Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Terri at Center of Modern-Day Passion Play

Katrina of Cait's Oz Blogs sees Terri Schiavo's suffering as a modern-day passion play, with Terri in the role of Christ.

Reading that, I felt uncomfortable thinking of Terri's case in those terms, because it feels uncomfortable to put any other human being in Jesus's role. Such comparisons are an overdone cliché, one that's usually best avoided.

An e-mail from reader Chris Arsenault—who tells me that he wrote it before reading Katrina's piece—caused me to rethink the metaphor. Without augmenting or taking away from Jesus' own divinity, we can nonetheless see in the suffering of others a metaphor for what Christ suffered for our sake.

The difference is that there is still time for us to pray for Terri and contact public officials (see BlogsForTerri for action updates) in the hope that her time has not yet come.

Chris writes:

I'm not claiming Terri Marie Schindler-Schiavo is a saint, but the number of parallels between her and Christ are starting to add up.

Jesus was innocent and did not deserve to die.
Terri is innocent and does not deserve to die.

Jesus was betrayed by one he loved for a price.
Terri has been betrayed by one she loved for a price.
Both betrayed by a kiss - Terri with a wedding vow.

Judas Iscariot believing his actions will bring about a popular uprising to throw off Rome.
Schiavo (and Felos, Greer and Cranford) believing this will bring about a popular uprising to establish a 'right' to die.

Jesus was run through the courts
before Sanhedrin
before Pilate
before Herod Antipas
before Pilate
before the public

Terri has been run through the courts
before Greer
before State & Federal
before Greer
before Federal (Whittemore)
before the public

Truth taken out of context used as a testimony against them:

Terri's claim of not wanting to live like something she saw in a movie (which movie?) doesn't speak to what she really does want. It is erroneous to believe such a statement means she wants to die, simply because that's what you think she might have meant. If she really wanted to die she would have said something like, "if I'm like that, then kill me.")
Jesus's claims about the temple were taken out of context and applied to the building when he meant his body.

Both remained silent before their accusers.

Blatant hypocrisy in the investigation for truth.

Extraordinary legalism involved in the trials vs doing what is right.
For instance, overlooking the truth claims made by Christ, but requiring his body to be taken down before the Sabbath.

The truth claims made by Terri - her own body and medical record speaks of the factual truth of abuse and neglect, but is substantially ignored by the appellate courts.

Peter denied Jesus 3 times.
Greer has denied Terri 3 times by pulling her tube.
(Greer is her self-appointed guardian ad litem - advocate)

Jesus was scourged - suffered.
Terri is being scourged by starvation and has been suffering for years.

There are those for life
There are those for death

In both cases there was/is a crowd calling for his/her death!

Armed guards keeping the mother of each of them away from the body to deny
them help.

Those who could be defending Terri (the liberal left) call for an evildoer instead. This is akin to asking for the release of Barrabas--defending Abu Ghraib terrorists while remaining silent on Terri comes to mind.

All of this with just a brief amount of thinking about it. I'm sure there is a lot more.

Think God is trying to say something this week?

Chris Arsenault
MORE: Wise words from Joel:
The idea that Terri's suffering is in some way representative of Christ's suffering is misguided, in my opinion. The fact is that Christ's suffering only ever happened because he voluntarily chose to represent us, in our fallen and suffering state, to God. He only ever suffered because of the suffering that came into the world by sin. Suffering is not cool. It never was cool, God doesn't think it's cool, hip or intrinsically holy. Suffering is a tragedy that was never supposed to be.

I know we will have the desire to find meaning in a situation which we fear will end in tragedy, but to search for parallels between her situation and Christ's suffering is to enter a fantasy, and in a sense, to cede the battlefield to the enemy. It is as much as if to say, "We may abate our prayers for her life, for lo! Behold how God means to make a stained glass window of her suffering!"

Fellow believers, we must continue to pray for her. This isn't a lovely Easter story shaping up, it's the moral death of a nation underway, and the mortal death of an innocent woman. Never, never, never give up. If we pray, argue, pursuade and agitate as well as we possibly can, and she nonetheless dies, we may still know that we never accorded the enemy so much as an inch of ground.
FURTHER READING: The Curt Jester covered similar ground this morning.