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Blogcritics On Terri Schiavo: Life, Death, Law

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For me, the intense drama, Herculean legal action and international attention focused on one woman, Terry Schiavo, in an incapacitated state for 15 of her 41 years (doctors appointed by Florida courts to examine Schiavo say “persistent vegetative state,” other physicians have questioned that diagnosis – nothing in this case is without rancor and contention), reminds me that ultimately we are a nation — and a government — of individuals, that every life truly does count, and that people of good will can intensely disagree over matters of conscience.

U.S. District Court Judge James D. Whittemore scheduled a hearing for the afternoon of March 21 in Tampa on a motion for a temporary restraining order filed by the parents of Terri Schiavo against her husband, a state judge and the hospice in which she lies incapacitated, seeking to have Schiavo’s feeding tube reinserted while the federal court considers the case.

The motion was filed in accordance with a new federal law (approved 203 to 58 by the House at 12:42 a.m. March 21 and rushed to Bush, who signed the bill into law at 1:11 a.m., saying, “I will continue to stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities”), whereby Congress gave jurisdiction over the case — this specific case only — to federal courts.

A Florida state court had ordered the tube removed March 18, agreeing with the claim by the woman’s husband, Michael Schiavo, that he was honoring her wish not to be kept alive under such circumstances.

All subsequent appeals have been for naught – the feeding tube was not reinserted and she died March 31.

My personal opinion on the matter is that it just didn’t seem right to let the woman starve to death, especially when her parents and siblings opposed such a “remedy,” and it was costing the family nothing to keep her alive. And of course the appropriateness of the legislative and executive branches of the Federal government taking up THIS ONE CASE is a matter of intense debate as well.

Below is our ongoing coverage of the drama, dating back to last year:

Terri Schiavo and the end of decency
This news is more than a week old, but family matters and work responsibilities prevented me from blogging at a more appropriate time on the subject of Terri Schiavo.So, onwards …The whole affair surrounding Terri Schiavo concerned a Gestapo-like mindset:…
Posted to Politics by Mark Edward Manning on April 10, 2005 08:03 PM

Intellectual Honesty is for Suckers
The GOP Terri Schiavo memo really doesn’t tell us much. It just adds to the deafening roar.
Posted to Politics by Pete Blackwell on April 8, 2005 10:43 AM

Schiavo at a Slight Remove
We with access to computers, microphones, cameras, or simply our own voices have expended a vast amount of time and energy publicly wrestling with our opinions and/or attempting to convince others of the rightness of said opinions regarding poor, benighted,…
Posted to Politics by Eric Olsen on April 6, 2005 08:50 PM

TV Thoughts: Tru Calling and Current Events
Tru Calling is back on television, as hard as it is to believe. But while I was watching a thought struck me about the timing, which I will get to in a minute. First I can’t believe that I am…
Posted to Video by Chris Beaumont on April 3, 2005 09:31 AM

God’s reps on earth warn against playing God
I originally viewed the “sinister cabal” blogcritics tagline as innocuous pleasantry, but a review of some of the commentary on the Schiavo matter raises the possibility that it’s in earnest. In Disabled or Dead?, the faith-swaddled Denise Jones proposes, in…
Posted to Culture by Uriel Wittenberg on April 2, 2005 12:39 PM

More on Euthanasia and the Right to Die
I. Definitions of Types of Euthanasia Euthanasia is often erroneously described as “mercy killing”. Most forms of euthanasia are, indeed, motivated by (some say: misplaced) mercy. Not so others. In Greek, “eu” means both “well” and “easy” and “Thanatos” is death. Euthanasia…
Posted to Politics by Sam Vaknin on April 2, 2005 10:08 AM

John Danforth Sees The Light
John Danforth, who served three terms as the Republican senator from Missouri and until January served as US ambassador to the UN, has joined Republican congressman Chris Shays and Virginia senator John Warner in bemoaning their party’s sharp sectarian…
Posted to Politics by Weldon Berger on April 1, 2005 01:45 AM

Ann Coulter, please meet Separation of Powers
Ann Coulter should be put to the lash. I’m afraid, however, that a setting of Ann Coulter, Al Barger and a lash would somehow result in me being her woman in some terribly shameful way. So from a keyboard at…
Posted to Politics by Al Barger on March 31, 2005 11:39 PM

Disabled or Dead?
Terri Schiavo revisited in the wake of her death: If anyone had asked me, as an epileptic with severe brain dysfunction in earlier life, “If at any point in time you are physically incapacitated, would you want to live as…
Posted to Culture by Denise Jones on March 31, 2005 04:23 PM

Don’t be the Next Terri Schiavo
In light of the Terry Schiavo situation I’ve come to realize that the one thing I really don’t want to see right before I pass into the great beyond is the grim specter of Jesse Jackson hovering…
Posted to Culture by Dave Nalle on March 31, 2005 03:32 PM

Who Is This?
Who is this? See also…
Posted to Culture by Temple Stark on March 31, 2005 01:08 PM

Whither Red Lake?
In the wake of the Terri Schiavo media black hole, other news, such as the tragic shooting at Red Lake High School in Minnesota, has gotten little coverage. The stats on Google news this morning reveal 3400 stories about Schiavo,…
Posted to Politics by LegendaryMonkey on March 31, 2005 12:07 PM

Terri Schiavo Has Died
Terri Schiavo, possibly the best-known, least-conscious woman in American history died this morning shortly before 10 a.m. EST, ending a protracted battle between her husband and her parents that elicited action and opinion from every branch of the Florida…
Posted to Politics by Eric Olsen on March 31, 2005 10:36 AM

Terri Schiavo’s So-Called “Supporters”
The Terri Schiavo case has become a cultural Rorschach test, with enough conflicts and ambiguities that different people see different things in it. Therefore, I won’t necessarily 100% describe my own reactions as totally and unequivocally “rational” and based…
Posted to Culture by Al Barger on March 31, 2005 01:50 AM

Schiavo: Court Rescinds Hope
After agreeing to consider an emergency bid by Bob and Mary Schindler for a new hearing in their case late Tuesday night, 15 hours later the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said “just kidding.” “Any further action by…
Posted to Politics by Eric Olsen on March 30, 2005 04:51 PM

Glimmer of Legal Hope for Schiavo’s Parents
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: “The Appellant’s emergency motion for leave to file out of time is granted.” Entering her thirteenth day without nourishment, late Tuesday Terri Schiavo’s family received their first positive legal news since the U.S. Congress…
Posted to Politics by Eric Olsen on March 30, 2005 10:12 AM

The Schiavo – Schindler Family Feud
(Satire) In a retrospective reversal of sorts, Scott Ott describes the last hours of Michael Schiavo as he nears his long awaited nirvana after seven traumatic years of ordeal being deprived of the death of his wife… (2005-03-29)…
Posted to Culture by Z.Z. Bachman on March 29, 2005 03:59 PM

More Terri Troubles
OK, this is the last time I’ll address this issue; but I just couldn’t help myself after reading this morning’s stories on this increasingly bizarre case. The Supreme Court of the United States of America–which, by the way, leans quite…
Posted to Politics by Mark Morrow on March 28, 2005 11:53 AM

Vinick for President
The last West Wing episode, “In God We Trust,” had my wife and I spontaneously applauding for the fictional Republican Senator from California and Presidential Nominee Arnold Vinick. If you didn’t catch it, you can BitTorrent the episode….
Posted to Politics by Michael D. Bryan on March 27, 2005 08:20 PM

The Republican ”Culture of Death”…
”The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command released figures Friday that show 27 detainees were killed while in U.S. custody between August 2002 and November 2004 in Iraq and Afghanistan. The deaths are either considered to be homicides or suspected to be homicides.”…
Posted to Politics by Big Time Patriot on March 27, 2005 01:12 PM

Culture of Life and the Rights of Men
Population and Abortion (Editor’s note: The recent debate dealing with Terri Schiavo and the issue of assisted suicide hides a deeper debate, a debate that deals with the direction of our society. My own bias is to err on the…
Posted to Culture by Tom Donelson on March 26, 2005 08:11 PM

Peterson’s son Elian Gonzalez abducted by Jackson 5–El queso existe!
Today, in a shocking twist of fate, Scott Peterson discovered that he had murdered Terri Schiavo, leaving Laci Peterson in a brain-dead coma. Peterson is now taking legal action to have his sentence reversed, on the basis that all the…
Posted to Culture by Leoniceno on March 26, 2005 08:10 PM

Schiavo – The Myth of the Right to Life
I. The Right to Life Generations of malleable Israeli children are brought up on the story of the misnamed Jewish settlement Tel-Hai (“Mount of Life”), Israel’s Alamo. There, among the picturesque valleys of the Galilee, a one-armed hero named Joseph Trumpeldor…
Posted to Politics by Sam Vaknin on March 26, 2005 04:45 AM

What’s the next move in Schiavo case?
One of the last recourses available to Schiavo’s parents, and to all of Schiavo’s ‘supporters’ is to hope that either Jeb or President Bush will sign an executive order. To me this seems patently unlikely for a few reasons. As…
Posted to Politics by Leoniceno on March 26, 2005 02:50 AM

Starved for Logic
Highlighting the method of Terri Schiavo’s impending doom is a favorite rhetorical flourish for those lining up on the side of “life” in this fractious medical and moral drama that’s saturating the 24-hour news cycle (a recent
Posted to Politics by Pete Blackwell on March 26, 2005 01:18 AM

The Right to Life
Not long ago, I read of the ruling on Terri Schiavo and when it wasn’t her decision, she has no living will, it is legalized murder because it’s on the say-so of another human being. And this seems to…
Posted to Politics by Denise Jones on March 25, 2005 01:45 PM

The Schiavo Solution? Enemy Combatant status…
George Bush was defeated by those liberal judges in his bid to save Terri Schiavo from her anointed role as Religious Martyr (can Sainthood be in her future? When will the first Schiavo miracles start occurring?). George Bush would prefer…
Posted to Politics by Big Time Patriot on March 24, 2005 04:10 PM

DeLay Off the Deep End
When you think of the Terri Schiavo case, what comes to mind? Tom DeLay’s ethics violations probe, right?
Posted to Politics by Pete Blackwell on March 24, 2005 01:05 PM

Asking Life and Death Questions
Do we understand any of the consequences of our actions in the Terry Schiavo case?
Posted to Politics by DJRadiohead on March 24, 2005 11:28 AM

Spinning Terri Schiavo before she’s in her grave
It is interesting to see that the media, especially the more liberal organs of the media, are already trying to impart anti-Bush spin to the sad case of Terri Schiavo. The story was the first one reported this morning on…
Posted to Politics by Harry Forbes on March 23, 2005 11:05 PM

The Right to Rest in Peace
Office of the Press Secretary March 17, 2005 President’s Statement on Terri Schiavo “The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues. Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should…
Posted to Politics by francisco68 on March 23, 2005 01:54 PM

Who Will Make Your Medica

Who gets to play God with Terri Schiavo’s life?
I cannot offer you a catchy or cute post header to lead you to this very serious and story about Terri Schiavo. Now, I just want to be clear on this subject and please know that I do feel…
Posted to Politics by Richard Porter on March 21, 2005 03:37 PM

Death and Dying: Thoughts on Terri Schiavo
The following is two separate blog posts I wrote about the Terri Schiavo saga. The first I wrote on Saturday and the second part was written today, to clarify my stance a bit in response to some comments on my…
Posted to Culture by Michele Catalano on March 21, 2005 09:51 AM

Terri Schiavo: What’s a Parent to Do?
I wrote my thoughts about the Terri Schiavo case back in May, 2004. I still feel essentially the same way: Terri’s husband should have the final say in her case. He is the one she chose to spend her…
Posted to Politics by bhw on March 21, 2005 03:56 AM

Congressional Zombies Feeding on Terri Schiavo’s Corpse
Dear Congress: Please mind your own damned business. Leave the Schiavo family alone. Who in hell do you presumptuous SOBs think you are? Let me be more specific. What part of your legal mandate, the US…
Posted to Culture by Al Barger on March 21, 2005 01:28 AM

Government Reform?
Our elected leaders are out of control. Twice in one week, we see two instances in which Congress, specifically, the so-called “Government Reform Committee,” has overstepped its boundaries. Instead of fighting for our nation’s first responders, ensuring health care for…
Posted to Politics by Stone on March 18, 2005 11:18 AM

Revisiting the Terri Schiavo case
The fight over Terry Shiavo’s life has caused me to have a bit of a rethink with regard to euthanasia. I am now in agreement with Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s decision to reinstate fluids in order to keep her alive….
Posted to Politics by Mark Edward Manning on October 1, 2004

Florida court rejects Bush’s bumbling
The Supreme Court of Florida has struck a blow for separation of powers. The name Terry Schiavo probably rings a bell. She is the Florida woman who has been breathing, but not living, for…
Posted to Politics by Mac Diva on September 25, 2004

Life and Death, Rights and Wrongs
The Terri Schiavo case is back in the news. Schiavo is the 40-year-old woman in Florida whose right to live and die is being fought over in the courts. She has been in a vegetative-like state for 13 years….
Posted to Culture by bhw on May 7, 2004 07:37 PM

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • NC

    My personal opinion on the matter is that it just doesn’t seem right to let the woman starve to death, especially when her parents and siblings oppose such a “remedy,” and it is costing the family nothing to keep her alive.

    I’d be willing to let them do it if there were proof that that’s what she really wanted. As it is, all we have is hearsay via her husband. Not good enough. The absence of any concrete evidence of intent on her part makes this less a question of what she wants than what he wants, and I’m not willing to see anyone starve on another’s say-so.

  • I have to speak on this: let her die and let her husband move on. 15 years in a coma is no quality of life. Also note that if she were in Texas they could have pulled the plug whenever they wanted if the family were not able to pay.

    It is strange and I guess good to see the GOP take an interest in human life AFTER it is born. Seeing their take on not funding education, limiting health care, trying to get out of Social Security… the GOP has long taken care of the fetus. However, once you are born… they seem to not give two shits about you (unless you’re crazy rich).

  • Dawn

    I was given information on this that had changed my opinion of the husband’s so called “altruism”. Apparently (and if I am incorrect, please feel free to correct) that she was found by the husband after having suffered a heart attack like episode and he provided no life-saving measures at time of discovery, and the two were engaged in the process of divorce.

    That to me automatically rejects any claim he has on her final wishes and the parents should be given the power to decide what happens to her. And clearly starving the woman to death is hardly humane.

    He sounds like a real creepy person who is using this entire situation for purely selfish and personal reasons.

  • I couldn’t care less about the husband, but this episode to me, further emphasizes the need to draw up a living will soon for the family.

    Why don’t they follow an injection-type approach rather than starving? Would that be more humane?

  • Will

    After the husband and two other witnesses have convinced 19 judges that she did not want to live in this condition, why is there still this debate? She has no brain activity, that has been proven by scans of her brain. You need brain activity to feel hunger or thirst, therefore her death will be incredibly peaceful.

    The Husband is getting NOTHING out of this, he was offered tons of money to give Terri up to her parents, but he didn’t. He isn’t keeping profits from her estate. He’s doing it out of love and that is the only explanation that makes sense.

  • Yep, I agree with Will on this. I don’t see how Michael could possibly be “selfish” in this decision – he’s been fighting for this for years. Were he selfish, he’d simply have given up on it and let her family take control of her care. Why would he choose to not do this? What “selfish” reason would keep a person from giving up on an incredibly complicated, LONG battle in courts? What could he possibly get out of this in the end? I believe his intentions are entirely sincere, and he’s attempting to do something to help everyone. In the end, Terry’s parents will still have to move on with their lives, regardless of how long this poor body continues to churn on, entirely devoid of signs of intelligent life.

    Has there ever been better publicity for living wills than this case?

  • Dawn

    I agree that everyone should have a living will and if anything good can come from this sad story, maybe a greater awareness of the need will be it.

    I don’t know what Michael Schiavo has to gain, but his motives and intentions aren’t benign. He has deprived Terri of some very basic measures that could have provided her a hope for at least an improvement on her status, his MO from the very beginning is death by neglect. I feel quite sure that at this point he is fighting out of pride not love.

    He wanted her dead since about ’93 and while in general I think that he should have the final say on the matter, he has acted in a way that proves that Terri’s best interests aren’t at heart. At least with her parents you know that they are doing it out of love, and while they may be misguided and desperate they are genuine and sincere.

  • bhw

    Why don’t they follow an injection-type approach rather than starving? Would that be more humane?

    That’s either euthanasia or assisted suicide, which are illegal in FL. What’s happening now is different, legally speaking. She’s refusing treatment, which all of us have the right to do in all 50 states — enter the living will. It’s just that Terri’s not the one refusing, her husband is doing it for her as her guardian because he claims she would have wanted it this way.

    There is no other alternative way to legally end her life except to withhold treatment.

  • My wife is a nurse who believes very strongly in having a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) and other legal documents filled out well in advance of any sickness of maladies. This is the only way to make sure that your wishes, when faced with this kind of situation, are fulfilled (over the potential emotions, objections, and concerns of family and the courts).

  • Cheryl

    Look at the videos on this site

    I find it hard to believe that this woman is has NO brain activity after watching this. She may not be able to communicate the way we are accumtomed to, but she obviously knows who her mother is, and responds to various stimuli.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Cheryl, fascinating stuff – interesting that the site calls her “Terri Schindler-Schiavo”

  • Cheryl, as sad as it is to say, all I see in those videos is response to stimuli – not the presence of a human intellect. These are, again, examples of what that “animal brain” does – it simply causes responses to stimuli. The eyes track the balloon because that’s what that part of the brain does. She is not comprehending that there’s a balloon there. All that is happening is essentially a reflex. I see no sense of comprehension in her eyes when her mother is there. I see her eyes finding a moving target to look at. This is not a sign of intelligent life. This sounds really mean, but this is like what fish do – they can track the movement of things around them, but that doesn’t mean they’re *thinking* about those things. They’re simply reacting to stimuli.

  • Eric Olsen

    Tom, even if that is so, is it cause to starve her to death?

  • Bennett Dawson

    Hey Eric,

    You also continue the MYTH that someone in Terry’s condition will feel pain during the period of her slow drop into the relief of death. The MDs interviewed on PRI two days ago, were adament that in cases like Terry’s, when the system shuts down there is no hunger, no pain, just a slow shutdown. I know this to be true. My buddy passed away in my living room from the big C, and hunger is not an issue when you’re dying. No pain, no hunger. Just passing on.

    The Delays of this issue want to spin this thing as a horrid death. It is not.

  • >>For me, the intense drama, Herculean legal action and international attention focused on one woman, Terry Schiavo<< Oddly, to me, it's a horrible reflection on the efforts of our media to manufacture news and raise to a level of great drama a tawdry little family squabble which should have been allowed to be resolved by the courts years ago. The good part is that Terry Schiavo - being without any thought processes at all - is the one person who doesn't have to watch or experience this orgy of opportunism and exploitation. Dave

  • Geo

    The parents and sibs ALL want to care for this human being, out of pure LOVE, no motive, no gain, just unconditional love for the family member.

    This weekend on C-Span was an eye opener to just what ilk members of the esteemed Death-o-cratic party REALLY think about the sanctity of life. It’s odd that the mindset is not centered on what the family really considers imperative, and that is that Terry is alive, Terry is someone they hold very dear in their hearts.

    If you want to get to the heart of it… I’m begining to have 2nd doubts about the motives of the Dems. This, along with partial birth abortions, my word… they want to kill everything but murderers on death row.

    The logic is skewed.

    Hunter Thompson blew his brains out and the dems were all out in force eloquently espousing what a great…. etc etc… but the Dems I saw this weekend were lambasting the famility of Terry like they were nuts! Idiots! Simpleminded buffoons… The family just LOVES the poor dear, and wants to do for her what her husband doesn’t.

    What’s the flippin’ problem here!

  • “It’s odd that the mindset is not centered on what the family really considers imperative” So isn’t the spouse the MOST IMPORTANT member of someone’s family? So it isn’t the “families” interests that you favor, it’s one PART of the families opinions, and not even any part of the family that is “Married” to the person concerned.

    If you don’t think spouses are part of someones families, perhaps you should ask George Bush to expand his proposed ban on homosexual marriages to include heterosexual marriages as well, it seems you have a very low opinion of Holy Matrimony.

  • Dave said: “The good part is that Terry Schiavo – being without any thought processes at all – is the one person who doesn’t have to watch or experience this orgy of opportunism and exploitation.”

    Wow – that was well said. I understand why this is such a controversial issue, but I have to wonder what she would think of the whole thing.

    And what would Jesus do? I find it hard to believe that Jesus would really spend the massive legislative and judicial resources that are going into this, just to make a symbolic political point.

  • Eric Olsen

    Dave N, don’t agree at all this is a media-driven exercise. It was a grass-roots effort on the part of the Schindler family that ws taken up by Christian groups, then politicians that got things to where they are now. If anything the media had been reticent until the weekend’s extraordinary efforts

  • Richard Porter


    You are on the mark with the grass-roots effort comment. However, as you know the media is now steamrolling with this story and painting a very stark black and white issue.

    According to the media, it’s the big bad Government interfering with a clash between the conservative, religious right and the liberal, pr-euthanasia left. This story has so many layers, it does a huge disservice to the Schiavo family to offer this very typical scenario.

  • I agree with you here, Richard, and I actually think that politics has very little to do with how most people feel about the issue. Like a lot of other people, I am really ambivalent about withholding nutrition from someone who is breathing on their own, although I do believe that Terri is, for all intents and purposes, not here anymore. On the face of it, I would always side with the spouse in terms of who should make decisions about a person not capable of making their own, but he’s not the most admirable of characters, to be sure. But I also think that her parents are, understandably, grasping at straws.

  • Richard Porter


    Thanks, if you haven’t done it already, check out my post under POLITICS, Who gets to play God with Terri Schiavo’s life?

    There is alot of facts that are not freely fleshed out by the press.

  • Eric Olsen

    the ambivalence most people feel about the case is why there is such fascination with it, I think – it is very multi-layered, which even Bush said

  • There’s only fascination with it because her parents chose to make it public and have, in my opinion, been taken advantage of and exploited by groups who wish to use this cause as a way to further their own agendas. I think that the husband and parents are the only people in this whole scenario who actually care about Terri (and I’m not so sure about him at this point). But thousands of families all over the country are faced with decisions like this every day. The only thing I’m certain of in this whole thing is that Congress has no business in any of this.

  • bhw

    True, but I’m amazed at the number of comments I’m seeing in favor of just removing the feeding tube and getting it over with [which is underway].

    I guess I’m surprised by the certainty that people have one way or the other. [Which is not the same thing as being certain one way or the other if the judge did the right thing yesterday, legally speaking.]

  • Eric Olsen

    agree entirely bhw

  • I don’t have any “certainty” one way or the other, and I can understand why people are concerned with this case. It’s just that personally, I think it is sad for someone in a persistent vegetative state – or whatever you want to call the condition she’s been in for so many years – to be kept alive and put on TV. If I’m ever in that situation, I’ve instructed my family to let me rest in peace after 3 years.

    And this whole “culture of life” vs. “culture of death” crap is the most offensive political tactic I’ve heard of since the right tried to say that people who were against the Iraq War were being unpatriotic. That’s why this issue is getting a lot of negative reactions – it’s just the latest example of the right trying to tar and feather anyone who disagrees with them.

    Read this article about the GOP memo on the issue if you don’t believe me: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002213728_memo20.html

  • Wathever they decide, to let her die or not, I will only note this.

    If they would decide to let her die, then let her die in human way, not from hunger.

    It might be controversial, and perhaps needs to be checked on your laws, but there are countries around the world where this is possible.

    And letting somebody die from hunger, calls up a lot of resentment. Where I live in Belgium, when peoples live is ended [and legally ok] are put to sleep (as far as I know).

    Wathever is decided, looking from both view points, the commotion about this is understandable. Giving somebody up is very hard, if you can visit her every day, she is your child. On the other hand, letting her go, and not letting her live in a persistent vegetative state, live a human life, and keep the good memorys you have at her is also normal.

    Life goes on, if you like it or not.

    Love is also, to take a step aside, and set somebody free. As for yes or no, let the court decide that. And as the person above wrote, give her some dignity back, instead of putting her always on television. Ask yourself these questions: would you like this to happen to you ? Would you like to be treated that way ? I know, I wouldn’t like it.

    A little poem to end:


    Its becoming dark now,
    soon duisternis (=darkness) will come
    and then after a while when all lights have dissapeard,
    the night will fall.

    Tommorrow the sun will rise again
    and light will awake those alseep.
    A new day is born.
    A cycle continuing into eternity,
    hopefully that is.

    So goes life,
    one day at a time,
    till the day comes,
    when we fall asleep for the last time,
    but we only die for real when we are forgotten.

    Lets not forget those, we knew,
    because in our memory of them they will live on.

    Written in memory of my grandmother and other old people
    i used to know but who have already passed away.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Floris, I totally agree about the hunger angle, very ugly and inumane, but I am also against assisted suicide, at least as general public policy, and so would rather see her live

  • >people of good will can intensely disagree over matters of conscience.

    >it just doesn’t seem right to let the woman starve to death

    People of good will, if they’re ignorant enough, can believe absolutely anything at all. Let’s recall that a lot of these same “people of good will” oppose sex education and contraception, which leads to unwanted pregnancies for kids. And they still believe in the WMD rationale for invading Iraq. (See Delusion Carries Bush.)

    A clinical assistant professor of neurology at Brown Medical School has it right:

    “Performing a medical procedure against a patient’s will (or that of the patient’s legal surrogate) is unethical and illegal. If Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube is now reinserted, the government institutions and individuals responsible will be guilty of assault and should be held accountable.” (Letter to Editor, New York Times, March 22, 2005.)

    The idea of Schiavo’s starvation causing her to suffer is a diversion. As another letter in the same NYT issue points out: “It is an accepted medical practice to withhold tube feedings and intravenous fluids from terminally ill cancer patients. In 23 years of oncology practice, I cannot recall a patient whose suffering was increased by withholding tube feedings and intravenous fluids. In these cases, patients generally die from renal failure, which is perceived to be a painless way to die.”

    Anyway, if there’s the least prospect of suffering, then pain medication can be administered. No one’s going to object to that.

  • Eric Olsen

    let’s not recall anything at all about “a lot of these same people” and sex education and WMD – this is about one person and one set of circumstances. Talk about “diversion.”

    And you can cavalierly dismiss the screaming of every single cell in this woman’s body — whether she is sentient or not — as they wither away from nutritional deprivation over hours and days, but I cannot. This isn’t th ekind of “pain” that can be simply anaesthetized away

  • Eric:

    While you’re completely wrong on the whole business of individual cells feeling pain and your generally overromanticized take on Terry Schiavo’s death, you do have one good point. When Uriel brings up WMDs and calls Bush delusional to open up a discussion of this unrelated issue, he immediately destroys his own credibility, by pointing out that he’s obsessive and delusional in his own right.


  • Tristan

    David Nalle is now a Board Certified physician , I see! ????????

    By what right and professional expertise do you go and make that absolutely ridiculous “CLAIM” that “While you’re completely wrong on the whole business of individual cells feeling pain and your generally overromanticized take on Terry Schiavo’s death”— ??????????

    WHAT basis do you dare to make that presumptuous “statement” David—-“completely wrong” –! That’s an extremely strong statement and I want to see your proof for making that statement. Or is it simply your “thoughts” on this subject David …..?

  • Oh, do shut up, Tristan. All it takes is a highschool physiology course or about 10 minutes reading to know that individual cells don’t feel pain. Find me ONE source that suggests that cells feel anything at all or go back to baiting Dawn.


  • Tristan


    I see your temper got the best of you–as I knew it would when confronted by real truthful inquiry!

    On being questioned WHERE on earth you came up with such a STUPID and totally unfounded statement you tried to pass off as assumed FACT—all you can do is say “SHUT UP” ………..

    Eric goes and crafts a very well thought out and scientifically backed-up comment—and you totally trash it in one brief outburst and use some “high-school” biology thought that just popped into your drug-addled what “passes’ for a “brain” ..???

    GET REAL!!!! “oh just shut up” is the “BEST” refutation you have????????

  • Tristan:

    Still waiting for that explanation of how individual cells feel pain. The mechanisms of this process are what fascinate me. What with not having any means of perceiving, processing or communicating the pain, or for that matter even being individual living entities, how those cells feel pain must be pure magic.

    OMG I just hit my spacebar really hard. I can hear it crying. So when DID you become an animist, Tristan?


  • Dave, keep waiting. And call him Tristian; he loves it!

  • Tristan


    what fascinates me is how you can consistently and methodically avoid answering the questions posed to YOU as to what the BASIS of your strong statements of so-called “FACTS” were ?

    I guess the questions were just too “difficult” for you to “answer” which gives us a very LOUD answer by your obvious AVOIDANCE.

  • As far as I can tell you never asked me a question, Tristy, at least not one that makes any sense. Ask me a question and I’ll answer it. But if you ask me to explain what a cell is – since you clearly have no idea – I’ll refer you to a link on basic cell structure.


  • Tristan

    Nalle being his cute dodgy self:

    1st he doesn’t “remember being asked A question–(there were several and they’re all up above and he KNOWS it–he just refuses to deal with it cuz he can’t..)–

    2nd–he goes and –oh yeh-!does remember that they “weren’t very intelligent”—
    well of COURSE they weren’t very intelligent when they put him on the spot and made him face his own absurd and unbacked statements of “FACT” he tried to use against Eric’s well thought out and scientifically backed staements….

    just like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar!

  • Tristan. I ask this out of honest concern. Are you on some sort of drugs?

    You said: “Eric’s well thought out and scientifically backed staements….”

    Here’s that scientific statement to refresh your memory:

    “nd you can cavalierly dismiss the screaming of every single cell in this woman’s body — whether she is sentient or not — as they wither away from nutritional deprivation over hours and days, but I cannot. This isn’t th ekind of “pain” that can be simply anaesthetized away”

    Do point out to me the scientific evidence in that paragraph, because I seem to have missed it.


  • Tristan

    DRUGS” MUST be YOU, eh Nalle???

    you seem to be trying to get farther and farther from the questions I seriously asked you and now you are solely trying to deflect from the issue by questioning MY statements now~~

    and when that hasn’t WORKED allready TWICE (you aRE a bit thick, aren’t you!)–

    you have to then veer off tack again and keep using that oh-so-lame-and-childish “you must be on drugs tristan”–

    Every time I hear you say that I know you are at your wit’s end; you have simply run out of steam and gotten totally backed into a corner–unable to even defend your position anymore–so you lash out with that imbecilic childish snap that i must be on drugs..

    Nalle; go back to your rock and lick your wounds!

    When you decide to get serious and real, and can refrain from getting mad when I ask you to back up your nonsense–let’s talk!

  • Ok, I give up. You’re a genius, Tristan. I won’t bother to try to talk to you anymore.


  • Tristan

    Nalle calling a blogger a PEDOPHILE!!!

    Your’e not getting off that easy this time Nalle—when you cross the line and break the law–in public here on this Blog–by accusing me of being a PEDOPHILE, you can’t just say:”hey, I don’t like this game anymore. I made a boo-boo and want to go home to mommy”–

    Doesn’t quite work that way sonny!

    Here is your statement in case you forgot:
    “Comment 38 posted by Dave Nalle on March 23, 2005 03:22 PM:

    I’m afraid Tristan just lost his job at the video store for sticking pornos in the kiddy section again


    Sometimes it might be best if you think before you write a libelous statement and then send it off to a public forum on the internet Nalle–

  • Dawn

    There is nothing about the statement you quoted Tristan that even comes close to qualifying as calling someone a pederast.

    What is also funny, is that you clearly must be thumbing through the dictionary and just picking words out and plugging them into your comments, as you make zero sense 90% of the time.

    It helps to know what you are talking about you knucklehead.

  • gonzo marx

    ok..with all the luv on this Thread..i feel i have ta sound off on the actual Topic

    first..my deepest sympathies to the Parents, whose child is involved…who obvioulsy cling so desperately in a seemingly hopeless medical case..

    second…to the husband, who has refused divorce during the 15 years of this ordeal and who last week turned down 1 million dollars to walk away from this, no harm..no foul…all in the name of devotion to his wife and what he believes are her Wishes in the matter

    and finally..to all those that have been conned by their elected Representitives that claim to follow “conservative” princicples and “values”, yet whom have demonstrated utter contempt for the concepts of state’s rights, the rule of law, a lesser role of the federal government in private lives..who are actively seeking an activist judge to rule they way they desire with NO regard for the due process this case has undergone

    and let me leave you with an example of the utter Hypocrisy involved..

    a few days ago, in a similar case in Texas that involved a 5 month old infant that had no medical prospect of any life outside of a hospital, the child was removed from all life supporting machines based upon a Texas Law that delineates the parameters for “unplugging” a patient…those rules include the medical diagnosis and that the “ability to pay” over rule the will of parents and family…

    this Law was signed by then governor G.W. Bush

    no matter where you personally fall on this Issue…and it IS a difficult, and involved Position..we are a Nation of Laws

    that is..unless the Republican Leadership decides they can score points

    i refer you to the leaked memo from 2 days ago…which, if true..and the fiasco on CSPAN seems to bear this out…then i fear for our Republic

    just as i fear for the all those that may have these Decisions taken out of their hands by “Big Brother” and not resolved under the Rule of Law


  • GonzoM, I posted about this yesterday in my post:

    Terri Schiavo: corruption of the legal system

    Except for the memo part, which hadn’t broke when I posted. But I didn’t need the memo to see it for what it was about – and apparently Americans didn’t need to see it either —– grandstanding lizards, this time by Republicans.

    But it can’t be repeated enough, so thanks. Temple

  • gonzo marx

    heh..yer welcome Temple..

    but of course..i didn’t rant on fer you..


    feel free ta Quote my screeds…and hunt around..i’ve done enough of them since i came here

    no need fer capital letters tho..my name is just the way i want it here…the connotations..the puns..it warms the cockles of my black flabby lil heart that someone gets a chuckle..or a stray thought..out or perusing my mad meanderings..

    but yer milage may vary, and objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear…


  • gerri

    reflecting back,seeing how her “dearly beloved”was tired of her being a burden,in his life—if a hidden camera had been placed in her room,just what might it have caught—a nurse has testified,hearing him say,i wonder how long”this bitch”is going to live?if he wasn’t hiding something,why wasn’t she allowed,to go outside?after all,she could sit in a wheel chair.he didn’t want the public to see her,it doesn’t take a very smart person,to figure out why.she was capable of lot’s more,than he wanted to admit to.i say,if he knew what she wanted,more than her parents,then why didn’t he go ahead,and rush death for her?there is ways to do it,and get away with it.in reality,he’s getting away with it now.and also since there was no witness,the day she collapsed,who’s to say,he didn’t cause that?it sure didn’t take him long to “move on”with his life..i think he’s getting away with murder(then or now)doesn’t matter—but one day he will have to answer,for this horrendous act…..

  • >you can cavalierly dismiss the screaming of every single cell in this woman’s body — whether she is sentient or not — as they wither away from nutritional deprivation over hours and days, but I cannot. This isn’t th ekind of “pain” that can be simply anaesthetized away

    –Comment 31 posted by Eric Olsen on March 23, 2005 01:11 PM

    Eric, you might take a look at “Neither ‘Starvation’ Nor the Suffering It Connotes Applies to Schiavo, Doctors Say,” New York Times, March 25, 2005.

  • Cells have no mouths, but they must scream.

    I still don’t understand this thing about individual cells feeling pain and expressing it.


  • Eric Olsen

    okay literalists, I was, I thought, obviously speaking metaphonically, and yet no one can tell me that any living being is not severely distressed by being deprived of nutrients required to keep it alive

  • I thought it was a metaphor, but I wanted to be sure. The original phrasing was a bit odd.

    As for every living being suffering because of the deprivation of nutrients, that seems believable. But the distinction in the Schiavo case is that however much her body is suffering, there’s no sentience there to register it.

    If your hand gets cut off and then later gets run over by a car, do you worry about how much it is suffering when the car runs it over?


  • Eric Olsen

    there must be SOME sentience there, even if it is at the most basic stimulus/response level, and if there is SOME sentience, then it is cruel, in my opinion.

  • Eric Olsen

    in other words, even an amoeba recoils when you stick it with something sharp

  • JR

    If you don’t shut down a computer properly, it always reacts by admonishing you when you turn it back on. So is it cruel to yank the plug on a computer?

  • Eric Olsen

    it isn’t a living thing – though the line has certainly blurred, it is still distinguishable

  • JR

    There’s this species of wasp that injects its eggs into a grasshopper, where they hatch and the larvae feed on the grasshopper. The wasp always finds a small cave to stash the grasshopper/incubator to hide it from other predators. When it finds one, it drags the grasshopper to the entrance, goes inside to make sure there are no other critters in the cave, then it goes back out and drags the grasshopper into the cave.

    But if you move the grasshopper, even a very short distance, while the wasp is in the cave, the wasp comes out, finds the grasshopper, drags it to the entrance, goes inside to check out the cave, and comes back to drag the grasshopper in. But if you’ve moved the grasshopper again, the wasp comes out finds the grasshopper, drags it back to the entrance of the cave, goes inside to check out the cave, and comes back out to drag the grasshopper in. But if you move the grasshopper again, etc.

    Researchers have gone through dozens of iterations of this routine, and the wasp always checks to cave again.

    Sentience or machine?

  • Eric Olsen

    insect brain

  • JR

    Would even insects experience extreme distress?

    My problem is that I would make the same emotional distinction as you do. I still have trouble killing bugs unless they’re mosquitos and they deserve it for picking on me. Which reaction also makes no sense.

    Intellectually, on the other hand, I can’t see how individual cells would feel anything like distress or pain. Pain would seem to be an emergent property of a critical mass of nerve cells specifically designed to send a signal to an even higher property of self-awareness. It would only exist in a network. It exists in vertebrates, I’m not so sure about anything “below” that. So no one cell can “feel” anything, even if it’s a nerve cell.

    Aside from that, would cells waste energy on “distress” when they’re short of nutrients? Wouldn’t they be more likely to shut down any processes that don’t lead directly to getting more food? Or, if they are part of a larger organism, they might even kill themselves to spare energy for more important cells (“programmed cell death” is part of so many other normal processes). They really are just machines. (And parts of machines.)

    It’s like the Ikea commercial – we feel sorry for starving cells because we are crazy. They have no feelings.

  • Eric Olsen

    those are very good points and I can’t really refute any of them individually, but I do have a very strong sense that the organism as a whole would sense that it was in a state of helplessness and deteriorating and feel distress as a result.

  • That’s a purely emotional response though, Eric.

    There’s no evidence that a lump of flesh with no real connection to any functioning brain has anyone to convey the information of pain to. It’s been clearly demonstrated with diseases like leprosy that the brain doesn’t register pain if the mechanism to transmit the information to the brain isn’t there. Well, if the brain is basically shut off and the cortex which would normally transmit that information is gone, then who exactly is experiencing the pain?

    And does pain exist if there’s no one to know that it’s happening?


  • I know the stance JR is arguing from – yet I can’t help wondering how many people shrilling about the painlessness of this judicially-mandated death are also slapping verbal wrists in the “foie gras” debate, and commiserating with chimps doing shampoo trials…

    I can no more decide whether there is any “Terri Schiavo” there to suffer than I can conclude there is God to punish those who cause her death. There isn’t enough information.

  • Eric Olsen

    but she has enough of a brain to do the things we see in the videos – she is not utterly incapacitated or in a coma. She is “conscious”

  • Yes, what’s left of her brain is connected to the exterior parts of her head. So when they stick a balloon in her face sometimes her eyes follow it. That’s not consciousness as anyone recognizes it, and it sure doesn’t mean she registers pain. One of the first test the doctors would have done on her was to prick various parts of her body with a pin, and when they did that they got no pain reaction at all.


  • Tristan

    I agree with Dr Pat entirely on this one.
    I know, as much as I feel most of this hoopla is about politics and media spotlight—for both sides/parties…I also had to pause at EO’s statement about “having a very stron sense” and ask myself: “is this solely gut reflex” or is there anything factually to support it.

    I don’t KNOW. All I DO know is that I wouldn’t want to be lying in a hospital bed and BE conscious (not saying she IS!!!)—and be starved to death. That wouldn’t be my preferential choice for self-exit!

    On the other hand, if we did allow for medically and legally sanctioned right-to-die methods and it was my choice being in that bed, I’d much prefer they just substituted some substance in my IV to make me go to sleep and not wake up.

    (this is my living will~~you all are witnesses! Don’t let them keep me alive for 15 plus years like that~~but pleaseeeee don’t STARVE me to death!!! Aggghhhhh….. I’m getting hungry!)

  • On the other hand – if there is no conscious person left in Terri Schiavo’s body, whose desire is it that Michael Schiavo is honoring in pursuing this death? It seems equally arguable that the “person” who wanted not to be kept alive (even if that is conceded) has, in fact, already died.

  • JR

    Ooh, this is getting fun!

    On the other hand – if there is no conscious person left in Terri Schiavo’s body, whose desire is it that Michael Schiavo is honoring in pursuing this death? It seems equally arguable that the “person” who wanted not to be kept alive (even if that is conceded) has, in fact, already died.

    Then who is being killed now?

  • Our society is being killed bit by bit by the handmaidens of irrationality?

    Did I win?


  • There is a body which still clings (however tenuously) to life. If Terri Schiavo is, in fact, brain dead, Michael Schiavo has no wife left for whom to defend a will to die – she and her will are already gone.

    The parents want to tend the flesh that is left – it would be kinder to let them.

    It just seems to me that once you concede “Terri Schiavo” is gone, you have undercut the moral and ethical argument her husband is making to retain her guardianship until the body dies as well.

  • Except that he does maintain that she didn’t want her body kept around in living death like this, so he’s still serving her interests by making sure the body follows the spirit into oblivion.


  • JR

    I know the stance JR is arguing from – yet I can’t help wondering how many people shrilling about the painlessness of this judicially-mandated death are also slapping verbal wrists in the “foie gras” debate, and commiserating with chimps doing shampoo trials…

    I didn’t think I was “shrilling”, but the point is well taken. People on both sides of this debate are seriously conflicted, as witnessed by the baby in Houston who was allowed to die under a law signed by G.W. Bush.

    Animal testing isn’t something I particularly object to, but surely some those animals suffer far more pain than Terri Schiavo ever will.

    As far as the parents, I don’t think their best interests are well served by letting them cling to the body the way they are, but that one definitely ain’t my call.

    And I don’t believe starvation is such a painful way to go. I’ve gone hungry for a few days and it doesn’t feel that bad. All indications are that it only gets less uncomfortable as you go.

    It’s also a time-honored way to die, as for example Glenn Seaborg, who, after the death of his wife and suffering a stroke himself, announced, “I’m going home to die”, and refused further food.

    If I decided I’d been around long enough (say in six or seven hundred years), I’d either stop eating or go take a hike in a blizzard.

    Now, burning to death – that would suck.

  • Shark

    A worse fate:

    reading about Terri Schiavo until one becomes a vegetable.

    (I wonder if Terri Schiavo is in any worse pain than a dead horse that’s being beaten verbally…?)

    Gotta run: I’m going to write my “Terri Schiavo vs Hunter S. Thompson as the Top Guitarist in the World Who Practices Self-Mutilation” post… and set a new indoor record for comments.

  • SFC Ski

    Good one, Shark.
    It gets worse at 1 AM, then the news channels go into endless repeat, all Terry, all the time!

  • Adeimantus has the best take on living wills. All the more surprising coming from a lawyer. From my own point of view all I see are both sides twisting the facts and their own previous statements for partisan advantage in future conflicts without any concern for Terri. See T + 7

  • In the newest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, Bush’s approval rating dropped to 45%. “The new poll found the largest drop for Bush came among men, self-described conservatives and churchgoers.”


    Recently, I had a conversation about the Schiavo case with two of my friends from school, both of whom are Republicans who voted for Bush. They were appalled by Congress having a special vote on this case to get around the legal system, and by Bush’s – for the lack of a better term – executive activism.

    Now, I think my friends finally understand why I kept telling them “you guys up here in New York don’t know what you’re getting into with right-wing religious conservatives from the South.” I think it’s pretty offensive the way they’re turning Terri Schiavo’s situation into a simplistic “culture of life” vs. “culture of death” divide – actually, I should say that I think that’s incredibly offensive – but if they want to keep doing the political equivalent of Napoleon’s march into Russia, it’s fine with me.

  • Thad, you do understand that the poll you cite directly contradicts your conclusion, right?

    As you describe it, the poll suggests that it’s those southern religious, right-wing conservatives who have been alienated from Bush by the Schiavo business.

    And from what I’ve seen, while there’s a small, very outspoken extreme religious minority – the ‘culture of life’ people who are in the keep her alive camp, most of the rest of that camp are liberals who just can’t accept the reality of death.


  • Wow Dave, who would have thought the Republican party is being fractured and torn apart because it is stepping on the toes of Separation of Powers just in order to placate liberals.

  • It shouldn’t be a surprise, Steve. When you have a party where one part places the Constitution higher than anything else and another part places the ‘Culture of Life’ first, when the two come into direct conflict that party is going to start having some problems.

    It’s just like the division in the Democrat party between socially conservative Catholics and Blacks and socially liberal northeaster intellectual elitists.


  • It shouldn’t be a surprise, Steve. When you have a party where one part places the Constitution higher than anything else and another part places the ‘Culture of Life’ first, when the two come into direct conflict that party is going to start having some problems.

    And which of these two factions of the Republican party are the camp of liberals again?

  • Shark, I’ll place my vote right now for HST – he tops anyone still (nominally) living in the self-mutilation department!

    Or “self mutilization,” as the Google searchers find it…

  • bhw

    Dave, the “culture of life” part is the Republican party, not the Democrats. As we liberals all know, because we’ve been told so often, we have created a culture of death. We favor abortion rights and assisted suicide laws, aka, the culture of death.

    Forget the Liberty, just give us Death!

  • >>And which of these two factions of the Republican party are the camp of liberals again?<< As I've said before I don't think this is a liberal/conservative issue at all. I imagine Liberal Republicans come down on both sides of the issue for religious reasons or personal reasons. Dave

  • >>Dave, the “culture of life” part is the Republican party, not the Democrats. << I never said it wasn't. But the point I keep making is that this characterization of the Republican party isn't accurate, and Thad's poll demonstrates it. Bush has lost support among Republicans because of his position on Schiavo. That means there are a significant number of Pro-Death Republicans he pissed off - or more likely Republicans who value due process and the Constitution higher than 'Culture of Life' issues. And as I said before, there is a huge chunk of the Democratic party which comes down on the keep the veg alive side of this issue. All those Catholics and african american fundamentalists, and people who have personal reasons for believing there's a point in keeping her going. This just doesn't break down along party lines. Maybe if it continues to be such a prominent issue it will force the party realignment which we need so badly. Dave

  • You’re confused Dave. The official reaction does and has fallen along party lines – with the very notable exception of the vote in the House of Representatives which was pathetic all around. Only 58 voted against it.

    The public reaction, thankfully, is on the side of mercy and, of course, 81 percent or whatever crosses all kinds of cultural and religious boundaries, though probably not too many African American fundamentalists were polled.

  • Temp. I’m just referring to the poll Thad quoted above which says that Bush’s approval among conservatives dropped when he supported the unconstitutional attempt to intervene. That doesn’t make me ‘confused’.

    You seem to agree that public opinion is strongly in favor of ending the whole farce, and support that broad has to cross party lines.

    I can’t believe I’m providing this link, but there’s a rather good article on Democratic support for the unconstitutional intervention on the World Socialist WebSite sponsored by the 4th International of all groups.

    CBS did a really comprehensive poll on the subject which shows how negatively people reacted to the congressional attempt to meddle in this mess. Although they clearly asked party affiliations they seem not to have bothered to compile most of their data on a party by party basis, though they say that opposition crosses party lines.


  • Dave said: “Thad, you do understand that the poll you cite directly contradicts your conclusion, right? As you describe it, the poll suggests that it’s those southern religious, right-wing conservatives who have been alienated from Bush by the Schiavo business.”

    Dave, you have a good point. Let me clarify what I mean. When I say “right-wing religious conservatives from the South,” I’m not talking about I’m not talking about Southern political conservatives or Southern Protestants generally – or even politically conservative Southern Protestants.

    I’m specifically talking about a subset: the “evangelical”/”born-again Christian” factions of the various Protestant denominations. The labels “evangelical” and “born-again Christian” are difficult to explain, and the media has struggled with this – after all, isn’t all Protestant theology based on being reborn in Christ’s love, and then spreading the message?

    Yes and no. Although those are key aspects of Protestant theology in general, “born-again Christian” and “evangelical” have come to refer to a subset of people, some of whom belong to the traditional denominations (Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc.), but many of whom belong to newer denominations. My definition of “evangelical” or “born-again Christian” would mean people who are socially conservative, believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, put a heavy emphasis on being “born-again” (a personal transformation during adulthood, in which someone identifies a specific turning point as the moment when they were saved), and, finally, believe that they must advocate for Christianity having a strong role in larger society and government policies, as part of their evangelism.

    In my observation/opinion, all of this “culture of life” vs. “culture of death” talk is an attempt to appeal to that base of evangelical Christians who came out and voted for Bush in November. So, while my earlier post may have sounded contradictory, I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are probably a lot of churchgoers, including a lot of Southern Protestants, and even a good many politically conservative Southern Protestants, who do not value this symbolic battle over the rule of law and federalism, and do not think that an emergency meeting of Congress to overrule a state’s high court was appropriate.

    The other day, I overheard some people in the locker room here at my school in NYC, talking about the place of religion in society. At one point, one guy said “I understand that religion is important, but some of these people, like the Methodists, are crazy.” I was taken aback, because the Methodist denomination is huge, politically diverse, and for the most part, very mild-mannered and middle-of-the-road. Calling Methodists “crazy” is kind of like calling Mr. Rogers a flashy dresser. Hopefully, as TIME and NEWSWEEK rush to put Southern Protestants on their covers, they’ll take the time to learn about some of the nuances.

  • The idea that methodists are crazy is not a new one. While they may seem mild if you’re not familiar with them, they’re pretty hard core. I know that our local methodist church are a bunch of scary zealots as bad as any fundamentalists in their way.


  • Rob H.

    And perhaps the definition of “evangelical” or “born-again Christian” should also include a “tendency to refuse to acknowledge that their view of religion may not be the only view – with a willingness to trample other people’s rights to their own beliefs where they contradict – whose members include, frighteningly enough, Jebb Bush and George W. Bush.”

    There is another group who advocated “having a strong role in larger society and government policies, as part of their evangelism” – they were called the Taliban. Do you even remotely see the similarity?

    There is a thing called separation of church and state, and it’s there for a reason – and if all of the Southern Protestants were living in Afghanistan a few years ago, they would understand perhaps how dangerous an unequivocal alliance between Church and State can be…

  • Well, there are definitely all kinds of congregations within the various denominations – and even all kinds of people within specific congregations. The Methodist church, in particular, is having a huge schism over gay marriage and other culture war issues.

    My parent’s church, which I grew up in, is the largest Methodist church in their city, and I would say that it spans most of the range of North Carolina’s political spectrum – some born-again Christians, some politically-conservative-but-not-evangelical Christians, and a lot of more moderate and liberal Christians. If I took the guy who called Methodists crazy to that church on a Sunday, I’m afraid he’d be very disappointed.

  • Rob H.

    ..not to in any way derrogate everyone’s rights to religious freedom, and the right to vote their concience which derives from those beliefs – however, too often I see the extreme right referring to the rules of god AS THEY BELIEVE THEM TO BE – being incorporated into the rule of the land… and just as they would be offended by extreme Muslim beliefs being made law – so should they understand concern about their belief systems being made law.

  • Eric Olsen

    I agree with Thad that’s it’s pretty pointless to generalize about entire denominations

  • rose

    this is such a sad story about terri it makes you wonder why are goverment dose not come in with the army and help were all killers and there is no help for are own people what is now in gods hands will be on the people own sins for killing a inocent person were killing her now as i write and there is no help for this person this is so wrong i don’t know how a judge can kill her and then let the people on death row still be feed and taken better care of yes we treat the killers and rappers better then this we should all now be guilty of just letting terri die

  • Eric Olsen

    we are too kind to killers and rappers

  • HW Saxton

    And English as a second language folks.

  • Bennett Dawson

    And no-punctuation-whatsoever folks.

    But hey, thanks to rose, I feel better about myself.


  • Geo

    The poor thing. This is such a sad, sad story. With many lost souls, not shedding the least bit of compasion for the girl, let alone her beloved family, who are deeply affected by the tragedy of it all. And some of you have the audacity to mock and joke.

    One truth can be wrought from this whole experience. Our government has ceased to be a democratic republic and is in reality an appellate system of government. I guess the unelected justices on the various tiers of the judical branch, make or break the laws, the moral code, the wishes of the people. Why aren’t they called on it? As I recall from civic’s class, or gov, or whatever… the system was set up as a series of checks and balances. I guess all the text books and the spine-less House of representatives, along with the executive branch… didn’t have the same text book as I did.

    Clearly, through checks and balances this could have been settled.

    Or, perhaps everyone wished this woman to die… they just didn’t expect it to over 2 weeks.

  • Tristan

    I don’t agree with Rose’s position RE:terri schiavo —
    but does that make you all feel better to make fun of her like that?
    Seriously–I thought we were supposed to deal and respond to the ISSUES and not the personalities here…..
    and I’d think making fun of someone because of their spelling, punctuation, and or english as a “second language” might be a little benaeath people who are more gifted and better educated; otherwise what good IS a “better” education–if it makes us meaner , you know?
    maybe there is something wrong with our education “system” if this is what it does to us……
    like i said– I think the opposite of Rose on the Schiavo position–but she seemed very sincere and well-meaning in what she wrote….

  • gonzo marx

    to Geo…

    i’m afraid i must disagree on your assessment of “checks and balances” NOT working..

    i believe it has worked in exactly the way it was intended..

    the original Court case determined that Terri’s wish was to NOT be kept alive under these circumstances..

    you can feel however you desire about that sentiment…but we are speaking about just the Law and the system here..

    Florida Law..as written by the state legislature is VERY clear in these circumstances, and once the Judge determined that the facts bore out the testimony of the husband and two other Witnesses , along with the medical facts found by impartial, Court appointed experts from more than one field…he made his Ruling..

    due process took the Case thru the Court system…up to the Supreme Court of the United States not taking the case over a year ago..after further appeals on different ground also going thru the system..as well as an Injunction from the Governor of the State at one point…it went back to the original Judgement

    where the System could have broken the intended Rules of checks and balances involved would have been if the illegal intervention by the Federal government had changed the outcome of the Court’s ruling…

    from a completely legal standpoint i am very happy that the federal courts and the 11th circuit apellate Court have upheld the Ruling of the lower court

    now..personally..i feel deeply for both sides of this very difficult Issue..

    but the System worked…those that are NOT happy with the outcome..for whatever their Motives…shoudl at least face the Reality that EVERYTHING was done exactly according to the Rule of Law

    i say it again..the System WORKED in this case…step back and view it with some Objectivity and i believe you will agree..

    cold comfort to the grieving Family, i know…but a good example of what it means to live under the Rule of Law..

    for those that feel this was some kind of miscarriage of Justice done by “activist judges” etc..

    i would ask you to re-examine and define your terms..

    an “activist judge” would have been one that OVERTURNED the lower court’s Ruling..since such action would have had NO basis in Florida Law as it has been written by the duly elected Legislature

    so, Geo..i would suggest that perhaps you should go back to the “textbooks” you mention..and read them over a bit more carefully…setting aside emotional coloring..and examine the FACTS presented therein…


  • Madspirit

    You heterosexuals are always so much about marriage and family. Well…the law says the spouse is the legal next of kin. One of the main reasons I fight so hard for us…gays and lesbians…to be able to marry…is because I want my girlfriend to make the difficult decisions…not some red-necked relative. Terry Shaivo’s husband has the right to make this decision…and if it were the other way…the conservatives would be supporting the husband. …but…things don’t go their way and they become the obvious hypocrits they really are. What the parents are doing is not humane or out of just pure love. It’s painful to lose a child…the hardest thing on the planet…I’ve heard…but you don’t take your brain-dead child…prop them up…and call them “Alive”. They talk about how she could improve. Well..she’s been in this state for 15 years. When is this amazing improvement going to start? This is pathetic and lewd. …and the woman had a RIGHT to die…not be propped up like a house plant. Grow up people.

  • apckrfan

    Not to mention the patients at the Hospice who had to live out their final days, take their final breaths to the noise of protests who had no business being there to begin with. If every death that resulted because an artificial feeding tube or other form of life support were pulled people would have very little to do with their time.

    Couple that with the fact that loved ones were denied entry or delayed entry into the Hospice and missed the death of their loved ones …

    It was a tragic situation. Her husband had the right to do what he did. Would it not have been easier to 8 years ago when he found out there was nothing to be done for her to give up and let her parents have her? It would have saved him a lot of headache and heartache.

    But he didn’t do that. So that leads me to believe that he truly believed she would not have wanted to be kept in this state. I sure wouldn’t and it would upset me to have to see my once vivacious and upbeat child in that position.

    Spouses and significant others discuss things with one another that they do not with their parents or siblings. Not to mention her parents have been quoted as saying they would do whatever it took to keep her alive, including amputing body parts.

    I am a parent and I am a parent who has lost a child. Would I do anything to get him back? Yes, but would I want him kept alive in such a state? No!

    If nothing else comes out of this situation, I hope that everyone will if not get a living will but at least go beyond telling their better half of their wishes. Tell your parents, tell your siblings, so there is no question.

  • Madspirit

    As I’ve already stated, I support Michael Shaivo and his right to make this decision for his wife. I think it is obscene and pathetic and CRUEL to pretend this woman is cognitive of anything. They should have let her die years ago.
    However, I think it is unkind and unneccessary to make fun of Rose for her opinion, her spelling, her grammer. She feels strongly and her feelings obviously come from the heart. I do not see how mocking her could make anyone feel better. It’s a plainly asshole thing to do.

  • sydney


    two questions;

    If you were told you would be in a vegatative state by morning and would have no cognitive or very little cognitive ability, would you prefer to live or die?

    Personally, if I had no cognative ability, I would choose to die without question. Why would I want to sit and stair at a wall for the next 40 years. That would be hell.

    If I did have cognative ability, I would DESPERATLEY want to die. Being concious of my life and citing incapacitated stairing into space for 40 fucking years? Give me a fucking break!!!! This is beyond humane. Absolute torture.

    2) Some people refuse to accept the inevitability of death. When a person can not support one or more of their body systems on their own, and are rendered unable to feed themselves and require life support as did MRs. Shaivo, then people must accept they the natural course is for them to die.

    It is not the job of science to keep a heart beating untill the tissue eventually desintegrates. Give me a fucking break. This is soooooooooo common in the hospitals these days. Wher unconcious victims are constantly ressucitated over and over and had the victim any ability to speak they would be saying.. “FOR GOD SAKES< JUST LET ME DIE!!!!!" People in western cultures need to get real and come to terms with our own mortality.

  • Madspirit

    I agree with most of what you say. If I was totally cognitive…I don’t know. Look at Stephen Hawking..a man I adore. He can move nothing…do nothing…but his mind is still brilliant and he still contributes greatly to our collective knowledge. Shaivo was not cognitive of anything.

  • sydney

    “What would Jeusus do?”

    — Who the fuck cares? JEsus doesn’t have jurisdiction over everyone in America. If anyone let Jesus, or thier interpretation of JEsus, determine my fate I’d be real pissed!

    In any case, if Jesus, were here to chyme in on the debate, he’d probably tell us to mind our own fucking business and let the family decide it amoungst themselves.

    Jesus never had anything to say about constitutes death. Thank god.

    YEt again the hard core Christians make me sick to my stomach. Pompous pricks!

  • sydney

    Stephen hawking is not in a vegatative state. Far from it…

    and he has full (nay, fullest) cognative ability

  • Madspirit

    That IS what I said…that Hawking is fully cognitive. I was responding to the guy who said he would not want to stay alive even if cognitive…IF his body did not work.

  • sydney

    ya I realize you said that he was cognative.

    I was merely suggesting that because he is Fully cognative (as you say), he is not relevant to the discusion. He can communicate his own wishes, carry move himself, talk etc..

    And I was also saying that he is not in a vegatative state. he has control over the movment of some of his body.

    I just didnt want you to use him as a comparison because, to me they’re are not comparable.

  • Madspirit

    Yes..Shiavo and Hawking are not comparable. …but it is relevant in responding to the guy who said he wouldn’t even want to be alive if fully cognitive but without functioning body. I love Hawking and would not have brought him into the discussion except to point out to that guy that some might think there is a reason to live…without body but with brain.

  • Eric Olsen

    doesn’t he type with his eyebrows?

  • Madspirit


  • sydney

    actually he types by burping. Between his assistant and himself, they have worked out a sort of morsecode language.

  • Linda

    How can you say it cost the family nothing to keep her alive. They weren’t paying for the hospice? Somewhere I read that the settlement money that Michael Schiavo got for Terri’s care went for her care and the lawyers.

  • Eric Olsen

    Medicare had been covering it for some time

  • gonzo marx

    Eric O sez…
    *Medicare had been covering it for some time*

    excellent point..which brings me to another problem i have with DeLay et al

    the same folks that were screaming about all this are the very SAME folks that rammed thru “tort reform” that would limit the damages from lawsuits such as the one cited here as well as the gutting of Medicare which has been covering here care in the hospice

    anybody else smell the Hypocrisy here?


  • Joyce

    The money won to provide care for Terri because her life expectancy was 50 years,Michael was allowed by the Court(Greer )to use it to pay for HIS attorney (Felos and others ) to kill her. Whats wrong with this picture? He didn’t even mention Terri wanted to die at the malpractice hearing, it was seven years later,right after he met Jodi he conveniently remembered Terri wanted to dehydrate to death. Yeah right.
    This whole thing with DeLay is a smoke screen to take attention away from the corruption in Florida Courts , DCF, the legislature and God knows where else.
    Terri was murdered by the Judicial branch of Government and all the rest just sat on their back side.

  • Eric Olsen

    the courts merely followed the law – perhaps the law should be changed