Two or Three (.net)

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Against the status quo

by Aaron Earls [+/-] show/hide

As most of you probably already know, the judge has said he will not order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube back in.

For the most part, Seeker is the one who post things that are against the status quo. Today, I am going to do that with this case.

First, you need to know that I believe the feeding tube should not be removed. I believe Michael Schiavo is a snake in the grass and a terrible, lying "husband." I believe that Terri's parents should fight as hard as possible to save their daughter's life. I believe what is happening in Florida amounts to government sanctioned torture and murder. Having said all that, I am not sure if I agree with what Congress and President Bush did over the weekend when they passed and signed a piece of legislation that removed the case from state jurisdiction and placed it in the federal courts.

Think long term about this situation and about a consistent position. Conservatives may win this battle, but it might cost them the war.

What happens in 10 years or so (or whenever it happens), when Democrats regain control of the government? What happens when we have some states outlawing gay marriage and some states recognizing it? Do you not think they will go back and use this case as a precedent to reach into state affairs and force those state laws to be ruled on by a far more friendly (read liberal) court?

Think about examples from the past. What about abortion? Do we not complain that the federal government over stepped their Constitutional boundaries by forcing abortion on demand into every state by judicial fiat? They were wrong to force every state to accept the moral position of the court. Would they not still be wrong to force Florida to accept their moral position? The Supreme Court judges in Florida are as wrong as they can be, but that is for the state of Florida to decide.

I know this is a difficult position. My heart aches for this family. I want them to fight with everything they have and exhaust every possible legal remedy, but could we be dooming dozens of Terri's if we allow the federal government the right to judge. Because of this situation, in the future states may pass laws against removing feeding tubes if their is a dispute or some type of law to protect those in a "vegetative state." What happens if the federal government decides its moral judgment is better than the states? It believes those people should "die with dignity" through a "mercy killing." We will have paved the way for that ruling with this case.

The Constitution was set up so that states could decide on these touchy subjects. States know better the moral fabric of their residents than a far off national government. That is why the framers established states. If we allow the federal government the ability to reach into every state decision and throw it to federal judges, what is the purpose of states?

It is humorous to see liberals in Congress scream and wail about state's rights being trampled. Do you know that is so funny and ironic - because they have repeated stepped into state matters and forced their opinions onto the entire nation through liberal judges. They are only for state's rights when it suits them, today it suits them, tomorrow it won't. They will argue one minute why this is a private family decision that the government should not be interfering with, then the next minute they will be arguing why the federal government should be able to take all of your social security and you should have no say in the matter. Their position is consistently inconsistent.

For the most part, conservatives have attempted to remain consistent on our application of the law and the Constitution. The test of our principles come when the decision is tough and it doesn't go our way. Do we stand on our principles or take the short cut?

I am personally opposed to gay marriage, but I think what Massachusetts does is Massachusetts' problem. As long as their decision is not forced on to every state. I remain consistent in my principles even though I am opposed to the decision. Many of the same liberals who are crying about "big federal government" destroying "personal decisions" and state's rights in this case are the same ones who believe the federal government should be allowed to force every state to recognize gay marriage. If conservatives are not careful we will become the laughing stock that the liberals are today - shifting positions wildly to suit our current mood or issue.

This case is not as easy for me to swallow as gay marriage. There is a lady down in Florida who is being starved to death because her lousy husband in name only wants her out of the way. That is wrong every way you look at it, but does that give me the right to jump ship on principle and say now in this special case the federal government should rule.

I don't have all the answers for all the questions this brings up. It almost feels like with this position I am sacrificing Terri's life on the alter of principle and consistency. I can't shake that feeling. But, I just can't bring myself to be excited that conservatives have been forced to bring a federal government solution to a state issue. The other feeling I can't shake is that one day down the road we will regret allowing this to happen either way. We will regret starving Terri and we will regret allowing the federal government even more power over our state laws and our personal lives.

Update: Mark Daniels expresses some similar conflicting opinions and emotions about this issue. Also, Ann Althouse makes the case that Congress and President Bush are upholding federalism by siding with the Florida house and governor. Again, I stay confused and conflicted.


  • Aaron:
    Thanks for the link and for the comment on my site.

    As I see it, situations like that confronting Terri Schiavo's family, Florida, and now, the country are ultimately insusceptible to legal solution, although some sort of legal framework for end-of-life decision-making is clearly necessary.

    But we wouldn't be arguing about Terri Schiavo if the underlying values of many people, including many across our country, supported the notion that we simply do not kill human beings for being inconvenient to us. America will not embrace this value short of voluntary surrender to the God Who made us, Who we know through Jesus Christ. Transformation cannot happen by coercion, although in a society of human beings resistant--as we all are--to Christ's Lordship, legal institutions and the coercion they wield are necessary.

    Transformation only begins to happen in us when we submit to Christ and the Holy Spirit begins to do His work on us. This is why the mission of sharing Christ and His love with others is so vital!

    Legally, the action of the Congress and the President set a dangerous precedent, I believe. But if it is their intent to change Republican and conventional legal understandings of federalism, states' rights, and the role of government, I think that they need to overtly state that fact.

    Like you, I found Althouse's spin on the Schiavo legislation intriguing and told her so.

    Thanks again for dropping by.

    God bless!


    By Blogger Mark Daniels, at 3/22/2005 10:00 AM  

  • NPR had a good piece on the history of such federal "intervention". Check it out.

    The Constitution and Terri Schiavo

    By Blogger papa, at 3/22/2005 1:01 PM  

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