Friday, September 18, 2009

"Pro-Life" But Wanting to Pull the Plug: Baptist Cranks Challenge the Whole Cloth

Miguel De La Torre writes at Associated Baptist Press about the challenge to his "pro-life" stance his mother's painful death caused. He admits to ascribing, at least theoretically, to the "whole cloth" notion that to be truly "pro-life" one must oppose abortion, euthanasia, war and capital punishment but admits that watching his suffering mother die left him with the desire to pull the plug on the machines that artifically kept her alive:

For my part, I am trying to be pro-life -- that is, I am trying to stand against abortion, euthanasia, war and capital punishment.

I say that I am simply “trying” because I am relying on God’s strength to stay true to this position, yet recognizing that if I fall short, there is grace. I stopped my prideful boast of truly being pro-life when I was faced with a painful decision and discovered how easy it was for me to fail to live up to my religious ideals.

Four years ago my mother entered her last week of earthly life. I flew to Miami to be by her bedside. She, a non-smoker, was dying of lung cancer. By this time the cancer had spread to other vital organs, and the doctor informed us she would not live for long. While she was still conscious, we had a wonderful opportunity to discuss eternity. She knew she would soon die and made her peace with God.

Soon after, the pain became so intense that she was drugged to make her as comfortable as possible. At this point she lost her dignity and her consciousness. For about a week she lay there in pain. For a week I did not leave her side, waiting for a death that took its sweet time to arrive. The woman I knew and loved left, but machines kept her body alive.

Even though I claim to be pro-life, given the opportunity, I would have pulled the plug myself. My action would have been motivated by my deep love for the woman who gave me life.
The law, of course, prevented me from taking such actions. But if Jesus said that if I think it in my heart, I’ve as good as done it; therefore, I am guilty of euthanasia. I am guilty of not truly being pro-life, regardless of my confession to the contrary.

Since her death, my greatest regret is that I stood by as she suffered that last week of life. The drugs were not enough, as she occasionally emerged from the fog of death. Nothing good came from that last week. I ask myself why she had to suffer. I remain with very conflicted emotions and dogmatic beliefs that, I confess, I have not yet been able to resolve.

If my belief that euthanasia is wrong is true, why then was I willing -- and, if I am honest, am still willing -- to pull the plug when the issue actually became real and personal? Was my love for my mother so strong that I was willing to go against my own pro-life stance and be left with nothing except God’s grace and forgiveness? But how can I be forgiven if I can’t repent from how I felt -- from what I experienced?

Maybe I will not find resolution to my struggle until that final heavenly reunion when I find forgiveness from my mother for not loving enough to act.

You would expect De La Torre's soul searching to elicit Baptist sympathy and condolences, but no. Instead he takes it in the comments for Nazi sympathizing and not believing in the justice of God. For a real chill, catch posts by the likes of Charlie Mac which state:

Life isn't perfect and men and women who truly love as Christ loved are willing to kill and be killed for the good of others. This is totally divorced from killing for convenience as abortion is as is execution of individuals who have and may again kill for personal gain or just to be mean.

pjerwin writes:

When the Lord commands His angels to pour out His wrath on the earth, destroying millions, perhaps billions, of lives, what will be the response of these folks? When Jesus himself fails to show hospitality to the lawless strangers He “never knew,” but who called Him “Lord, Lord” and performed many miracles in His name, and He shuts eternally them out of heaven, I'm sure these folks will want Jesus brought up on charges of some kind. And on the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, when the resurrected dead, great and small alike, stand before the throne and those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life are thrown into the lake of fire, I'm sure these folks will want to prosecute the Lord for crimes against humanity.

Padre Jud quotes the Catechism with two paragraphs that could be used to support assisted suicide:

2278. Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

The key principle in this statement is that one does not will to cause death. When a person has an underlying terminal disease, or their heart, or some other organ, cannot work without mechanical assistance, or a therapy being proposed is dangerous, or has little chance of success, then not using that machine or that therapy results in the person dying from the disease or organ failure they already have. The omission allows nature to takes its course. It does not directly kill the person, even though it may contribute to the person dying earlier than if aggressive treatment had been done.

Alas, the "seamless garment" is thrown aside for "the great wrath of God" and "stopping tyranny."

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