Saturday, September 25, 2004

A Meteorological Spanking?

Here we are, awaiting the Hurricane with the light brown hair. There have been so many of them that the forecasters are starting to garble their phrases. One today was muttering about "hurricane symptoms." I kind of like that! It sort of makes it sound like this hurricane season has been like a recurring fever, or perhaps an infection that just won't go away. The symptoms seem to be a lot of aggressive cumulo-nimbus sneezing. One of my friends sent me an email asking what Florida did to have earned all these hurricanes. Was something going on here that had angered The Big Guy? Funny she should ask that. Because in today's paper I read that the Florida Supreme Court had ruled that a husband who had wanted his wife put to death could now legally do so. That's Terry Shiavo, the brain damaged woman who has been the subject of a bitter court battle between her husband and her parents. Ms. Shiavo suffered a health episode a number of years back that left her unable to communicate or feed herself. So she is fed with a feeding tube. Her husband has gone on to a new life with another woman whom he has a child with, and insisted care be withdrawn for his wife. And it was. Just last summer they withdrew food and water and were going to let her die. But Ms. Shiavo's parents fought back, insisting their daughter was not brain dead, and persuaded the governor to sign "Terri's Law," which would allow the legislature to overrule the court and resume feeding. There are a lot of controversial aspects to this case, and I couldn't help but notice reading, in the very same newspaper where this story was on the front page, about a smaller news item from Pennsylvania. That headline read, "Intruder Cuts Feeding Tubes," and describes a story in which six residents of a Philadelpha area nursing home were endangered. Police were looking for suspects and questioning the staff. So is the Florida Supreme Court "playing God" by essentially condemning the brain damaged woman to death by starvation? The phrase Playing God is tossed around a lot these days, but I don't think it does justice to what's going on lately. It is more like we are Impersonating God. Playing implies we are kidding around, and I don't think we are. It is a full-fledged Divine Identity Theft. And we are running around with God's credit card and ruining his credit rating! The Ms. Shiavo case is but one example. She is not being kept alive by extraodinary means. She is not on a ventilator. She is just being given food and water. That is a basic requirement for life. She is not living a life most of us would want to live, but God (the Real One) doesn't seem ready to take her yet, either. Maybe she is saying a lot of prayers for us. Maybe God is testing our humanity with her case. If so, I think we flunked. Florida also had a big announcement last year from a group that had plans to begin human cloning. Gee, we aren't playing God. We ARE God, ain't we? If it's scientifically possible, it must be good. Give me that apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Cloning, stem cell research, partial birth abortion, why, we'll bake you an American Apple Pie with it all! Arguments have been all over the Moral Map on abortion of course, so I'm just mentioning what newspapers so coyly call "a certain type of late term abortion." Hmmm. Is that like a "certain type of heart attack" -- the kind that leaves you dead? What's with the embarrassingly vague euphemism? It's actually an accurate description. Baby is delivered except for the head. Then it is killed while only the head remains in the birth canal. That sounds like a partial birth to me. It's also sort of like inviting someone to your house for dinner and attacking them with the cutlery on their way in the door. Bad Medical Manners, maybe? A "breach" of etiquette? All I know is there is no medical reason involving a woman's health that makes it necessary to kill a baby on its way out of the womb. So this late term abortion thing, whether you call it "a certain type" or not, is just wrong. Yes wrong. I'm willing to pass judgment on it. Have gavel, will travel. The rest of it may be open to public debate. This one shouldn't be. That same baby that's being killed on its way out of the womb could just as easily be delivered. And given to an adoptive family. So a society that is comfortable with partial birth abortions should also resign itself to being comfortable with hurricanes every other week. People in Florida have been interviewed. They they are tired of hurricanes! Well no kidding. And maybe God is tired of partial birth abortions and attempts to establish euthanasia and cloning. No, I don't think God is actually punishing us for trying to impersonate Him. Too many innocent people are in the way of these things. I don't for a moment believe they are trying to clone anything in Haiti, and that poor country bore the brunt of the deaths from Hurricane Jeanne. I DO believe He may be trying to get our attention. That is the question we must ask ourselves in this time of burgeoning natural disasters. Do we want to depend on God? Or do we want to depend on FEMA?

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