- The Washington Times - Monday, January 31, 2005

Let Terri go

In “Save Terri Schiavo” (Commentary, Saturday), Terence Jeffrey argues that removing Mrs. Schiavo from a feeding tube after 15 years violates the principle that “All human life is sacred because God made it so, and no man can change that.”

I want to point out that not all people of faith agree with Mr. Jeffrey’s argument. As a Christian, I feel morally disturbed by the idea of keeping a person alive for years and years in a vegetative state with a feeding tube when all hope of recovery is lost.

I believe in God and life after death. By being kept on artificial life support, Terri Schiavo’s soul is being prevented from passing on to God, though she is unable to do anything here on Earth. In other words, she is trapped in limbo, unable to function and not permitted by her parents and the Florida government to exit this world gracefully and take her place in heaven.

Mrs. Schiavo’s life has become nothing but a political football. The feeding tubes keep going in and out of her poor body with each new law and court decision. Meanwhile, she lies in bed unable to think, move or communicate because her brain is so severely damaged. There is nothing sacred about that. It makes a mockery of human life, as if we were put here simply to exist in a physical body for as long as possible.

In the past, before artificial life support was invented, people like Mrs. Schiavo would have been allowed to die in peace and go to heaven rather than being sustained indefinitely in a zombielike state.

Most Christians would have seen nothing wrong with this. Just because certain medical technology is available does not mean it should be used indiscriminately.

There are indeed moral and spiritual issues involved in the case of Mrs. Schiavo, but they are not what some people think. For this Christian, “saving” Terri Schiavo does not mean forcing her to continue to suffer without purpose. It means letting her go to be with God.

ERIC STETSON

Burke

Lessons on life and death

The prevalence of anti-Semitism in Europe is only one example of forgotten lessons regarding the Holocaust (“Lessons learned?” Editorial, Saturday). Despite the other Washington newspaper’s focus on Vice President Dick Cheney’s outfit during Poland’s Holocaust commemoration, our vice president, among other visionary Americans, has shown the moral fortitude to pursue the course of “never again.”

Germany has gone from extreme militarism to extreme pacificism, but both extremes are morally bankrupt. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s words at the United Nations also ring hollow. America’s commitment in Iraq illustrates that it is one of the few countries in the world that truly understands the lessons of World War II.

BRETT FREEMAN

Chicago

Your editorial “Lessons learned?” poses a chilling question: How are we to keep from having the Holocaust happen again? Well, it is apparent from the statistics that the underlying problem is education, both in Europe and here in the United States.

The refusal of educational leaders to focus on history, both European and American, is appalling. What we used to call “civics” classes do not exist anymore. Children are no longer taught the history of their own countries. How few of our children can name the 13 original Colonies? Recite the preamble to the Constitution?Or the Declaration of Independence?

In Europe, the same reluctance to teach history exists. More children know the names of the Beatles than they do the names of their own representatives. A history of Germany’s horrible time of Nazism and the existence of the death camps should be taught as a primary subject.

How in the world are children to know these things took place if we don’t tell them? Soon, those teachers who were alive when it happened, or even are children of those people, will be gone. Who will carry on the message? We must not let it die along with the 6 million Jews.

“Never again” will translate into “Never what again?”

JACK DORWIN

Livingston, Texas

The irony of the Supreme Court deciding not to hear Terri Schiavo’s case on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade was raised by Cal Thomas in “Life and death by the court” (Commentary, Friday). I suppose I should not have been surprised by the court’s action. After it threw down the Bill of Rights’ unalienable right to life in 1973, no other rights could logically be ensured. So now, 32 years later, it is legal for a man to starve his wife to death because he apparently finds his wedding vows too burdensome.

This has been a progression of events. First the Supreme Court made it legal to kill unborn babies. Then, in 1982, the state of Indiana declared it legal to starve a baby to death up to six days after birth in the infamous Baby Doe case. (It took the baby six days to die.)

Later, doctors who helped end pregnancies were not charged with murder — after all, the endings were abortions. More recently, partial-birth abortion was defended by a gaggle of politicians and abortion rights supporters.

Also ironic is that this progression has happened before, yet we repeat the same mistake. During the same week in which Roe v. Wade was remembered, the United Nations celebrated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Auschwitz was not the start of the Nazi effort. It was the end. The Nazis, too, started with the unborn, then the handicapped, the elderly and finally the Jews.

History repeats. While we commemorate the end of Auschwitz, it is apparent that we have forgotten nonetheless. Auschwitz has become an abstraction. We vow never to allow such a horror to happen again, but we fail to examine our own path.

Need proof? The American counterpart of the Nazi eugenic effort is still alive, well and funded with our tax dollars. Before the United States’ entry into World War II, Margaret Sanger and her organization shared sympathies and ideas for human experimentation and extermination with the Nazis. The war’s end and the exposure of the death camps led to a cooling of domestic sentiment toward Mrs. Sanger. But she regrouped, repackaged her message, and Planned Parenthood has since succeeded in killing more people than Adolf Hitler ever dreamed.

Will we remember before it is too late?

GREG WINSTON

Springfield

Arabic airwaves

I am writing in response to the review of “Al-Jazeera” (Books, Sunday) by Brendan Conway. After reading the review, I am compelled to take issue with the comment that Alhurra Television is “floundering” in the Middle East. In fact, Alhurra is far from floundering. Along with Radio Sawa, Alhurra Television is the first American mass media vehicle to allow direct communication with the people of the Middle East. Most recently, Alhurra presented the Iraqi people, as well as viewers from around the region, candidate debates, news, views and interviews regarding the elections in Iraq that were not available through the indigenous media.

According to ACNielsen research across the Middle East, Alhurra’s weekly viewership is between 12 percent and 33 percent, depending on the country surveyed. Also according to ACNielsen, between 59 percent and 81 percent of Alhurra viewers find the news to be reliable. By any standard of television measurement, these are impressive numbers.

Alhurra is attracting millions of viewers with credible news and information.

NORMAN J. PATTIZ

Chairman

Middle East Committee

Broadcasting Board of Governors

Los Angeles

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