I keep reading and hearing that religious conservatives refer to the culture of “death” when they cite the recent defeat of Terri Schiavo’s family in trying to keep her alive on life support, despite her husband’s and, quite possibly, her own wishes.

It seems to me that exactly the opposite is true. It’s cultural and religious conservatives who have focused on this unfortunate exception, this borderline case of “life,” to actually make the case for life. How bizarre. You don’t champion life by looking at a case like Terri Schiavo. You champion life by upholding the values that make life possible: reasoning, thinking, responsible self-action, joyfully celebrating existence, being productive and much more.

Poor Terri Schiavo. I say “poor” because she can no longer exhibit the qualities that make life possible and worthwhile. This is not some subjective or arbitrary value judgment. This isn’t an optional question. This is how it is. If you want to fight for Terri Schiavo’s political right to be kept biologically alive indefinitely, then do so. But don’t make this a battle about life. Any remote remnant of life, rationally defined, ended a long time ago for Terri Schiavo, and it’s not coming back.

How odd, strange and sad that our religiously conservative President and Congress don’t want to fight for what life really is, and instead would prefer to obsessively focus on this sad case. This is the real story of our times. The Culture of Death is being promoted by those who shriek the loudest that they’re defending it.

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