Not-so-good Friday

Jessica Clark

OK--granted. I was raised by a hippie artist and a physicist, and my religious training consisted of a few unconvincing weekends of Unitarian Sunday School. But reading the following talking points from Priests for Life does make me wonder--didn't Christ actually have to do some good works and gather some followers during his lifetime in order to earn his status as a martyr? (Not to mention that Son of God thing, yes?)What exactly is going on here with this creepy comparison?WASHINGTON, March 25 /Christian Wire Service/ -- Priests for Life today sent the following talking points to every Catholic priest in the country for use in Good Friday homilies today. Fr. Frank Pavone, who has been training priests nationwide on pro-life issues since 1993, said, "I am confident that many priests will preach about Terri today, and will call for cultural and political change to prevent people like her from being starved to death."1. Terri has no terminal illness and has not been in a coma.I visited with Terri on two occasions, most recently just a few weeks ago. Her eyes were open the whole time, looking and focusing on whoever was talking to her, except for when I placed my hands on her and prayed aloud. As we began the prayer she closed her eyes. When we finished, she opened them again. I saw her smile, I saw her return her parents' kill, I heard her trying to form words.This case is not about the "right to die," because until she was deprived of her simple feeding tube a week ago, she was not dying. She has no terminal illness whatsoever, and has not been on any machines, respirators, or life support.2. Like Christ, she has been unjustly condemned to death by civil authority.This case is a perfect example of judicial tyranny, in that both state and federal courts have discarded the authority of the executive and legislative branches of government. Worse, those other branches have reinforced the notion that the Courts alone have the last word in these matters. They do not. Lawmakers take an oath to uphold the Constitution, not the courts' interpretation of it. Neither the Constitution nor our Founders give the courts the last word.3. Court decisions preventing Terri from being fed have no authority.Exactly ten years ago today, Pope John Paul II issued the following words in his document "The Gospel of Life": ' Laws which authorize and promote…euthanasia are…completely lacking in authentic juridical validity…A civil law authorizing…euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law' (number 72). The courts have told Terri's loving parents and siblings, who want to care for her for the rest of her life, that they cannot even give her a cup of water as she starves to death. In fact, my friend Eva Edl, a concentration camp survivor, tried the other day to bring Terri a cup of water and was arrested for doing so. The Passion of Christ is being lived out in Terri, and our faithfulness to Christ demands that we protect her and all who are vulnerable, as she is.

Jessica Clark is a writer, editor and researcher, with more than 15 years of experience spanning commercial, educational, independent and public media production. Currently she is the Research Director for American University’s Center for Social Media. She also writes a monthly column for PBS’ MediaShift on new directions in public media. She is the author, with Tracy Van Slyke, of Beyond the Echo Chamber: Reshaping Politics Through Networked Progressive Media (2010, New Press).
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