.- Hours after the court ordered starvation of 41-year old Terri Schiavo had come to a tear-filled end yesterday, religious leaders and organizations around the world wasted no time speaking out against what Cardinal William Keeler, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called a “human tragedy.” A nearly decade-long legal battle had ensued between Terri’s family, and husband Michael Schiavo, who claimed that his wife would never have wanted to be kept alive in her brain-damaged state.
A Florida judge eventually sided with Michael, and had Terri’s feeding tube, which provided her with food and hydration, removed on March 18th.
Cardinal Keeler added that, “We are all diminished by this woman's death, a death that speaks to the moral confusion we face today. Ours is a culture in which human life is increasingly devalued and violated, especially where that life is most weak and fragile.”
”We pray, he continued, that, “this human tragedy will lead our nation to a greater commitment to protect helpless patients and all the weakest among us.”
Rick Scarborough, acting chairman of the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration, also expressed his sadness at Schiavo’s death and offered his heartfelt condolences to the Schindler family.
“Terri Schiavo's suffering is over,” he said, “God rest her soul. Now our mission is to ensure that there will be no more Terri Schiavos-- that no other disabled person is subjected to her cruel fate."
"The Schiavo case”, he added, “demonstrates the mortal danger of giving judges the unbridled power of life and death.”
Family Life International, a New Zealand group, said in a press release that, “Terri Schiavo’s cruel, inhumane and public execution at the hands of the medical and judicial system marks the beginning of a frightening new chapter in our human history. If we are prepared to tolerate and endorse an act such as this then what will come next?”
”It is alarming in our modern age of women’s rights awareness”, they said, “that Terri Schiavo’s life was viewed by the courts as being the property of her husband Michael and he was allowed to decide whether she should live or die.”
Rev. Rob Schneck, president of The National Clergy Council, which represents Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant church leaders, also spoke out yesterday saying: "Our hearts and prayers go out to Terri and her loving family. May the Lord comfort them in their grief. We must not forget Terri's struggle and what it means for our American civilization.”
“What we saw here”, he said, “was the first act of a blatant state-sanctioned murder of an innocent, disabled person. This is a new a terrifying threshold of public sin and must be dealt with swiftly. Our members will work immediately on every level to address and correct this grievous error.”
Beverly LaHaye, Founder and Chairman of Concerned Women for America said that, "There are simply not words to express our profound sorrow for the Schindler family, and the anguish they have experienced while watching Terri die such an excruciating death.”
We know that God will be faithful to comfort Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, and her siblings, Bobby and Suzanne, during this difficult time."
In addition, David Stevens, M.D., Executive Director of the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association, said that, “Terri's death reflects a failure of a medical system that failed to insist on a definitive diagnosis consensus, a legal system that failed to deliver due process, and a culture that failed to distinguish between artificially prolonging life and deliberately ending life.”
"Removing Terri's tube was done simply to remove a burdensome patient,” he said.