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4/01/2005

 

can we all agree that...



...barring the schindler family from terri's room for the last few minutes of her life was a pretty crappy thing to do? michael schiavo won. terri was nearly dead. did he have to add insult to injury by locking the schindlers out?

that's about as cold blooded as it gets.

the excuse offered by michael schiavo's ghoul attorney george felos was that michael wanted a peaceful environment for terri's last moments this side of eternity. freaky felos went on to paint a lovely portrait of terri snuggled with her stuffed kitty and a halo of sundry other stuffed critters nestled about her head whilst soft, lilting music played in the background--music and stuffed animals being two of the many things schiavo denied his wife for most of the past fifteen years.

er, but wait, wasn't the whole point of the execution that terri was just a veg? even if she wasn't in the advanced stages of dehydration she supposedly wouldn't have been aware of her environment, so who, exactly, was this bit of cheap theatrics meant to impress?

oh, and a bit more on this felos guy. folks, this guy is a freak. i mean an honest-to-God-tin-foil-hat-wearing-communes-with-the-cosmos-picks-up-russian-radio-in-his-fillings freak.

we're talking about a guy who said of a woman a week removed from her last bit of sustenance or drink of water "i've never seen her look more beautiful." the creep sounded like he was about to cream his jeans. made my skin crawl.

here's a sample from his crackpot book litigation as spiritual practice courtesy of nro's eric pfieffer. felos describes an encounter he had sitting at the bedside of another right-to-die case, estelle browning:

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.


beyond the vulcan mind-meld, mr. felos also possesses the ability to mentally swat planes from the sky like a telekinetic king kong. no kidding. quoth pfieffer,

Felos claims to have used his mental powers to cause a plane he was passenger on to nearly crash. By simply asking himself, "I wonder what it would be like to die right now?" the plane's autopilot program mysteriously ceased to function and the plane descended into free fall. Felos then observed, "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."


when he's not projecting himself across the astral plane or disrupting air commerce, mr. felos can be found teaching yoga, preaching, and, of course, volunteering at the local hospice so he can get his daily dose of death.

slightly off topic: for those of you pinning your hopes to terri's autopsy, forget about it. dr. cyril wecht, the foremost forensic pathologist of our day, was contacted by the schindler family's attorney who requested that he observe the autopsy. wecht agreed, but the florida medical examiner refused. why wouldn't he want wecht watching him?

locdog's enquiring mind wants to know




3/31/2005

 

a few thoughts on terri's death



when david sinned with bathsheba, the son who was conceived was claimed by God as punishment. while the infant lingered on in ever worsening condition, david fasted and prayed for mercy so fervently that his servants began to fear for his life. what would he do to himself, they wondered, if the boy died? the boy died, and david, to everyone's great surprise, cleaned himself up and got something to eat.

skeptics read the Bible with such hostility to the supernatural that they miss out on all the real mysteries. God commands abraham to sacrifice his beloved son, then, at the last moment, an angel stops him and provides a ram instead. the scoffer sneers at fairy story angels and divine dictums but never bothers to ask himself how a father could be willing to tie his child to an altar and plunge a dagger into his heart. the supernatural is easy. if there is a God, angels and miracles are child's play to Him. it's the people who held the daggers or brushed themselves off and went to dinner that always floored me.

i'm praying that God gives that strength to the schindler family today.

***

the terri schiavo case has been heavily politicized, so much so that a lot of good people have simply tuned the whole thing out. the presumption is that those who are left in the ring, those who still care, are the political hacks. and looking around, i see more than a few of those in here with me. but i also know that this story has affected me more deeply than any single story since september 11th, and i doubt very much that i'm alone in that respect.

most of the accusations have been leveled against the right, so it is for the right i will speak. what you need to understand is that most of us could care less about "the culture of life" or bush's approval rating dropping a few points, it really was about terri and her family. that's not so hard to understand if you're willing to accept that we really believed an innocent woman, a conscious, living woman, was being slowly murdered. i know you don't agree, but we believed that and believe it still. that's why it was such a big deal to us.

***

for me, one of the hardest things about being a Christian is accepting that God knows what He's doing. maybe you don't share my exact religious outlook, but most of you believe in God. and for those of you who do, i'd like you to ask yourselves the following question:

"why did this happen?"

not necessarily why terry schiavo became brain damaged and had a feeding tube inserted and later removed, which is not at all uncommon, but why this particular instance was thrust to the forefront of the national--indeed, the world--consciousness. whichever side you took in the dispute, surely we can all agree that this was not just another story. will some great consequence fall out it? i believe that God does not permit an evil without bringing about a greater good. somehow, i don't believe that this is over.

***

over the past 12 days, as often as i have thought of terri schiavo and her family i have prayed for her. my prayers were that God would intervene on her behalf and spare her life, but i asked that His will would be done, recognizing that there is a time and manner of death appointed to all of us, and this may well be terri schiavo's.

i thought of terri often and prayed for her a great deal. sitting at my desk at work, running in the afternoons, lying in bed at night. it gave me comfort knowing that so many others were praying along with me, and while i was reflecting on that a few days ago, i began to wonder how many people were praying for michael.

i certainly was not. i didn't want michael schiavo to be forgiven for what he had done. when i consider the unimaginable anguish the schindlers must be going through, repentance seems like the ultimate injustice.

Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment...But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

but isn't that the whole point of Christianity? wasn't the cross the ultimate injustice? didn't Jesus suffer enough for everyone? who am i to say that He was a few lashes short of a michael schiavo, that He didn't hang on the cross quite long enough?

locdog asks that if you say a prayer today for the schindler family, you say one for michael as well. he needs it just as badly.




3/29/2005

 

oh THAT moral framework



back in 1995, a thug by the name of robert harlan kidnapped rhonda maloney, a denver-area waitress. after being raped, maloney managed to escape from harlan and was picked up by good samaritan jaquie creazzo. harlan chased them down, shot creazzo and paralyzed her for life, then murdered rhonda maloney.

harlan was convicted of his crimes and sentenced to death unanimously by a colorado jury, but has had his sentence overturned on appeal because--get this--the jury read the Bible.

that's right. in a 3-2 decision, the colorado state supreme court decided that reading the Bible constituted a breech of the "[S]olemn and sequestered nature of jury deliberations" since "[j]urors must deliberate...without the aid or distraction of extraneous texts."

aid or distraction? it's not like they're reading newsweek or piping in courtTV. we're talking about stuff that was written eons ago. i seriously doubt the jurors stumbled upon any major newsflashes within the pages of the Pentateuch. (Bible Code quacks notwithstanding, of course.)

but the real gasser here is that, before deliberations had began, the judge instructed each of the jurors to form their own "individual moral assessment" beyond what the times coverage describes as the "narrow confines of the law." the judge wasn't reaching here, either. colorado law requires jurors contemplating capital cases to be so instructed. even better, the defense pleaded with the jury to consider how "God ultimately took mercy on Abraham," and how harlan read the Bible daily with his father.

i don't know if this is possible, but if i were one of those jurors, i'd be filing suit in federal court on grounds of my first amendment rights being violated. here we have an explicit appeal to a personal moral framework where the jurors are straightly charged to consider whether or not the convicted should be put to death on the basis of their own internal sense of justice, and yet when they do precisely that they have their decision rejected because three judges deem their moral compasses faulty?

laying the blatant religious discrimination aside for a moment, why in the hell do we even have juries if rampaging judges--lawyers in fancy robes--can trump up whatever shoddy pretense they want to throw their opinions out the window?

it's not like the jurors were looking for some external legal insight, after all. as the dissenting justices wrote,

The biblical passages the jurors discussed constituted either a part of the jurors' moral and religious precepts or their general knowledge, and thus were relevant to their court-sanctioned moral assessment.


or, in other words, they were doing exactly what they'd been instructed to do.

the times story mentions two passages of Scripture reviewed by the jury, Leviticus 24 ("he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death...eye for eye; tooth for tooth") and the book of Romans. the Leviticus passage, religious or not, is arguably the most fundamental expression of justice possible. Romans is even more ironic, since it is from Romans that the notion of a personal moral compass is derived:

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these...are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another


the times also interviewed a legal scholar who mercifully pointed out the obvious: "The court says we're asking you to be moral men and women, to make a moral judgment of the right thing to do. But then we say the juror cheated because he brought in a book that forms the basis of his moral universe. The thing is, he would have done it anyway, in his head."

and that's the hideous beauty of this ruling. the courts can't explicitly forbid Christian jurors or order them to forget about the religious foundations of their morality before considering a sentence, but damned if they can't keep them from bringing in a Bible. gotta start somewhere, right?

with courts like this, locdog thinks terri schiavo is a small wonder