Friday, June 17, 2005

Terri and the Fairies

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we think all medical progress is not exactly progressive.

Oh, sure, it's great to live to be 102 healthy years old, out puttering in the garden. But is this planet really better off, now that we can extend the lives of suffering people, so they can suffer longer and better?

Like everyone else in America, I've been following the Terri Schiavo case with interest (and great anxiety). As a druid, I believe that her soul fled her body the day she collapsed, and what was left was a soulless shell that was still able to breathe. It happens sometimes.

Trouble with this Christian God-oriented culture, it has a very conflicted opinion about life and death. How can the worst penalty we give the hardest criminals be the death penalty, and then we send in a priest for a final confession? We're freeing a soul to fly away from prison, straight to heaven! Tell me that makes sense. On the other side of the coin, some poor woman is allowed to lie there 15 years, completely gone mentally, and she's kept alive at all costs? What are they afraid of, that her soul wouldn't go to heaven because she couldn't confess her sins?

I don't know, but I think we ought to let go and let Mother Nature decide these things. And I'm not speaking from the point of view of someone who's never been in the Schiavo boat. There's a member of my husband's family in almost the same position even as I write, and having known her as a loving, dynamic, attractive, friendly person who was aware that she had a life-threatening brain defect, I can say for certain that she would not have wanted to be where she is now, which is in a hospital bed completely immobile for 15 years.

Read it here, read it now. No one knows me better than my husband. If something happens to me, he's in charge. With all the gods I know, I'm not a bit afraid of death -- but sink me if I want to be consuming food and water with no consciousness that I'm doing it.

I've got no prejudice against disabled people, and I'm aware that doctors cannot diagnose the presence or absence of a soul. (Heck, there are healthy people walking around who have no soul. Plenty of them. Many in positions of power.) But in the absence of someone saying, "Do everything you can, I want to continue to live," why not let Mother Nature make the call?

To do otherwise shows a lack of faith in the hereafter.


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