“As obvious as it may seem, one needs to look no further than
the Ten Commandments for the timeless and controlling moral
Principle to guide the outcome of [Terri Schiavo’s] case: ‘Thou
shall not kill.’”
THE FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL
POLICY STATEMENT, March 22, 2005
America treats death a lot like sex. Images of death often dominate our films and television screens, but we caricature the experience and we certainly don’t like to discuss it in any serious fashion. Moreover, we don’t want to consider it in advance of absolute necessity. We are uncomfortable filling out “living wills” and “durable powers of attorney” that give instructions, general or specific, about how our loved ones should make decisions in the event that we become incapable of making our own. Questions about life support, extraordinary medical care, and managing terminal illnesses are ethically complex and require a great deal of soul-searching and specific, often difficult, instructions to make sure our last wishes are honored.
Unfortunately, the Religious Right does not want us and our families to make these personal choices. Its leaders believe they have the only moral compass capable of dealing with these questions and, as we will see in this chapter, are willing and able to impose their wishes on us. Our discomfort leaves us vulnerable to their manipulation.