Just occasionally, I hear conservatives (or "conservatives") talking among themselves about why we should talk about or worry about the life issues. Talking about it in the sense of wondering whether it's really worth doing, or why, or how such talk relates to some other issues they are concerned about, or whether perhaps we should now be focusing on something else.
This is always a puzzlement to me. If you believe that the unborn child is a non-person, then your mind has been warped, but I understand why you don't think we should be fighting the abortion war. Obviously. If you think people should have a right to commit suicide, then you are just on the other side of the issue from the conservatives. And so forth. But if we agree about the sanctity of human life, then it should go without saying that the life issues are central, overwhelming, non-negotiable, and that, really, we can never talk about them too much.
Though I don't want to belabor old history, that explains why I chimed in in the way I did on this previous thread to draw attention to a (perhaps surprising) fact about a philosopher often known as conservative. See especially the quotation here.
And now comes a post from Wesley J. Smith about a terrible case in the UK that shows why and how suicide, among the other life issues, is a non-negotiable, and why we cannot really be too careful in the way we talk and think about the elderly in our society.
When Eileen Martin, 76, developed dementia, her husband of more than 50 years, Kenneth, cared for her at their home.
But when he developed cancer he vowed not to leave his sick wife behind for the family to care for.
He warned his children: 'I won't leave you with the burden of your mother. When it's my time to go, it'll be her time to go.'
Mr Martin, a former steel erector who had suffered several strokes, diabetes and prostate cancer, admitted to his family that he was struggling to cope.
Then on the eve of their 55th wedding anniversary Mr Martin battered his wife to death with an axe or hammer before hanging himself at the couple's £180,000 semi-detached home.
Wesley J. Smith has recently been touring the UK debating the issue of suicide. He indicates that the "burden" way of thinking is widespread there and unabashed. One of his opponents said that we should help people die so that they can give their families the "gift" of not being a burden.
This is unacceptable, degrading, and dehumanizing. Indeed, it is more dehumanizing to the person who advocates such ideas than, objectively, to the person who is the target. For the real human value of the "burdensome" person cannot be lessened by his disabilities, whatever others may think of him, but one who believes and teaches that we should kill the innocent and helpless is deliberately striving to deface the image of God reflected in his own conscience.
Certainly, care givers for those with disabilities have much to do and much to suffer. They deserve all support and commendation for their work given in love. I only hope to be given grace to follow their good example in the future.
But I really begin to think that the word "burden" as applied to people should be stricken from the lexicon. To help someone to commit suicide is, as Wesley Smith has often said, the ultimate abandonment. Advocates of suicide and assisted suicide no doubt think that such cases are worlds away from Mr. Martin's bludgeoning his wife to death. I do not agree. The abandonment is the same, as is the deliberate rejection of love.
Let us never lose sight of the life issues, for on them hangs the very fabric and humanity of our society.