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Christian ethicist questions integrity of Terri Schiavo’s husband

.- Michael Schiavo’s lawyer, George Felos, told the Florida Baptist Witness that his client “deeply loves Terri” and “simply is not gong to walk away from that promise he made to [her] when she said, ‘Honey, don’t keep me alive like that.’” Schiavo has been cohabitating openly with his fiancé, Jodi Centonze, since 1995. The couple now have two children together.

Asked about the promise he made when Michael and Terri exchanged wedding vows in 1986, Felos said it is “subjective opinion” and “cruel-hearted” to think Schiavo walked away from his wedding vows.

“I think it’s hard-hearted to say to somebody whose spouse has Alzheimer’s, or whose spouse has had some catastrophic accident, that they are consigned to a life of loneliness and then can’t form other relationships,” Felos said. “That’s a moral judgment and, you know, I think people have different views on it.”

Christian ethicist C. Ben Mitchell, a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago, disagrees.

Mitchell told the Witness that describing “a romantic affair that results in two children while one is married to another person [as] ‘forming other relationships’ is like calling premeditated murder ‘morally problematic.’”

“The vow to love another person in the covenant of marriage neither includes violating the covenant through adultery nor withdrawing the basic necessities of life — like food and water — when maintaining them might allow the spouse to recover,” Mitchell continued. “In this case, I have to trust the integrity and purity of Terri's parents' inclinations above Mr. Shiavo's.”

The Witness interviewed Tom Broderson, a speech pathologist, who befriended Terri. He visited her and offered some rehabilitation therapy until two years ago, when he was no longer permitted to visit after a visitation mix-up at the Woodside Hospice Hospital where she is staying.

Broderson witnessed to Terri’s responsiveness and ability to learn quickly. “She had really good vocal control,” he said.

Outside the hospice, Dominique, who declined to give her last name, told the Witness that the United States is in danger of becoming like her native Poland, where she said euthanasia has gained a strong following.

“It’s terrible. This should not happen,” the disabled protester said as she balanced a sign on her electric wheelchair. “She’s a human being and she’s created by God and only God can take her when it is right.”

A Florida judge has scheduled the removal of Terri’s feeding tube for March 18 at 1 p.m. ET, pending any appellate decisions.


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September 2, 2014

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