Battlepanda: Suffering for Jesus


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Suffering for Jesus

Via Dadahead, I see that Mark Noonan is disgusted by baby Chanou's parent's decision to let her die rather than suffer for the rest of her short and pain-filled life. Here's a little bit of backgound on the case:
WHEN Frank and Anita’s daughter Chanou was born with an extremely rare, incurable illness in August 2000, they knew that her life would be short and battled against the odds to make it happy.

They struggled around the clock against their baby’s pain. “We tried all sorts of things,” said Anita, a 37-year-old local government worker. “She cried all the time. Every time I touched her it hurt.”

Chanou was suffering from a metabolic disorder that had resulted in abnormal bone development. Doctors gave her no more than 30 months to live. “We felt terrible watching her suffer,” said Anita at their home near Amsterdam. “We felt we were letting her down.”

Frank and Anita began to believe that their daughter would be better off dead. “She kept throwing up milk that was fed through a tube in her nose,” said Anita. “She seemed to be saying, ‘Mummy, I don’t want to live any more. Let me go’.”

Eventually, doctors agreed to help the baby die at seven months.
What can I say? I am disgusted by his disgust. The baby is innocent -- prolonging her suffering when there is no hope of recovery is nothing short of obscene to me. The parents of this child loved her enough not to withold mercy, and for this they are censured as selfish baby-killers by Mark.

I can start castigating Mark for being a callous bastard. And so he would be, from my point of view. But it is clear that Mark has a very different point of view, so lets let him speak for himself:
You should know that you are talking to a man who watched his mother choke out the last two years of her life with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It was a horrible thing to go through - and horrible for the loved one's to watch. Do you know what it is like to listen to your mother, who thinks you're asleep, crying out in the middle of the night, "oh, why can't I just die?".

I wouldn't kill my mother, and she wouldn't ever have thought of asking me to kill is life; and it is not always pleasant. You take the good with the bad and, if you have wisdom, you praise God no matter what condition you are in because no matter how bad it is, it could be worse and no matter how bad it gets, it will get better in the end - even a lingering, painful death has the crowning mercy that it will not last forever...eventually, peace comes.

We do not have the wisdom to determine when innocent people should die - and if you dare take that authority upon yourself, then you are repeating the original sin - ope the you are seeking to be God. Last I checked, you didn't create something out of nothing, so I dispute your claim to the throne of God.
First of all, I would just like to say that I feel really bad for Mark and his mom, and I hope the following shouldn't be taken as disrespect for the choices that she made. But since Mark put it out there as part of the discussion, it does raise an interesting point...all of Mark's arguments against euthanasia is predicated on the fact that there is a God (and that he doesn't like euthanasia, natch). And I'm sure that's something that Mark himself is certain of. But that's not something that I believe in. So when Mark argues that euthanasia is immoral because we don't have the wisdom to make life and death decisions, he is basically asking me to abdicate the ability to make those super-important decisions to a power that I believe does not exist. I believe that this life is all I have, and Mark is asking me to end it in cruel suffering and indignity if I should draw the short straw rather than making a painless exit because his God wouldn't like it. Hmmm. I don't think he's going to get very far with that argument. As heartrending as his mother's slow decline was, she had the sweetener of knowing that it is only a trial she has to endure before eternal life, a comfort I won't have in her position.

A good death is counted as one of the five blessings of life by the Chinese along with wealth, health, longevity and virtue. Mark wouldn't think of depriving me of four of those blessings, what makes him think he has the moral right to deny me the fifth?

And please, don't say the guy in the sky.