Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Politicized memorial for Terri Schiavo

I can't help having some sympathy for the biological family of Terri Schiavo.  But they make it hard: Schiavo memorial exhorts hundreds to go forward by Graham Brink St Petersburg Times by Graham Brink 04/06/05.

They held a memorial service in a Catholic Church for her officiated by radical rightwing priest Frank Pavone.  (For more on Pavone, see the Daily Howler on 04/01/05; scroll down.) The service featured the following:

None of the speakers mentioned Michael Schiavo, the husband who argued for years that his wife would not have wanted to be kept alive, given the brain injuries she sufferred. Terri was referred to by her maiden name, Terri Schindler, throughout the service.

It is as though they've erased her entire married life.  There didn't seem to be any hint of understand or compassion, much less a desire for reconciliation, with her husband, who has to fear being stalked by ultraright crazies.

They didn't seem to discourage the rabid extremists who have latched onto their cause.  On the contrary:

Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler, had trouble beginning his rememberence to his sister. After choking back tears, he held up a Purple Heart sent to the family by a Vietnam War veteran. The sender indicated that Schiavo was killed by enemies of the United States, and thus, deserved the award, Schindler said to a standing ovation. (my emphais)

Not only is this incredibly nasty of the family, especially since important figures in the Republican Party seem to be encouraging violent retaliation against the mostly Republican judges who were involved in the legal decisions.  But for a Catholic priest to allow this kind of hate-mongering in a church in a memorial service over which he was presiding is so inappropriate it's mind-boggling.  I would have walked out of any service where crap like that was being promoted with the acquiescence of the priest.

And yet this same priest had the gall to say during the service that he was asking the crowd "to honor the memory of Terri Schiavo by going forth and building a 'culture of life.'"  Sounds more like a culture of hatred, fanaticism and violence that these people are encouraging.  Respecting their grief doesn't mean anyone has to agree with this kind of recklessness.


purcellneil said...

The American Taliban, continued:

The Priest should never have taken part in such a memorial service.  I am shocked actually.  I attended a Mass at Georgetown University shortly after 9/11.  There were people there who had lost a family member to the terrorist attacks -- the feeling in the Chapel was deeply mournful and people wept throughout the Mass.  During the Offertory, as the congregation offered prayers of petition, there were prayers for the sick, and for the recently deceased, and specifically for those who died on 9/11.  After each, the congregation responded to the prayer by asking God to hear our prayer.

Then the Priest stepped forward and after explaining that this was what he was called to do as a Christian, he expressed a prayer for those who had committed the attacks.  A woman next to me who had sobbed throughout the Mass muttered to her family that this was going to be hard.  The congregation -- many of us anyway -- responded as we were supposed to do.  It was very hard, and though I had my own reservations, I knew he was right to call on us to do it.

The Schindlers were not well served by this priest, and though they are entitled to make such a serious mistake in their season of grief, there is no excuse for a man of God to commit such an offensive and evil act.  


happyb8888 said...

And why am I not surprised??

That Happy Chica,
Marcia Ellen

sanforized6 said...

This place is getting pretty scary! We are losing the separation between church & state which is vital to our real freedom. I fear it's going to just get worse. And we make fun of "terrorists" blowing themselves up for Allah, but think nothing of killing others in the name of God. Bizarre!! rich

bmiller224 said...

I do think that it's valuable to view the problem of international jihadism from the point of view of "religious fundamentalism" and not simply "Islamic extremism."  

All fundamentalisms are certainly not equal.  The Southern Baptists are the same as Christian Reconstructionists.  Islamic fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists and Hindu fundamentalists are coming from very different places and working with different religious viewpoints.

But radical extremist Christian fundamentalists are very much a potential terrorist threat, as well.  And understanding fundamentalism and how the violent extremist version emerge is a lot more helpful than picturing The Enemy as Evil itself. - Bruce