Thoughts to Ponder

Playing God

I doubt that anyone doesn't know the name Terri Schiavo by now. As I write this she is still clinging to life, but by the time you read it, she might well be dead. There have been lots of things written on her case and I don't plan on going into detail about it, but I do want to use it as a case in point about the sanctity of life and what is happening to our society.

What bothers me about this case is the implications it has for all of us and where our society is going, including the church. Make no mistake about this case, this is State sanctioned murder. Giving someone food and water is not 'extraordinary life saving measures' it is just normal health care. Withholding food and water isn't just withholding medical treatment, it is starvation and amounts to murder.

As I said, I don't want to go too deeply into this case, but some things do need to be said. For example, this is not just about the removal of the feeding tube. I disagree with that action but that is not what bothers me most. The thing that bothers me most is that this same Judge has ordered that the patient not be given anything by mouth. No water, no food, nothing. This should bother anybody who hears it, but it doesn't seem to.

What could be the possible reason for withholding food and water from her orally? The only possible reason I can see is that they are afraid she would swallow and thereby foil their plans for her murder. I have been in the medical field, but even if I hadn't, I would still know this is the case just using common sense. Let me explain. The Judge has ordered the feeding tube removed because he says he believes the husband, that Terri would not want to 'live' in the condition she is in. So in effect he has ordered her death.

That is an important fact, the Judge has ordered her to be starved to death. He knows that his order will cause her death, it is a medical fact and just common sense. Now with that in mind why not allow her to be given anything by mouth? The technical reason they give is that they don't believe she can swallow. Okay, so what? What is the problem if she is not able to swallow and they give her something by mouth? The only problem would be that she might choke to death. That's it. That is what could happen, she could die.

Does that make any sense in light of the order to stop feeding her, which no one anywhere disputes will cause her death? How can the Judge be worried about her choking to death if he has ordered her death already? The other possibility is that she might swallow and live!! That does not fit into the order of the Judge who has ordered her death and appears not to want anything to stand in the way of that happening.

A normal person swallows about 2 liters of saliva per day. Those patients who cannot swallow still produce this amount of saliva but instead of swallowing it, it drips out of their mouths in the form of drool. Take a look at the pictures and videos of Terri and see if you see any drool. If not then you can be sure she is swallowing her own saliva.

What's next? Will we start starving Alzheimer's patients who might have made a statement that they would not want to live with that horrible disease? They are not capable of feeding themselves either. Oh, they can chew and swallow, but they can't fix their own food or obtain it, they must be helped. So why not withhold food and water from them too? No, they would not die on their own if they were given food, but where is the difference from the Schiavo case? She will not die on her own either, unless they continue to refuse her fluids and food.

Make no mistake about what this is really all about: Euthanasia! The courts have found a new right for us, the right to die, but it is a bogus right. There isn't and has never been a right to die. If you believe there is, then call the local Police and tell them you have the right to die and have decided to die this afternoon and you would like them to send someone by to pick up the body. You will find out very quickly that you don't have the right to die. There are laws in every state against suicide. Why, you can't prosecute anyone who has killed themselves? The only reason for such laws is so that the state can step in and stop you before you commit suicide. So much for the right to die!

This is all word games for a new right, the right for the government to decide whose life has enough quality to continue, or whose life is a burden to the state or others and therefore has no right to continue. They are playing God.

My real problem with this is the attitude of many believers. I have heard from people, I know believe in Christ, that 'they should just let the poor woman die in peace.' The problem as I have already stated is that she is not dying, she is being killed by being deprived of food and water.

When a believer can agree with 'allowing' someone to die, who is not terminal there is a problem. The problem is that they don't understand the sanctity of life. All human life is precious in God's sight. There are exceptions but even the exceptions prove the rule. Look at what God has to say:

Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." [NIV]

When you read God's word you will find that there are exceptions to the taking of human life, but as I said they exceptions prove the rule. The exceptions are punishment for disobeying God's law. God believes in deterrence even if the so called 'experts' today don't.

Nowhere will you see the idea of a right to die or the idea of mercy killing. Human life is to be protected because man[kind] was created in the image of God. Only God has the right to decide when a person dies. Whether you are talking about suicide or murder the person who commits those crimes is acting as God, either of their own life or someone else's.

I even had a Christian friend tell me that if his daughter were in the state that Terri Schiavo is he would mercifully kill her to keep her from suffering. This is a person whom I respect, like and have found much common ground as far as beliefs are concerned, but on this one we can't agree. I love my wife and children as much as anyone loves their loved ones, but it is not an option to play God. God is the only one who has the right.

I have no problem with DNR's (do not resuscitate orders) meaning that someone who is dying not be kept alive with a ventilator or other artificial means. But to refuse food and water or in some other way kill the person is murder.

As a Christian I believe it is doubly important that you look at the implications of cases like this. What could be next? We already have abortion up to and including the time of delivery (partial birth abortion). But if we allow the courts to decide the 'right to die' issue, what is to stop them from allowing infanticide? A child is not capable of feeding himself either, so what about a child with Down syndrome? Since someone, either the parents or the courts, could decide that no one would want to live a life with Down syndrome, why feed the child? Why not just let them 'die in peace'? If you keep up with the news you will know that less then two weeks ago two doctors in England were acquitted of murder in a late term abortion case because the court found they had acted in good faith. What did they do? They terminated a baby after the date that it is lawful because the mother found out the child had a cleft palate. The doctors successfully claimed that it would be cruel to make the child live with such a disability!!

All abortion is murder, but don't miss the implications of this case. What is to stop those same doctors from killing the child moments after a live birth for the very same reason? The same is true about any child with any disease that the courts or parents decide would make the life less than worthwhile.

We have already taken God out of our schools, now we are trying to take Him off His thrown and place man there. It is up to God when a person is born and when a person will die, to make these decisions is to play God. Sinners often play God, but when Christians start doing the same things or agreeing with those who do, the end must be very near.

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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March 2005