Shooting the gay cause in the foot...
This article is written on the ideal of promoting justice, understanding, and tolerance for ALL. Nevertheless, the article endorses several stereotypes that bring me back to a former thread:"my opinion: the far left is just as predisposed to hypocrisy as the right." As a responsible citizen, I do not support the Marriage Ammendment. I also agree with the frustration expressed in this article regarding the actions and attitudes of those on the religious right. But, the fact is that bias is bias, no matter who has it, and the reports attached to it are commonly inaccurate from at least one side of the issue.
An example of this is the following quote:
This news website hosting this article is called: "Counterbias: Online Opinion Armed with the Truth." This name immediately sends up a red flag for me. This is why:
Ms. Cloyd’s CitizenLink article reported an interview with Mr. Hynes: leading questions, predictable replies, beginning with Hynes’ unctuous tip of the political hat to “kingmaker” and Focus on the Family chairman James Dobson in relation to the Terri Schiavo fiasco: “but the only people that were standing up were people like Dr. James Dobson.”
Standing up for what? Using a family’s personal tragedy for political gain? The vast majority of the American public thought people like Dobson – and Sen. Rick Santorum – should have stayed out of the Schiavo case. Recall that it was a Dobson supporter who traveled from Michigan to Florida to offer a hamburger and soda to a comatose, brain-dead woman who hadn’t swallowed – much less chewed – in years. How out of focus and pathetically cruel is that?
First of all, I have to say that in all honesty, this excerpt made me very, very angry. This is the third time I've heard Terri Schiavo's tragic death mentioned in connection with a specific left wing argument against the religous right or a democratic argument against the republicans. Secondly, it is true that many on the religious right stood against what happened in Ms. Schiavo's case, because they, like many nonreligious people, genuinely felt that it was IMMORAL and thus needed to be disuaded by responsible citizens. It wasn't that the "right wing" had a monopoly on this position-scores of disability groups felt the same way-but Mel Seesholz obvilously didn't feel compelled to mention this, which, to me, shows a/n(unconscious?) prejudice on his part.
Even more importantly, the article clearly endorses only ONE position in his case as being humane and moral: "It was a Dobson supporter who traveled from Michigan to Florida to offer a hamburger and soda to a comatose, brain dead woman who hadn't swalled, much less chewed-in years. How pathetically cruel is that?" Despite the fact that he is not a doctor, Mel Seesholtz feels that he can say with absolute certainty that Terri was a "comatose, brain dead woman who hadn't swallowed, much less chewed-in years."
It is a FACT that Terri's state was widely disputed by a number of prominent neurologists, including one who had been nominated for the Nobel Prize, Dr. William M. Hammesfahr. I have posted an open letter by Bob Schindler below my comments. In reading this letter, you will see that it was published by the Christian newswire. Was this evidence of an anti-secular, anti-diversity attitude on the part of Bob Schindler? I doubt it. It was a public press release, but was it published by anyone in the mainstream media? No-for some reason, it just isn't there along with concern for other diversity issues.
My segway into this has to do with a very important issue that will forever impede collaboration on gay issues: seperate agendas that play with life and death. I cannot in good conscience endorse the writings of someone who sees fit to take the mainstream media's reports at face value when considering the withdrawal of medical support from a severely disabled person. More importantly, this the third time that I've heard Terri Schiavo's tragic death mentioned in conjunction with a left with article against the religious right. THAT is using Terri and her family for political gain, and it definitely didn't help her or her family. As loudly as some on the far left contend that the right wing "used" Terri, there were SEVERAL moderates and left-wing leaning people who felt that her treatment was wrong, including, for instance, Joe Leiberman. Unfortunately, all I heard discussed when I watched the mainstream news was whether or not the religious right was using this case, with a sideline mention of disability groups vehenmtly involved in this case.
THis kind of attitude is what makes Christians shy away from causes affilliated with the left wing, including homosexual rights. No one, including myself, wants to allign themselves with groups that campain ferociously for gay individuals but do not stop to think twice about what is happening to vulnerable people who are considered by many to be a drain on our society. Until groups and press releases from both sides start painting a fair depiction of the issues they choose to opine on, and stop affiliating their causes with a tangentile seperate agenda, the struggle for us all will remain hard and bitter.
tContact: Bobby Schindler, Jr., Terri Schiavo’s brother, 727-490-7603
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Sept. 21 / Christian Newswire/ -- Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s brother, submits for publication the following letter in response to the Sept. 15, opinion piece by Ellen Goodman, “Playing vegetative mind games.” Bobby Schindler is available to comment on this matter.
I read your recent column, "Playing vegetative mind games".
The lengths that you and many of your colleagues continue to go to in order to somehow justify the barbaric killing of my sister, Terri, are truly sad and in my opinion a tragic reflection of how you and those that think like you have truly misplaced your humanity.
What is so profoundly frightening about what you wrote is the effort to use this scientifically inaccurate persistent vegetative state (PVS) label to indiscriminately decide when it’s permissible to kill those that are disabled. As you pointed out in your column, there are tens of thousands of people that have experienced a brain injury. The idea that certain lives have somehow lost their meaning because they exist in this so-called PVS, which according to you, is some type of "horrifying" state of consciousnesses or lack thereof (not quite sure how you or anyone would have knowledge of this) is equally alarming. It is this form of lethal bigotry that my family battled in our efforts to get help for my sister.
Recently, a British research study concluded that the PVS diagnosis is in fact misdiagnosed more than 40% of the time. Recognizing this finding along with this most recent discovery, and others similar to it, one with any common sense would have to agree that using the completely subjective PVS “diagnosis” as the basis to kill the disabled is clearly outrageous.
Incidentally, I find it remarkable how the voice of disabled community has been all but ignored by most of the popular media. Why are the persons that are truly in harm’s way, the disabled, rarely mentioned? There were thirty (30) local and national disability organizations that publicly spoke out on behalf of Terri, yet their voices have been silenced.
It seems to me that in spite of your opinion (and many in the mainstream media for that matter) the general public is just not agreeing with what you and so many morally misguided individuals are promoting. Fortunately, good people know the fundamental difference between right and wrong, and have compassion for those that are most vulnerable. Regardless of these dehumanizing labels, they realize that preying on the brain injured is not a way of showing kindness, nor is it some form of altruism, but rather a selfish and cowardly act by those who justify in their minds that the killing of the weak and voiceless is somehow "okay".
It comes down to this Ms. Goodman, and it's really very simple - it's not up to you or anyone to decide.
Perhaps if you ever had the opportunity to care for someone like Terri you would understand why your article is so offensive not only to her memory and my family, but also to the tens of thousands of brain injured persons that you claim to speak for.
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation
5562 Central Avenue, Suite 2
St. Petersburg, FL 33707
P.S. I thought it would be helpful to you to include the names of the medical professionals, many being distinguished neurologists, who either believed that Terri was not in a PVS or could have been helped if Michael Schiavo and/or the courts would have permitted it (all of their affidavits submitted to Judge George Greer can be accessed on terrisfight.org).
Perhaps your next article might make mention of them.
1. Dr. Jay Carpenter
2. Dr. Fred Webber
3. Dr. Jacob Green
4. Dr. Alexander T. Gimon
5. Dr. William Scott Russell
6. Dr. Joseph L. Brunner
7. Dr. David L. Coulter
8. Dr. David Hopper
9. Dr. Beatrice Engstrand
10. Dr. Alyse Eytan
11. Dr. Harry Sawyer Goldsmith
12. Dr. William M. Hammesfahr
13. Dr. Paul Harch
14. Dr. Carolyn Heron
15. Dr. Lawrence Huntoon
16. Pamela Hyink, SLP
17. Dr. Jill Joyce
18. Dr. James P. Kelly
19. Dr. Philip R. Kennedy
20. Dr. Kyle Lakas
21. Dr. Peter J. Luca
22. Dr. William Maxfield
23. Dr. Peter J. Morin
24. Myra Stinson, CCC-SLP
25. Dr. James Avery
26. Dr. Ricardo Senno
27. Dr. Stanely A. Terman
28. Dr. J. Michael Uszler
29. Dr. Richard Weidman
30. Dr. Jon David Young
31. Dr. Thomas Mark Zabiega
32. Dr. Ralph Ankenman
33. Carla Sauer Iyer, RN
34. C. Johnson, CNA
35. Heidi Law, CNA
36. Sara Green Mele, MS, CCC-SLP
37. Dr. Laurie Barclay
38. Dr. Rodney Dunaway
39. Dr. George Isajiw
40. Dr. Leonard P. Rybak
41. Dr. Richard Neubauer
Last edited by Progo35; 06-27-2007 at 08:13 PM.
So many issues!
I didn't want your post to go unrecognized. I think you bring up an important point.
You have outlined the problem that one-issue political movements bump up against all the time. Politicians even have a term to describe it: Stay On Message.
Most Americans don't think in the rigid categories that the extremes depict us as using. We feel strongly about one or more issues, but we don't have the emotional (or time) resources to engage all of them. These forums are for GLBT folks and their allies (of which I number you as a strong Christian ally, and I'm happy you're here). So, we tend to concentrate, here at least, on the issues that we have in common. such as gay marriage and antidiscrimination legislation, to name a few.
As an example, in my job as a news librarian, I just did some research for a reporter on autism in children. It's an astounding topic to contemplate, and parents of autistic children need to be passionate about the subject to advocate for their children and to get the best services for them. Others, their relatives, neighbors and friends, have a lot of sympathy, but don't delve into the topic too deeply. Most others barely know what autism means.
I'm aware from other posts you've made that you have an abiding concern for disability issues. My partner has been active in the disabilities world for nearly 20 years, most of them advocating for the Deaf community. But even after all these years, I'm only mildly involved. For one thing, I don't know ASL, but for another, my interests are different.
I agree with you about the extremes of the spectrum. We're all guilty at times of distorting the importance of our own views, or at least skewing the context somewhat. But I think it's disingenuous to expect someone who is conversative or liberal -- or anyplace else on the spectrum -- to agree with ALL the issues that usually line up on those sides. That's why some of our members who identify themselves as conservative or evangelical Christians work so hard to find their Christian identities in the gay community.
In fact, most citizens fall somewhere in the middle on most of the issues, and they are the ones political activists need to convince to move their agendas forward. For this reason, the right talks ceaselessly about family values and the GLBT community answers just as loudly that our families are important, too. As you suggest, there are so many other vitally important issues that concerned Americans need to address. I'm sure if you polled members of the Soulforce forums that we would not be unanimous on such things as righ-to-die/right-to-live, pro choice/pro life and any of the other hot-button issues of our day.
I admire your gumption in coming to Soulforce from a coversative Christian community like Gordon College, and engaging us here with love and openness. I didn't want you to feel that no one saw how important these issues are to you. You bring up an important point: Both extremes are guilty of distorting the facts to make a point. Thank you for being vigilant about this.
Besides, I'm also from Massachusetts. We Bay Staters need to stick together!
When you can transform the war and violence in yourself, then you can truly begin to help others find peace. Thich Nhat Hanh
Last edited by BenL; 06-27-2007 at 03:31 PM.
Thanks for replying to my comments. I appreciate that. And, I hope that I haven't given the impression that I'm using the soulforce forums to simply get my own issues out. I didn't feel that your post was saying this, it's been something that I've been worried about myself. The fact is that I don't know any openly gay people, so that while I want to be supportive, I don't know anyone who is struggling with being discriminated against or trying to get married...so I don't have a lot to contribute there, as much as I can contribute parallels from being a disabled person.
And, of course, I expect people on this forum to have different views on disability issues, etc. I would just like to see our culture understand the parallels between the right to marriage issue, which revolves around people being deprived of their rights as citizens, and, for instance, the Futile Care issue, which deprives people of their rights as citizens. The Futile Care dillemma is to physically disabled people what hate crimes and hate crime legislation is to LGBT people. So, when I read a commentary from the left or right that champions this issue while actually putting down and devaluing the life of a person like Terri Schiavo, who, many feel, was murdered, I get angry at the people who wrote it, who are purporting to be so non-racist, progressive, etc, but maintain an unquestioned acceptance of relegating disabled individuals to the status of non-people.
Now, I don't think that LadyinRed, who posted the link, or anyone else here, thinks that, and I certainly don't think that people shouldn't have their views and express them. I would just like people who are concerned with social justice to see that kind of attitude towards people like Terri as the same as racism or homophobia, because that is what it is to the millions of people and family members who deal with such things. It's one thing to institute a DNR order after one has entered the final stages of cancer or has succumbed to their illness only to be revived, but it is a completely different thing to say that anyone who is unconscious or in a PVS state, etc, should be taken off life support in the name of "compassion." This seems to be what the author of this news article thinks. Moreover, his description of Terri's state wans't even accurate or open to the possibility her not being brain dead. Even those who supported the withdrawal of life support will tell you that she wasn't brain dead, which is different from being in the PVS state. Seeing this kind of attitude makes me want to climb the wall in the way that anti-LBGT things make LGBT people and their other allies want to climb the wall. I don't understand why, in this day and age, people don't see that kind of attitude as comparable to saying that black people or LGBT people should be killed for their own good. It is very discouraging that society hasn't yet learned that important lesson, regardless of their political persuasion.
Thanks, again, Ben. I always enjoy chatting with you.
Last edited by Progo35; 06-27-2007 at 08:17 PM.