering. We now face the frightening possibility of modern medicine, motivated more by a defensive fear of lawsuits than the Hippocratic oath of “first do no harm,” stopping us from crossing over when it is our time. But this obviously is not Terri Schiavo's time. She is alive, innocent and mute. She is not at death's door. All this sound and fury is about cruelly bringing the door to her.
I think it is ultimately a contest between two views. One says that life is a Gift from God, the other that it is not and it is for us to decide by our own lights what to do with life. It is ours to manipulate, ours to end when we want to, ours to create for experimental purposes, in short there is no Divine mystery to Life before which we must in all humility bow.
To bow in humility is portrayed by the enlightened as backward, medieval, or superstitious. To argue for an expansive “right to die” that includes starving someone to death is portrayed as enlightened and modern thinking. But if “the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:23) Much of modern enlightened thinking about life, sex, marriage, and children is rather a great darkening of the mind, a corruption of the intellect and mind.
You see that darkening when a man can say publicly without shame that starvation is simply “part of the death process.” And when a lawyer, without apparently sensing the irony, appeals to Easter this weekend as a reason for finally washing all of our collective hands of the death of Terri Schiavo. #