What Effect Does Terri Shiavo’s Death Have on Your Worldview?

I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but in some ways today is analogous to what 9/11/01 was in terms of its effect on our worldviews.

There are more than a few people who were liberal on 9/10/01 and are now hawkish neocons. That day shattered our notion that we were safe. We could have seen it coming – considering the Khobar towers, the previous WTC bombings, the attack on the USS Cole – but those things were so easy to ignore. It was easy to shut our eyes and not notice. But after 9/11/01 we couldn’t ignore it anymore. The barbarians were at the gate and we had to take notice. They’d been there for a while, but now they had our attention. Liberals became conservative, and isolationist paleocons turned into interventionist neocons.

What effect will Terri Schiavo’s death have on the conservative Christian worldview?

Before today (plus or minus the last two weeks), it was possible to pretend that things were OK. Bush beat Gore and then Kerry. Janet Jackson said she was sorry and the Superbowl halftime show was cleaned up a little. Fox News is more popular than CNN, and “under God” is still in the Pledge. Congress even passed a law against partial birth abortion. Nice and comfy. Proud to be an American, right?

Of course, the evidence was there for anyone who looked. 46 million abortions in 32 years, for starters. Two babies killed _every single minute_.

Divorce is really high. Sodomy is legal, by court order, as is sodomite “marriage”. Idolatry and paganism are legally protected, enshrined in our precious Constitution. I could chronicle a list of woes in American society, but there’s not much need. We all know what goes on that list.

Will we conservative Christians have the same kind of “paradigm shift” that many Americans had on 9/11/01?

When those towers fell, we saw the world differently. Maybe I’m overreacting, but when Terri Schiavo died of thirst, I saw the world differently.

* I see a nation that recognizes no higher authority than “we the people” and the laws we make.

* I see an executive and legislature dominated by the judiciary.

* I see a Republican party unable or unwilling to act effectively. Janet Reno was willing to defy the courts and seize Elian Gonzales to send him back to a communist state, but nobody was willing to defy Judge Greer and save Terri Schiavo. I see that the lesser of two evils is still not good. I see that I didn’t even get half a loaf. I see that I voted to win, but still lost.

* I see a fallen, godless culture. I see a culture that doesn’t need to be engaged or transformed. It needs to be supplanted, replaced, defeated, destroyed.

What do you see?

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13 Responses to What Effect Does Terri Shiavo’s Death Have on Your Worldview?

  1. Jared says:

    I see Christians embarrassed by the zeal for the sanctity of life some of their fellow believers have demonstrated.

    I’ve seen that for every pro-lifer who has shouted, “This is murder!,” there are two others more interested in the shouter’s motives/politics/style than in what is being shouted about.

    I’ve seen that Christian bloggers can post about movies, TV, Presidential politics, the War, devotionals, theoretical theology, books, etc., without routinely being told they are focusing on ultimately unimportant things, but when the same bloggers post on Terri Schiavo, they have breached some invisible line of pertinence. The bloggers should “mind their own business” or focus on problems “closer to home.”

    I’ve seen these bloggers told that they are just towing the party line and are too afraid to think in nuanced terms or to stray from the pro-life black-and-white paradigm.
    God forbid evangelicalism be united on any value of importance, eh?

  2. Robert says:

    Jared, do you think that some of that might be because we sort of knew we were going to lose, and didn’t want to get egg on our face? I wonder.

    I posted about Judges 19-20 earlier. Some of the parts I cut out (in the interests of length) was that 40,000 Israelites died assaulting the Benjaminites. They lost the first two days, and on the third day God gave victory.

  3. Jared says:

    I don’t know. That’s a good question.

    I’m still trying to figure out, though, when being vocally and adamantly pro-life became so embarrassing TO OTHER EVANGELICALS.
    It’s really freaking me out, actually.

    When one blogger who routinely gets comments about how he shouldn’t be criticizing Joel Osteen but instead praying for the man starts posting about how Christians shouldn’t be all in an uproar about Terri but should instead be worrying about things closer to home (as if they aren’t!), I worry that he doesn’t see the irony (hypocrisy?).

  4. Matthew says:

    I think you’re right about a lot of the facts. But the spin you put on them is wrong. The nation *shouldn’t* recognize any power higher than “we the people”. Otherwise, it might choose to recognize the power of, say, Satan.

    The executive and legislative branches aren’t dominated by the judiciary. If anything, the executive and legislative branches are violating the separation of powers. (The separation of powers, by the way, is one of the things that keeps us free-speechifying citizens safe from the guys with the guns.)

    And you’re right about the election: you lost. Everybody lost, except big business and the Republican party. The Republican party used the conservative christian vote to get what it wanted – the presidency and the congress – but it doesn’t really give two craps about what conservative Christians really think. Or whether they think. Should’ve voted for Kerry and then you would at least have had a little honesty. Now, all you have is Tom DeLay (who, despite his preachifying to the contrary, unplugged his own dad) and a bossy little rich kid who’s not competent to run a hardware store.

    Culture is often fallen and godless. This wasn’t news to first-century Christians, and it shouldn’t be news to us. But Christ can resurrect the culture without needing a theocracy. In fact, a theocracy would probably get in the way.

  5. Bob says:

    “What do you see?”

    What I see is that you need to lighten up a little.

  6. Robert says:

    Tom DeLay (who, despite his preachifying to the contrary, unplugged his own dad) and a bossy little rich kid who?s not competent to run a hardware store.

    Matthew, you are welcome to come here and disagree, but I want you to be a bit more respectful and dignified. This is not the first comment from you with this sort of “tone” to it, and it is not welcome on my blog.

    Also, an email address is not required when leaving a comment – you can just leave it blank if you like.

  7. Jared says:

    Should?ve voted for Kerry and then you would at least have had a little honesty.

    That’s an April Fool’s Day joke, right?

    What I see is that you need to lighten up a little.

    Absolutely. After all, we’re only talking about ending lives.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I see an American Christian who expects too much from the courts and the Republican party. I see a lot of people who’ve been quite naive about the way the world works.

    Ms. Schiavo’s death hasn’t changed my worldview at all, but the commentary and actions surrounding it — from both sides — has frequently been shameful.

  9. Jared says:

    I expect the courts — well, the U.S. government — to have a vested interest in the protection of its citizens.
    I probably do expect too much from the Republicans. But not really. Just ’cause you vote Republican doesn’t mean you think Dubya is God’s Anointed Prophet or that Republicans are God’s Chosen Party. Sometimes you just do it because they resembled your values more. I would think Democrat voters vote the same way.

    I know how the world works. Getting upset about a tragedy isn’t a revelation of naivete. It’s a revelation of one’s humanity.
    We’re told to mourn with those who mourn; not be stoic at all times, lest someone think we’re weak stupid ignorant whatever.

    I prefer to be ashamed of an innocent person’s death; that’s not as hip or “complex” as being ashamed of people who are ashamed, but oh well.

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