Is Terri Schiavo dying a martyr’s death?

by JHS, Esq.

Last Friday afternoon, I was typing an e-mail shortly after learning that Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube had been removed. As I typed the words “I can’t imagine what Bob and Mary Schindler are going through right now,” my eyes focused on her mother’s name: Mary.

It occurred to me that Palm Sunday was just 2 days away. Palm Sunday, sometimes observed in my church as Palm/Passion Sunday because the entire Passion story is read aloud during worship, marks the beginning of Holy Week.

And it was then that I recognized the irony: In 2005, another woman named Mary is spending Holy Week watching her beloved child die.

I was glued to the tv on Sunday night as the House of Representatives debated and then passed legislation designed to give Terri one more chance at life.

But I awoke Monday morning to be dismayed by U.S. District Judge James Whittemore’s failure to schedule the hearing first thing that day. When I learned that he had set the hearing to begin at 3:00 p.m., I knew that Terri had moved closer to death.

And, of course, hopes were again dashed this morning when I awoke at 4:00 a.m. to learn that Judge Whittemore had denied relief to her parents, Bob and Mary. I watched Mary pleading for her daughter’s life this afternoon, begging someone — anyone — to help prevent her daughter from dying of thirst.

And I was reminded of another mother named Mary who, as she watched her child dying, heard him say, “I thirst.”

The case of Terri Schiavo, like the case of Robert Wendland, is a morality battle. It is about good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, moral vs. immoral. I will demonstrate that beyond a shadow of a doubt through this blog.

If Terri Schiavo dies this week from dehyration and starvation over the objections of her parents, brother, and sister, will she die a martyr’s death? Will she become, in the weeks, months, and years that follow, a symbol of how this country lost its way? How we as a nation managed to, as my friend Wesley J. Smith says, “lost our moral compass?”

Is that Terri’s destiny?

God forbid.

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