Ten years ago Terri Schiavo, a severely disabled woman living in Florida, was starved to death—US courts upheld her husband’s decision that, in effect, Terri wouldn’t want to live this way, and so her life supports were removed. Many empathized with the court’s decision, stating that Terri was not mentally capable of expressing her wishes. As I sat in my wheelchair outside the hospice facility where Terri was dying, I knew it was a watershed moment that would jeopardize the lives of all Americans with disabilities.
The first time Dan Pollock and I bumped wheelchairs, I was taken aback by the severity of his paralysis and his thin, frail body. Dan was born with a significant neuromuscular disease, and some people have said that he’d be better off dead than disabled. But Dan is full of life. It troubles me when people say he’s suffering needlessly or that he is imprisoned in his body. Such phrases allege to be compassionate but reveal a fundamental fear that actually means, “I would hate to live like that.”
Abortion is a growing concern worldwide. Much of the debate centers on whether an unborn child can and should be concerned a person with inherent value as a person. CBHD's Executive Director, Paige Cunningham, recently spoke with G.L.O.B.A.L. Justice regarding the key aspects of the debate, the basis for varying perspectives, and the impact of abortion both in the U.S. and globally.
In a previous essay, “Death and the Church,” I wrote that the local congregation needs to address the end of life and its attendant issues. Given our secular culture’s confusing responses to suffering and death—death is either the ultimate human foe to be conquered at any cost, or is preferable to a “diminished quality of life”—many believers are co-opting a worldview that runs contrary to historic Christianity. While we are most appreciative of the fine and informative work of ministries such as The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity, the “think tank” cannot replace the local parish as the center of Christian education.