THERESA MARIE “TERRI” SCHINDLER (Schiavo)

December 3, 1963 - March 31, 2005

© Copyright, March 31, 2005, Tim Arensmeier

 

After years of legal battles over her being, Terri has died.  No more battles with her probably being capable of understanding everything around her. 

 

The state mandated murder of her by depriving her of nourishment and water is a truly dark day in our history.  No convicted chain saw murderer has ever been put to death in our country as this lady was. 

 

I will define my terms as follows:  killing - takes place in war when combatants fighting over a specific plot of ground take the life of another in either defense of or in the aggressive acquisition of a piece of ground.  Murder, while ending in the identical result of killing, goes more to the motive of the murderer, i.e., when an individual determines that another no longer has the right to live (and at this juncture, Jesus made the point that if we're angry with our brother without cause, we've guilty of this sin, irrespective of whether or not the other person lives on or dies), and execution is what the state does when it takes the life of a convicted murderer or person guilty of any capital crime.  The bible even has a category which we've ascertained as being manslaughter, in which one person is responsible for the death of another, but not because of malice as much as accident.

 

There were so many inconsistencies with the manner in which Terri was murdered.  Inconsistent with our constitution, the right for a fair and open trial of a mentally handicapped individual.  Inconsistent, in that Terri Schindler was never on life support, and was not in a persistent vegetative state of mind, according to many eyewitnesses, whose testimony was not permitted by a single judge, as he had already (apparently) made up his mind that she should die.  Inconsistent, from a purely human level of decency, her family was precluded from being with her in her last moments.  The fact that she was forbidden by the Florida State Police last rites by her priest, unless the State approved priest was holding the hand of the family priest, lest he grant her a crumb of bread or a dampness of wine on her lips . . . 

 

This "Culture of Death," which had its current genesis in the Roe v. Wade decision of judges "making law," rather than interpreting the constitution and evaluating the legitimacy of laws as promulgated by the legislatures . . . seems to me to have found its logical conclusion in this debacle.

 

I use the last name Schindler because Michael Schiavo had abandoned his putative relationship as husband to Terri in that he has taken up with at least two different women, having two children by one of them, all the while precluding even minimal rehabilitation for Terri while her parents have plead with the legal system, to care for her properly.  But, to no avail.

 

Do you, as I, see a relatively ominous similarity between this slippery slope we're on that of Nazi Germany?  When judges determine who has the right to live, and who should not be permitted to live, we are in a murky whirl, as I see it.

 

Doesn't our constitution prescribe three separate but equal branches of government? 

  1. Legislative - makes laws
  2. Executive - carries out (executes) laws, and
  3. Judicial - interprets laws

Since when, does a single judge have the superior power to thumb his nose at the legislative and executive branches of our government? 

 

As believers in Jesus Christ, what does all of this mean?  For starters, it strikes me that we need to personally reaffirm our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.  While we have historically had a government which pretty much took its organization of checks and balances from the bible, we seem to be living in a time when due to a lack of continuing in God's Word, where we would become Christ's disciples and know the truth and that truth would set us free -- both free from the bondage of sin in our personal lives as well as have the collective opportunity for political freedom unprecedented in the world's history -- it appears that we're loosing those freedoms which we've taken for granted for entirely too long.

 

It seems to me that this is a time to again look to the bible and recommit to the reading of, study of, memorization of and the determination to be the doers of God's word, whether anybody else does this or not!

 

God's people have lived through some horrific days in the history of the church.  We have no guarantee that we're not apt to experience similar days in the future. 

 

The Church - here intended to mean the collective reflection of the Body of Christ - has been too latitudinarian and too politically correct for entirely too long.  We have not called sin, sin.  We have equivocated on passages of scripture and quibbled over what words of Jesus he actually said, as opposed to what is recorded in scripture that he didn't say.  Remember the "Jesus Seminar"?  This kind of whittling down of the scriptures has taken a toll on how the Church has presented the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

 

It has seemed to me that one should either accept the bible as God's revelation of himself to mankind, replete with his authority over us and our lives, or reject the thing in its entirety.  To pick and choose -- which appears to have been done for entirely too long -- will grant the theological and political environment in which we seem to be living today.  Few of the old landmarks or moorings remaining in place.

 

Terri Schindler was just one person, over whom her estranged husband who wanted her dead, gained power over her life and her parents through activist judges, after she was found to be brain damaged and incapable of continuing to be the pretty, vivacious person she had previously been.

 

Who will be next?  People with Alzheimer's?  How 'bout people with ALS?  When will the Down Syndrome people fall under this decision?  Historically, the followers of Jesus Christ, showed concern for human life even at their own risk.  This series of decisions which has caused Terri's death appears to me to encroach on our collective life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

 

Our Constitution guarantees those, not the bible.  It's a good idea, and wonderful document.  I believe it's time for us to pray that our government will again bother to uphold it as the writers intended that it be implemented.  I thank God that we live under a constitutional form of democratic republic, and not an oligarchy . . . which some seem to think we should live under, i.e., some judges who are increasingly gaining power over our lives, i.e., Terri Schindler's.

 

To say I'm concerned would be an understatement.  To say I'm still offering to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving is still true.  We're forgiven!  We're redeemed.  I just trust that somehow, in our national conversation over this matter, we may once again regain that idea embodied by our founders that our people should be so well educated as to ascertain whether or not we're being governed by legislators in consonance with the authority of God's Word.  While I'm not holding my breath, I am praying to that end.

 

May God grant peace and his comfort to the family of Terri Schindler.

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

    Tim

Web posted:  April 29, 2005

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