Auschwitz USA: Some Thoughts about The Schiavo Matter
As it turned out, autopsy showed that Terri Schiavo was indeed in a vegatative state. Nevertheless it was disconcerting that a duly appointed tribune of one of the United States, without giving life the benefit of a doubt, ordered that a woman die in the same manner as that prescribed by Nazis for concentration camp prisoners.
March 24, 2005
One of the circus acts surrounding Terri Schiavo’s hospice includes a huge banner declaring the spot to be "Auschwitz USA." I was wondering if anyone would recall that the Nazis murdered some concentration campers by starving them. One of those victims was Catholic saint, Fr. Maximillian Kolbe. The priest volunteered to die in place of a family man who had been selected to meet an execution that was far more prolonged than gassing.
In the United States of 2005, the Nazis are the people who dread Nazis. These are the intelligent, sophisticated people, the people who think that any contributions of religious faith to res publica, any expression of religious faith at all, are ominous signs that we are slouching toward Berkinau. However, as it was in the last century, when it comes to countenancing and committing atrocities, the godless are still way out in front of the godly.
I've became as weary of people yakking about this being “a government of laws” as I am tired of hearing about conjoined twins. I keep thinking of Inspector Javert, the black-letter legalist in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. There may be literary examples, unknown to me, that better illustrate legal positivism, but Javert, a product of a France that had thrown off monarchy and the church, represents the little monsters that are created under governments of laws. Government must also be of people who make human laws with regard to the natural and moral ones.
Still Out Of touch
The U.S. Catholic bishops issued a 5-paragraph statement urging the continued sustenance of Terri. Given that there are fewer Catholics who are bugged about the culture of death than they are about Social Security, the Schiavo matter would have been a moment for the bishops to issue statements -- to be read from pulpits across the land -- about the sanctity and dignity of innocent life, the preeminence of God’s law over Man’s, the consideration of life issues over all others in the selection of leaders and judges.
Such an effort would have even given Cardinal McCarrick numerous opportunities for camera-hogging.
Instead, however, the bishops this week declared another war on capital punishment. This is a penalty that the official teaching of the Catholic Church permits and which 68% of Catholics are said to favor. I don't blame pro-life Catholics for asking “Huh?” It looks as if it’s business-as-usual at the USCCB, as if there is more concern about liberal/non-issues and about scumbags than there is about the innocent helpless.
And finally, George W. Bush. The words he speaks about the Culture of Life may only be from the codebook of Karl Rove in cahoots with Deal Hudson, but right now, they are much better lines than those of the Javerts and anti--Nazi Nazis.
Seven years ago, I certainly would not have imagined that the U.S. Bishops would be gearing up for a long battle with the government over freedom-of-conscience issues centering around contraception and abortion. A sea change has truly taken place when our shepherds regard the government as a foe, even to the point of dissolving social services partnerships.
As for George W. Bush, he turned out to be the most pro-life president that the U.S. has yet to have, mainly exercising what power he could in foreign affairs.
His finest moment came when, during his efforts to defund Embryonic Stem Cell research, he pointed to a group of kids and declared, "These are children, not body parts."
Too many Americans -- including conservative Americans -- are Báthories and Kevorkians who would mine others' bodies for health needs.
Now as medical science shifts to very promising research in morally licit adult stem cells, embryonic cells are mainly of interest to Báthories who fall for snake oils, snake-oil companies that want their stock to tick up and petrified ideologues who defend a "science" and "reason" that they use little of and know little about.
On the shadowy side, Bush II was also an archetype of many a pro-life politician to come, including those who are running for president in 2012.
In such candidates/officeholders, life issues are bundled with neo-con foreign and defense policies and with the expansion of corporate control of our government and lives under the guise of creating free-markets and jobs.
Defense of life is always paramount, but the prospects of endless war in The Middle East and the overshadowing of justice and the general welfare by commercial interests are pretty big issues as well.
Pro-life voters must constantly question the leaders they support: "What are we getting and what are we giving up?"