The West is that part of the world that has been deeply influenced by the morality of Christianity and Judaism. Combined with her Greek and Roman heritage, this part of the world invented the modern University, discovered science, brought the blessings of modern medicine to the world, and helped perfect constitutional government.Western civilization has been far from perfect. Sometimes it fails to live up to its commitment to justice and other virtues. As commitment to religious values has declined, it has more and more engaged in massive genocide and cultural suicide. However, I can think of no better place to live in all of human history. To this point, defenders of best best of Western civilization have been able to hold off the worst abusers.Sadly, much of Western Europe has turned from its cultural heritage. It has embraced what Pope John Paul II calls the “culture of death.” This culture glorifies the living at the expense of the unborn and the dying. It seeks to perpetuate its own comfort and ease at the expense of the pain that the Designer uses to make great souls. At the start of life it murders the inconvenient. At the end of life, it kills the expensive and disturbing.As a result, most of these nations cannot even reproduce themselves. These are nations in decline that are living off the past. What will happen when their populations, aging and without transcendent purpose, can no longer sustain the democratic structures they have been given? Plato would predict tyranny. That seems about right to me.Florida is a very religious state. There is no doubt that the vast majority of its people, of all races and ethnic groups, embrace traditional Western values. It is a conservative state as the last presidential election proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. Traditional believers, Christians and Jews, form a powerful block in state politics. Their governor, Jeb Bush, is a great example of a real Republican who is willing to risk his political clout on defending human life.Today a member of the judicial branch, the least representative of all the branches of government, decided that the executive could not protect a citizen to that state. Unelected judges at a higher level of government decided that this judge, himself elected, can decide who lives and who dies. The Founders believed a human right to life came from God. The judicial branch of Florida now believes that this right depends on the whims of judges.Terri Schiavo must not be killed. She is a woman about my job who could live for decades. No man knows the state of the human soul during those decades. What might she be learning? What might she be experiencing when she has visitors? Can she still experience love? No person can say, but a judge has decided that she must die.What is to be lost if Terri Schiavo is allowed to live? If she is brain dead, then allowing her parents to care for her will not cause Mrs. Schiavo any pain. She is gone. It would be a mercy to her parents to allow them to care for the daughter they love or at least her physical shell. If she is not brain dead, as the husband claims, then keeping food and water from her is murder of an innocent.It might be replied that the husband knows that in this case Mrs. Schiavo would wish to die. However, this is not his decision. In the end, it is not even the decision of Mrs. Schiavo. Our life comes from God. We have no right to take it. In most states there is no right to suicide. One cannot give life and so one cannot take it. If I cannot take my own life, then certainly government or family members have no right to take my life.We are not talking about prolonging death or extreme measures to keep “nature” from running its course. All persons in a coma need feeding. Many recover. Schiavo will not die for decades with basic medical care. There is no need to prolong dying if a person expresses a wish not to have extreme medical care. In the end, all of us will die and there is no reason to hide from that moment. It can be allowed to happen in God’s good time. Schiavo is a middle-aged woman who will not die unless we make her die.Will Florida join the Netherlands and other dying lands in declaring that the right to innocent human life can be taken away be human decisions? Will Florida leave the West for the uncertain land governed by tyrannical judges most of them unelected by the people? (The judge in this most recent case is elected, but the judicial precedent he uses came from the higher court decisions.)How can the people of Florida allow a man’s daughter to be taken from him by the decision of a court?
Essay / Culture