Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Screwtape Revisited

Douglas Wilson weighs in on the Terri Schiavo situation and the way words are being obscured to serve evil ends:

As we speak, by order of the court, Terri Schiavo is being starved to death in Florida. But there are other victims, among them the godly use of words. When men want to obscure their lusts, or hide their greed, they always create a fog of words. Obscure, deny, lie, evade, change, slice, spin, and counterattack.

All this to say something that should be obvious -- food is not medical treatment. We are not talking about a genuinely difficult ethical dilemma created by some marvel of medical technology. There are times when some artificial means of keeping a body alive are a form of doctors trying to play God. But giving someone food does not fall into that category. The standard here is not life, or death. The standard is always found in answer to the question, “Who do we think we are? God? Or men answerable to God?”

The court is not “letting Terri die,” and this is what I meant when I said these scoundrels are doing more than just killing her. They are murdering words so that they may do as they please with men and women. Withholding food is not “letting someone die.” Smothering Terri with a pillow would not be “letting her body take its natural course when oxygen is not present.” And inability to follow an argument of this nature is a profound moral failing.

Making the same point in narrative form, Meghan Cox Gurdon examines this through her essay, Screwtape Revisited: With Gratitude (and Apologies) to C. S. Lewis.