Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

These Things Are Not Without Precedent....

A thoughtful comment on my previous posting pointed out that a careful legal process has been followed regarding Terri Schiavo, with high legal standards based on clear and convincing evidence, and that we should trust and respect the process that has been followed. Very good points - and I am tempted to agree, recognizing that my concerns may be in error in this case). But this is a temptation that I have to resist at the moment due to some nagging concerns. Here is my response to that post:
Thanks for your comments. If the process has been fair and objective, in a good-faith effort based upon the weight of clear and convincing evidence, then my concerns are overblown.

I wish I had more respect for the judiciary - perhaps then I could shrug my shoulders and trust the process. But the judiciary, in my view, has become highly liberal as a result of decades of drift in academia and among the movers and shakers of this country, resulting in a modern judiciary that can claim to be upholding the Constitution while overseeing the slaughter of over a million innocent unborn infants every year in the name of a "right to privacy" that was concocted out of thin air. We have a judiciary that can find great evil in organizations like the Boy Scouts, who now have retreated from the schools rather than face the continued crushing weight of legal assaults from the ACLU, with the assistance of corrupt courts. We have a judiciary that is turning the sin of homosexuality in a protected and exalted lifestyle to the detriment of the laws and institutions the courts should be protecting. We have a judiciary that, at least in some courts and some states, is worse than just morally bankrupt. They have become activists seeking to impose their view of how the world should be.

Such trends are not without precedent. The Western, nominally Christian, modern, and well educated judiciary in Germany assisted in the execution of millions of Jews, all done in accordance with the high standards of law, wearing their lordly robes and walking in the courts of the elite.

In another advanced society, we read of a network of activist judges who became key drivers for the corruption of law and for the consignment of innocent people to death, contrary to the fundamental legal principles of their nation. In fact, we read that the efforts of such judges was laying a "foundation of destruction" for their people (Alma 10:27), that some of them went out of their way in an attempt to starve two innocent men to death (Alma 14 - but they were delivered by the power of God), and that similar judges later acted secretly - in conspiracy - to cause the executions of prophets and other righteous people (3 Nephi 6:25-30). They were part of trends and movements, whether they all understood it or not, that would lead to a loss of liberty and gross expansion of central power in the hands of evil people and to the loss of freedom and even destruction of that people. These ancient events were selected and described to aid us prophetically in our day, and we are told when we see such things among us, we are told to "awake to a sense of [our] awful situation" (Ether 8:24).

I'm starting to awake....

I wish I could sit back and say that we can trust our courts, that all will be well, that they surely are doing the right thing for Terri. I admit, the facts of this case are puzzling and it is possible that the judges and lawyers involved really are doing what's right and wise - but in some courts, with some judges, it's clear that we're heading into a classic Book of Mormon scenario - and trouble is brewing.

Whether Terri's case has been fairly adjudicated or not, the anti-life, anti-freedom tendencies of our courts need to be watched and resisted, in my opinion. It's a time to awake.

11 comments:

Brandon B said...

Well said, Jeff! I am currently a student studying and entering the criminal justice field and I have to agree that over the past 50 years or so the courts of our country have been invaded and overtaken with left-leaning individuals with an agenda. Disclaimer: I do not oppose democrate, or liberal judges on principal, just only when they MIS-interpret the law to suit their personal political beliefs. I agree that it has gotten to the point at which human life is concidered cheap and disposable. Animals and death-row inmates are given more rights than humans with disabilities and babies. The liberal left tries to distance themselves (and others) by using science and clever stand-in words to make it seem as if it is not killing. A baby becomes a fetus, a murder becomes an abortion, a DISABLED HUMAN becomes a "vegetable" how long untill they (as the nazi's did) go after mentally retarted persons? It sure is easy to attack those who cannot defend themselves! This is reflected everywhere thru the system. Scenario one: a murderer kills an 95-year-old person. Scenario two: a mother kills her 5-year old child. Who do you think get's the longer prison sentence? The killer of the elderly man does, the murdering mother gets a head evaluation and parole. Now ask yourself which crime is more heinous? depriving an old man of his last 5 years? or depriving a child of 95 years? Their whole lifetime. A fundamental problem we have is communities accepting and tolerating this behavior. Stand up, speak out! Life is worth more than I can fathom or convey.

nshumate said...

While I am certainly not opposed to strongly-held convictions (even those which differ from my own!), I would caution you against drawing conclusions about the motivations and morality of those who don't agree with you. There are, out here in the bloggernacle, those of us who support Michael Shiavo in this, and applaud the consistent string of court decisions. We consider ourselves faithful Latter-day Saints; at any rate, we do not consider human life cheap or disposable.

Please leave room for us on the righteous side of the aisle.

Brandon B. said...

My veiws as expressed earlier may come across as a little more heated than I intend. I do understand that there are many people who are on the opposite side of the issue who truely believe they are standing up for what is "right". I am not convinced. I think that there is enough evidence in support of some standard of rehabilitation she could endure that makes me want to error on the side of life. Once she is dead, she is dead and we won't be able to help her. I want to see every resource exhausted before she meets her fate. I also am not paticularly happy with the method of death she must endure, it doesn't seem paticularly humane to starve and dehydrate her to death. In the end, for now I support those who want her alive.

Guy Murray said...

Jeff,

Just a few more observations:

1. The judiciary, just like the other branches of government is not infallible; however, I think it critical, especially as latter-day saints, and all Americans, that we do respect the judiciary--Obey, honor and sustain the law.

2. I agree that there are some judges who abuse their powers (whether politically liberal or conservative). I have a difficult time with judges who have attempted to redefine marriage, an institution that has been defined one way for millennia. That is a social issue best defined by the people through their legislative representatives.

3. That is not the case here. In your response/post you brush the entire judiciary with the broad brush of liberalism and activism. Do you mean to use those broad strokes in the Schiavo case? Three levels of federal courts have looked at the case and have refused to grant relief. Among those justices were those on the Eleventh Circuit, and the entire U.S. Supreme Court. Are they all activist judges because they have refused to rule the way a vocal minority has advocated?

4. In my view a much stronger argument can be made in this instance that the activist branches of government was Congress and the Executive--not the Judiciary. Rather, it has been the Judiciary that has followed years and years of precedent, in interpreting the relevant statutes in issue.

5. That said, many of your points have merit; however, the Boy Scout example is not entirely accurate. The United States Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court have both held that the Boy Scouts are legitimately exercising their First Amendment Rights when the refuse to admit gays and/or atheists.

6. On abortion, it is troubling that so many abortions are likely performed for people as a matter of convenience. I am certain there will be an ultimate judgment for those actions, if not temporally, then eternally. I wonder, however, if a true majority of people in America had the moral discipline necessary, why haven't state legislatures and Congress enacted constitutional amendments to deal with this issue? Can we lay the entire blame at the feet of our judiciary?

7. I am concerned with those who espouse an ideology that will dismiss those charged with interpreting the law as out of touch, activist, liberal, or just wrong because they disagree with the ultimate result. I am troubled by individuals who should know better, i.e., Congressional leaders who berate the Judiciary for performing their constitutional functions under the law. To me, this is a blatant disregard of the law, and the antithesis of obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

I think you are right that it is a time to awake, and remain so.

Guy Murray said...

Jeff,

Just a few more observations:

1. The judiciary, just like the other branches of government is not infallible; however, I think it critical, especially as latter-day saints, and all Americans, that we do respect the judiciary--Obey, honor and sustain the law.

2. I agree that there are some judges who abuse their powers (whether politically liberal or conservative). I have a difficult time with judges who have attempted to redefine marriage, an institution that has been defined one way for millennia. That is a social issue best defined by the people through their legislative representatives.

3. That is not the case here. In your response/post you brush the entire judiciary with the broad brush of liberalism and activism. Do you mean to use those broad strokes in the Schiavo case? Three levels of federal courts have looked at the case and have refused to grant relief. Among those justices were those on the Eleventh Circuit, and the entire U.S. Supreme Court. Are they all activist judges because they have refused to rule the way a vocal minority has advocated?

4. In my view a much stronger argument can be made in this instance that the activist branches of government was Congress and the Executive--not the Judiciary. Rather, it has been the Judiciary that has followed years and years of precedent, in interpreting the relevant statutes in issue.

5. That said, many of your points have merit; however, the Boy Scout example is not entirely accurate. The United States Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court have both held that the Boy Scouts are legitimately exercising their First Amendment Rights when the refuse to admit gays and/or atheists.

6. On abortion, it is troubling that so many abortions are likely performed for people as a matter of convenience. I am certain there will be an ultimate judgment for those actions, if not temporally, then eternally. I wonder, however, if a true majority of people in America had the moral discipline necessary, why haven't state legislatures and Congress enacted constitutional amendments to deal with this issue? Can we lay the entire blame at the feet of our judiciary?

7. I am concerned with those who espouse an ideology that will dismiss those charged with interpreting the law as out of touch, activist, liberal, or just wrong because they disagree with the ultimate result. I am troubled by individuals who should know better, i.e., Congressional leaders who berate the Judiciary for performing their constitutional functions under the law. To me, this is a blatant disregard of the law, and the antithesis of obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

I think you are right that it is a time to awake, and remain so.

Anonymous said...

Guy Murray - So then according to your standards of obeying the law, what if this country decided to follow the Chinese in forcing abortion on women after one child? Do we still obey? At what point does this obey arguement fall apart in your eyes?

This country was founded on principles that are being twisted and distorted beyond recognition.

It is clear that you have not followed this case from the beginning. A place to start would be here: http://www.terrisfight.net/timeline.html

This is a timeline and you will note Michael's sudden rememberance that Terri didn't want to be alive in this condition came after he won 1.3 million in a lawsuit instead of the 20 million he sued for. He claimed he needed 20 million to keep her alive for the rest of her life, medication, etc. Then when he won the 1.3 he immediately began fighting to kill her. My guess is he would have done the same if he won 20 million. Clearly he was after the money, not fighting for his disabled wife. There is still a large balance of that money that he will get as soon as she is dead.

This is a sick and twisted case. There was evidence also in the very beginning of broken bones and also some bruising around her neck that made some think she had been strangled and beaten. But not enough evidence to indict Mr. Schiavo. You should read the medical reports, etc.

This is a case of gross misscarriage of justice that is leading this country further down the path of a culture of death.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone come to the conclusion that allowing someone to starve to death is humane?

We wouldn't allow that as a means for capital punishment. This society would lock someone up for allowing an animal to starve to death.

In the Netherlands they are already allowing handicapped and disabled children to be euthenized when the doctore determines that they simply don't have a certain quality of life. The children this is happening to have Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome and Spina Bifida. One would imagine them to be the worst cases, but they aren't. Many of these children have cognitive skills and eat on their own. But some doctor has decided he wouldn't want to live like that so he orders euthenasia.

What kind of people are we if we are unwilling to care for the least able to care for themselves?

Guy Murray said...

A more comprehensive and certainly more objective timeline is:

http://www.miami.edu/ethics/schiavo/timeline.htm

Anonymous said...

the whole situation stinks, really. a huaband wants her dead and her parents want her alive. her parents are gonna be sad soon, because it won't be long now before she finally starves to death. what tragedy. but really, i've stopped caring.

all i want to know about now is the rapture. protestants hold this as one of their main doctrines, and i just would like to know where they get this idea from. where in the bible does it talk about something like this, and how does the church interpret this part of the bible. i.e. what do we believe about the rapture? have any prophets or other GAs talked abnout something at all related to this topic? i'm really curious. thanks

Mormanity said...

Many excellent comments - thanks! I appreciate the generally respectful tone as well. Let me emphasize that there are significant points that can be made on both sides of this issue, leaving room for honest Chistians to differ in their views without desrving contempt or denunciation from their fellow Christians. While the information and perspectives that I have lead me to one clear conclusion that I have stated in strong terms, I appreciate that other LDS people may disagree in good faith.

Mormanity said...

Of course, many people who reluctantly accept the notion that the courts have acted with due process and according to high and noble principles of established law believe so, IN MY OPINION, as a result of not having been exposed to the clear and convincing evidence that the courts have grossly misbehaved in this matter, acting in violation of basic principles of justice. For example, it is widely claimed that all reputable meical authorities in this case have established that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state. NOT SO! Please read the news story, "Florida neurologist:
Terri's no vegetable
." There are many other articles of significance at the same site.

It's fine to have different views, but how can you deny the fact that a prominent neurologist has contrdicted the common assumption that Terri is just a vegetable? If there is doubt, shouldn't we error on the side of life until the doubt is removed?

I may not post more on this troublesome issue - there are so many other topics begging to be explored, but Terri's case is one that highlights some significant trends and dangers in our society. If we do not speak up for the unborn and the handicapped, if we can allow others to slay someone by just believing that she is brain dead when that is not the case, then we have crossed a terrible threshhold. It's been crossed before, and I don't like where it leads.