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Friday, March 25, 2005

A Culture of Death: Peggy Noonan

Christians commemorate this day remembering the trial, torture and death of Jesus Christ. We call it the Passion. For Christians, the agony of this day is tempered by the knowledge of the Resurrection. In the words of Tony Campolo, "It's Friday, but Sunday's comin'!"

I find it ironic that on this day we also await the death of Teri Schiavo, witnessing her trial and torture by starvation and dehydration. Unlike the Resurrection story, we do not know the outcome of her Passion. Not yet. Peggy Noonan puts the issues in stark perspective:

Terri Schiavo may well die. No good will come of it. Those who are half in love with death will only become more red-fanged and ravenous.

And those who are still learning--our children--oh, what terrible lessons they're learning. What terrible stories are shaping them. They're witnessing the Schiavo drama on television and hearing it on radio. They are seeing a society--their society, their people--on the verge of famously accepting, even embracing, the idea that a damaged life is a throwaway life.

Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.

Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.

I'm hoping that Peggy is wrong this time. I'm praying she is wrong. I fear she is not.

No one on that Friday evening long ago believed any good could come from the agonizing death of Jesus. They could not see Sunday morning through their Friday tears. May this dark time in our national life be the catalyst for a resurrection of the knowledge that all human life, from conception to old age, is precious, and worth saving.

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