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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Morality, life and death

Issac J. Bailey Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun News

I’m going to stop praying to God and start praying to those who believe they have the market cornered on morality.

I’m not talking about those who share their beliefs out of love and a conviction to speak truth. We need their voices, even when they differ from our own. Often their counsel forces us to make better choices.

The people I have a problem with are those who insist their wisdom is as complete as God’s.

Why shouldn’t I pray to them? They already know what’s right. Why bother figuring it out for myself?

According to those folks, I must be crazy to believe a same-sex couple can have a God-honoring relationship. How dare I not simply accept their interpretation of Scripture?

And I must be a murderer if I think it’s wrong for the legislature to step into a situation it knows little about. I don’t know what should happen to Terri Schiavo because I don’t know her, can’t know her wishes. I know the case has been heard by at least 16 judges. I know a court-appointed guardian agrees with her husband and doctors who say she’s in a vegetative state. I know that given that amount of due process, legislators should have stayed out of the situation and instead prayed God’s will would be done.

I know that President Bush should get no credit for leaving vacation early to sign a law that adds unnecessary judicial action, particularly since he signed a Texas law in 1999 allowing hospitals to trump the wants of families when continued care is deemed futile. A baby was recently taken off life support against the mother’s wishes because of that law. Bush didn’t rush to be by that mother’s side as her baby died in her arms.

I know I believe in miracles and that doctors can be wrong. A doctor can detect signs of life. He can’t fully understand God’s plans before they are revealed.

I know that someone in a vegetative state can bring joy to those who love them and hope to strangers and that they can inspire others. I’m just not wise enough to know how much time must pass before that’s no longer the reality.

I don’t know whether I’d want to live if my body were an empty shell. But I’d want my wife to make the decision, without interference. Because after witnessing how every person with a cause or an opinion feels it’s their duty to step in where they have no claim, I know I don’t want to become another Terri Schiavo.

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