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Letters, feedback, etc.

Issue: "Rick Santorum: Penn Station," April 30, 2005

Time well spent

I am usually a fan of WORLD, but I was thoroughly exasperated by "Turnout burnout" (April 2), which suggested that more pro-lifers should have picketed the hospice in which Terri Schiavo starved. I believed so strongly in Terri's right to nutrition and water that I sent money to her legal fund and prayed every day with my brother and sister. We were certain, with so many hard hearts in the case, that our time was much better spent on our knees praying than on our feet waving signs.
-Mary Rose Parker, 17; Pasadena, Calif.

Joel Belz's point is well-taken: If the media and the watching world see tepid activism on site, they draw negative conclusions. But wouldn't they anyway? Moreover, if the people who resonate with WORLD's worldview were to "show up" in protest at all potential breaches in the proverbial dike, it would never end. Many causes are worth a fight, but people who have lives and organizations have to pick their battles.
-Byron Barlowe; Addison, Texas

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If thousands of us who hated what was being done to Terri showed up at the doorstep of the hospice, what would that have accomplished? It wouldn't have made journalists investigate Terri's story and it wouldn't have changed the hard hearts of the unelected judges who refused to reopen her case.
-Dawn Darby; University Place, Wash.

We can't all be "foot soldiers." Instead, we stayed home, prayed, listened to talk radio, forwarded informative articles to friends, and wrote to our senators and congressmen. The last few weeks have been emotionally draining on us all, but at least we caused quite a few people to look a little closer at what was happening.
-Virginia Swarr Youmans; Lynnville, Tenn.

Judgment call

Thank you for stating what seems to be so obvious ("A Solomonic decision," April 2). Michael Schiavo could have avoided the media circus by simply handing Terri over to the people who cared most about helping her and then moving on with his private life. My guess is that he will become the poster child for the right-to-die groups, the hero who delivered Terri from the bondage of her suffering. How I long for the day when God will set things right.
-Peggy Pappas; Miami, Fla.

Activist judges are a problem, but Mr. Belz did not make a compelling case that the judge in the Schiavo case is one. In this conflict, the judge's role is to decide the facts (whether Terri expressed a wish not to be kept alive in that condition) and then apply the law. The law may be bad, but it was not the judge's role to impose an outcome that was outside the law and the facts in front of him. That's what activist judges do.
-James M. Anastos; Cleveland, Ohio

Merciful?

What is the distinction between providing a person with all the life to which he's entitled as opposed to artificially prolonging the process of his death ("At death's door," April 2)? I oppose euthanasia, but there is a difference between mercy killing and mercifully allowing death.
-Susannah Morris; Grand Rapids, Mich.

As a physician, I was struck by "At death's door." From the limited facts given in the story, it appears that both the physicians at MUSC and those who later refused to take Mr. McClanahan in transfer were correct: Any intervention beyond simple feeding and hydration is not an appropriate use of scarce medical resources. Certainly God may choose to heal him, but He doesn't need machines or doctors to do that. We are stewards of the limited resources God has given us, and that includes medical resources.
-David Close; Chattanooga, Tenn.

Who can presume to know what occurs in another's mind, especially if that person is incapacitated? Some years ago an elderly friend suffered a stroke that left her in a coma for over six months. When she emerged, she related that she had been aware of everything that went on around her but she couldn't respond. Should she have been allowed to starve to death?
-W.J. McChesney; New Galilee, Pa.

Encourage

Mr. Coffin objects that the parents in Finding Nemo and Ice Princess apologize to their children instead of children to the parents ("Daughter knows best," April 2). But Nemo's defiance is a repudiation of his father's overprotective behavior. In Ice Princess, Casey is frustrated with a mother who is trying to live vicariously through her daughter. Both the mother and coach learn that when we encourage our children's personalities, passions, and gifts, we provide for them the opportunity to discover their way.
-Peggy Muller; Riverside, Calif.

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