Monday, March 21, 2005


Natural Law, Situational Ethics and Terri Schiavo

Moral absolutism vs. situation ethics.

Absolutism isn't a PC word any more. We live in an era that abhors the concept of something fixed, firm, true. Culturally, we want to play like all the world is grey, where there are no mortal sins, and everything is relative, based on its time and place.

But some things are absolute. A person is pregnant or she is not. Someone is either dead or alive. A or not A exists everywhere.

There are some things that historically have been consided natural law, things that civilized people do, or recognize as right, no matter what their religion. None of this was considered under very much attack anywhere until quite recently.

Last night, in the House of Representatives, we saw a great example of those who acknowledge natural law verses the forces and arguments of the situational ethics people. Natural law says, whenever possible, you don't withhold food and drink from your weak and vunerable. Situational ethics say a person is their brain. If a brain is severely damaged, then the person isn't there so you ought to get rid of the body - even though there is a growing body of evidence that says we don't even begin to understand the cognition people in these states have.

In working to have Terri Schaivo have a real evaluation by a new judge, instead of being caught up in some local petty politics, the Congress was reiterating the 14th Amendment's right to due process, and the acknowledgement that even the handicapped are given that right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as much as they can enjoy it.

Based on what our country is founded on and because of this outlook, President Bush summed it up well:

In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life.

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