If it is not too late, perhaps it is worth reading excerpts on this issue from two unlikely sources: a senator and an undertaker.
First, Senator Joseph Lieberman appearing on "Meet the Press" on Sunday:
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Lieberman, your Republican colleague from Connecticut in the House, Christopher Shays, had this to say. "This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy. . . . There are going to be repercussions from this vote [on Schiavo's constitutional rights]. There are a number of people who feel that the government is getting involved in their personal lives in a way that scares them."
You agree with that?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, (D-CT): I don't. But that's a very credible and respectable opinion for Chris to take. See, I think -- and Chris was there on the floor of the House, so maybe he heard in the debate some things that I didn't hear following it from a distance. The fact is that, though I know a lot of people's attitude toward the Schiavo case and other matters is affected by their faith and their sense of what religion tells them about morality, ultimately as members of Congress, as judges, as members of the Florida state Legislature, this is a matter of law. And the law exists to express our values.
I have been saying this in speeches to students about why getting involved in government is so important, I always say the law is where we define the beginning of life and the end of life, and that's exactly what was going on here. And I think as a matter of law, if you go -- particularly to the 14th Amendment, can't be denied due process, have your life or liberty taken without due process of law, that though the Congress' involvement here was awkward, unconventional, it was justified to give this woman, more than her parents or husband, the opportunity for one more chance before her life was terminated by an act which was sanctioned by a court, by the state.
These are very difficult decisions, but -- of course, if you ask me what I would do if I was the Florida Legislature or any state legislature, I'd say that if somebody doesn't have a living will and the next of kin disagree on whether the person should be kept alive or that is whether food and water should be taken away and her life ended that really the benefit of the doubt ought to be given to life.
And the family member who wants to sustain her life ought to have that right because the judge really doesn't know, though he heard the facts, one judge, what Terri Schiavo wanted. He made a best guess based on the evidence before him. That's not enough when you're talking about aggressively removing food and water to end someone's life.
MR. RUSSERT: You would have kept the tube in?
SEN. LIEBERMAN: I would have kept the tube in.
Second, Thomas Lynch, undertaker and poet, who wrote the remarkable "The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade," writes in Beliefnet.com that:
Maybe we should all assume, in the sad theater of Ms. Schiavo’s case, something like a default position. We could start by admitting first our failures, our faulty visions. . . .
And maybe, disabused of every notion of control or rancor, righteousness and triumph, cause du jour, certainty, or truth, we could return to the original condition where we are all helpless fellow-pilgrims in search of the way home, praying that the cup passes, or the angel of death passes our people over today, or the paschal mysteries leave our tombs all empty in the end. . . .
If there is a God, I am not it: This seems an agreeable article of faith. Whether we know or doubt, wish or wonder; whether we are certain and saved or simply waiting to see, we can agree to keep the difficult vigils of humanity, to be present to the suffering and dying, the dead and heartbroken, to bear witness to life and bear the dying and dead to the edge of a life.