Saturday, March 19, 2005

One Bible Belt Christian's Case for Euthanasia

I'm in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Pages upon pages of Baptist churches in the phone book. You might be tempted to think that the liberal chokehold on the news media would be different here. Not so as demonstrated by this editorial in our local paper. My letter to the editor is below. I don't hold it up as an example of eloquency--just what I threw together in 15 minutes.

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Dear Mr. Herrin,

Ray Watters clearly has some axes to grind. If you want to make him feel better by letting him do that on the editorial page of your newspaper, I suppose you have that right. However, your decision to print yesterday's editorial on Terri Schiavo was reprehensible for two reasons.

First, it is factually inaccurate on several points. 1) She is not unresponsive. Check the facts. 2) She is not brain dead. 3) She is not in a coma. I'm including for your information a link to an article from the Medical College of Wisconsin on the difference between a persistent vegetative state (Terri's condition) and the states of being comatose or brain dead.

Medical College of Wisconsin article

Is it somehow unfair to assume that your the rest of your news team is as careless with the facts as your copy desk chief?

The second reason your decision was reprehensible is because of the cavalier nature with which Watters deals with life and death issues. I realize that our society will never find unanimity on these ethical issues. Thinking people will always disagree. But Watters' condescending dismissal of people who are trying to defend life--even that which is severely damaged--is obtuse and unworthy of publication. Glossing over complex moral issues does nothing to advance the conversation. And concerning his closing comment, I really don't know what to say. For that matter, I really don't know what Watters meant. I do know this: If you are going to publish an editorial that longs for "the brutal finality of a gun," you need to offer me some substantive justification for such a brash statement.

Mr. Herrin, please give me a good reason to believe that my subscription to your newspaper is supporting more responsible journalism than has been demonstrated this week.

1 comment:

JDG said...

I don't have access to the article you are referencing, but your response is both coherent and bold. Editors need to be held responsible for what is printed on the pages of their papers. I also think that you were wise in avoiding the "death and life" issue until you knew more about the case at hand.