Snuffing out life to preserve so-called dignity is murder.
On March 18, the day on which Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was ordered removed by a Florida judge, attorney Barbara Weller spent part of the morning with the 41-year-old woman, who has been brain-damaged since 1990 after she suffered temporary heart failure. Weller stood up, leaned over Schiavo, took both her hands in hers and said, "Terri if you could only say, 'I want to live,' this whole thing could be over today."

Terri's eyes, according to Weller's account, opened very wide; and after looking Weller straight in the face, Schiavo said loudly with a look of great concentration, "Ahhhh." Then one more time she made a loud noise in response to Weller's words.

We will never know what Schiavo was saying. She died March 31.

Had she understood Weller and tried to say those words, "I want to live"? We may never know if she once told her husband before her illness, as he claims, that she would never want to be kept alive if she had lost almost all ability to function normally. We will never know, if indeed she once said that, whether she still held to that view after she suffered brain damage.

And, of course, we know for sure that Michael Schiavo, her husband, wanted her to die and Robert and Mary Schindler, her parents, wanted her to live--and that as legal guardian of his wife in her disabled condition, Michael and his wishes prevailed.

Christians have largely interpreted the case as a right-to-life issue, which of course it is. But there is another aspect of it that Christians ought to take careful notice of.

The Schiavo case is a profound affront to those thousands of Americans who suffer from any sort of disability, whether they are bedridden and paralyzed or paraplegic.

As Diane Coleman, the founder and president of the organization Not Dead Yet said, "It's the ultimate form of discrimination to offer people with disabilities help to die without having offered real options to live." In other words, Schiavo's predicament has shown just how vulnerable thousands of Americans are if their legal guardians--whether spouses or parents--have determined that their lives don't have "dignity."

The organization Not Dead Yet considers the question of dignity of the disabled one of profound bigotry. They argue it is the equivalent of saying that because a disabled or comatose person is often messy or not very pretty he or she doesn't deserve the full protection of the law--which is to stay alive--that is granted to everyone else.

Not Dead Yet is not a Christian organization and is wary of being roped into the pro-life side in the larger culture war between Christians and zealous secularists. But it has performed many functions that Christians identified as such could never have done.

At a recent ACLU meeting, Not Dead Yet convinced a majority of the ACLU members present that their support of Right to Die legislation was profoundly mistaken. That legislation, they successfully argued, would deprive one group--the disabled--of the very rights the ACLU has claimed all along to represent.

Christians should support Not Dead Yet and other disability groups. Even though the organization does not identify itself as Christian--though many of its members undoubtedly are--it is a powerful ally in the fights we Christians are engaged in to prevent the values of barbarism from prevailing in our society.

One of the most subtle and yet powerful pro-death arguments made by euthanasia advocates is that some forms of human life are objectively less worth sustaining than others. Even before Hitler came to power, some German physicians argued that medical care should be doled out on the basis of the "contribution" a patient was deemed to be making to society.

But we affirm that all human life is made in the image of God, is God's gift to us, and deserves our utmost effort to protect and preserve it. We also know that snuffing it out to preserve so-called dignity or any other purported human value always is, and always will be, murder.

David Aikman is a former Time magazine senior correspondent who has reported from Jerusalem, Beijing, Moscow and dozens of nations. He welcomes your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Does any of this reflect what's going on in your marriage?

    9 Characteristics of a Healthy Sexual Relationship for a Believer

    A healthy sexual relationship for a Christian couple takes effort, and it's worth working for.

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Watch for these danger signals for choosing poorly.

    4 Signs You're Making a Bad Decision

    Avoid distraction and disappointment by testing your choices with these 4 principles.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit