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.