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MERCY KISSING JUSTICE: A TALE OF TWO JUDGES
By Nick Jackson
I believe that Terri Schiavo would be alive today and living with her parents had she not lived in Florida. I believe that if she lived in Richland County in Ohio, she would not have been cruelly executed by court order to starve to death. Am I implying that there is something special about Ohio that could have changed the outcome? I am most certainly not. I am implying that had Terri lived in a different location and been under the jurisdiction of another judicial system, with different judges, the outcome may have been very different.
There have been two cases that have made their way through the judicial system and found their conclusion in recent days. Both cases involved attempts to starve an individual in a so called “persistent vegetative state,” despite information to the contrary. Both cases had media misinformation and the lovers of death clamoring for “death with dignity.” Both had judges ready to kill a helpless disabled person. Both cases involved issues of guardianship, and parental rights. Let us examine the eerily similar paths, yet starkly different outcomes of two court cases: The case of Baby Aiden Stein in Ohio, and that of the late Ms.Terri Schiavo in Florida.
“Custody of Vegetative Boy Sought.” “Tentative Agreement Would Keep Brain Damaged Baby on Life Support.” The Associated Press headlines sound familiar to Terri’s case. Right before our eyes, a life and death struggle was carried out in Ohio by those who embrace the culture of death and those who love life. Little Baby Aiden Stein suspected to be a victim of shaken baby syndrome, lay precious and vulnerable and at the mercy of the courts. Lawyers and agencies fought to gain custody to remove a ventilator, and if that did not work than slowly starve Aiden to death by removing his feeding tube.
Aiden’s father was never charged with the crime, but somehow in this day and age you are guilty until proven innocent. Baby Aiden then became the criminal for being unable to speak for himself. Baby Aiden was sentenced to death by Probate Judge William Spicer who gave authority to Richland County Children Services, to remove Aiden from life support. RCCS had testified that Stein was blind, deaf, unable to speak and unaware of himself and his environment. According to observers from Summit County Right to Life and family members, Baby Aiden smiles, opens eyes to the sound of voices, turns to look, scowls in discomfort with the multiple connections and restraints on his little arms, shifts his body, changes positions, breathes sleeps and responds to Grandma’s voice when Grandma Dawn speaks to him.
Ellen Kaforey, the Court appointed guardian of Baby Aiden, was intending to remove the ventilator until the Ohio Supreme Court issued a stay that very morning. The Ohio Supreme Court heard 30 minutes of arguments about whether to permit Stein to be removed from life support against his parents' wishes. His parents fought desperately to save their baby. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Stein cannot be removed from life support against the parent's wishes unless their parental rights have been permanently removed as guardians. A custody hearing was held in Richland Thursday March 24th. Judge Ron Spon of Richland County Juvenile Court granted custody to Aiden’s Grandmother who intended to fight for the baby’s life. The parents were willing to give up custody to the grandmother so that Aiden might live. "It's a very balanced and just outcome," he said. "Mercy and justice have kissed one another by the outcome of this proceeding today."
In Florida, on March 24th when “mercy and justice had just kissed one another,” Terri Schiavo, the precious and beautiful handicapped woman who tugged at the soul of our nation, was lying helplessly in bed on her 6th day of being starved and dehydrated to death. Her parents too were fighting desperately for their child’s life. Terri was undergoing what euthanasia advocates and their ilk would consider an act of “mercy.”
One local judge, Judge George Greer from Pinellas County, held the power to murder an innocent woman by judicial decree. Terri Schiavo, was considered guilty of the same crime that Baby Aiden was, not being able to speak for herself. She was also labeled by so called medical experts as being in a “persistent vegetative state.” Although, she responded to environmental stimuli, smiled, and responded to her mother and father. Judge Greer ignored 33 affidavits questioning her diagnosis, and instead took the word of a morally compromised husband, and a medical expert who had previously spoken to the Hemlock Society and nicknamed himself Dr. Evil. Greer took the word of Mr. Schiavo who had an epiphany 7 years ago that his wife wanted to be starved to death and quickly cremated.
Not only did Judge Greer execute a handicapped woman, he overlooked abuse, neglect, conflict of interest, the American’s with Disabilities Act, and the U.S Constitution. In addition, he ignored a congressional subpoena, and snubbed his nose at the other two branches of government.
With one stroke of the gavel, two human beings created in the image of God received their verdict. Not by a jury of their peers mind you, but by judges. Two innocent people very much alive, two different judges, two different outcomes. One judge chose death, the other chose life. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deut. 30:19. We praise God that Baby Aiden is alive, and we mourn for Terri Schiavo.
We can point fingers and blame Jeb Bush, George Bush, Michael Schiavo, Judge Greer, and certainly they are either through action or inaction responsible for Terri’s death. However, the blame rests solely on the American Church who once again failed to awaken from her coma while the Roe v. Wade of Euthanasia was being decided in Pinellas County in Florida. How did most Christian’s respond? They ran out to get a living will.
As we look back at these two cases, and the living parables that God has put before our nation, we must consider, what next America? Will we continue to reject God, and sit idly by while innocent blood is shed on our land? Will the church hearken to the words of Jeremiah, “For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgement between a man and his neighbor; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt, then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.” Jeremiah 7:5-7.
May the American Church of Jesus Christ repent of our moral indifference, profligacy, inaction and blindness, and may mercy and justice kiss one another once again in America.
© 2005 - Nick Jackson - All Rights Reserved
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Nicholas A. Jackson is a physical therapist who is active in Christian ministries in Central Ohio including Reform America and Pass the Salt ministries, and spends time as a freelance writer.
only did Judge Greer execute a handicapped woman, he overlooked abuse,
neglect, conflict of interest, the American’s with Disabilities Act, and
the U.S Constitution. In addition, he ignored a congressional subpoena,
and snubbed his nose at the other two branches of government.