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Thursday, March 31, 2005
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Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union "the focus of evil in the modern world" (at the annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals, Orlando, Fla., March 8, 1983). The role that the Soviet Union played in the international arena then, the judiciary has fulfilled in our domestic life for the last 50 years and more.
The courts have been the staging ground for a sustained assault on the moral foundations of our institutions and the conscience of the American people. Now, that assault has come to a head in the judicially mandated murder of an innocent, helpless person, whose condition of severe disability should have commanded our compassion, but instead invited a ruthless assault on her person and her most fundamental constitutional rights.
Those of us who have been in the thick of battle against the culture of death have argued for many years that the judiciary's willingness to allow murder in the womb would lead to murder in the world at large. Now our analysis has been verified by the judiciary's stubborn and ruthless advocacy of the right to kill a childlike disabled person named Terri.
Under cover of viciously bigoted expressions of public prejudice against her because of her physical condition, court after court – from probate Judge Greer to the highest federal court in the land – joined in sanctioning this travesty of justice. Some people cited this as proof that the murder was lawful and must be accepted by us as such. On the contrary, like the Dred Scott decision on slavery in the 19th century, it is in fact proof that utter moral corruption, lawlessness and lack of conscience now characterize the judiciary at every level, representing a grave threat to the physical and moral lives of our people.
Sadly, for some Americans, the assertion of lawless and unconstitutional judicial authority has now become the substitute for the authority of God as final arbiter of the public morality of our nation. We should have foreseen their ambition when they abused their authority to drive God and prayer from our schools, from our public events, from our public places and monuments. William Penn was right when he said: "If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants," and on the bench those tyrants have now appeared.
The judicially mandated murder of Terri Schiavo warns us, however, that by their tyranny they seek to expropriate and corrupt something more precious than property, more precious than physical life, more precious even than liberty itself. They seek to dominate and destroy our moral being as a people, and by doing so to prepare us – as philosophers, professors and public leaders of the Weimar Republic prepared the German people – to tolerate or be the instruments of the worst kind of atrocities.
Then, as now, the corruption of conscience began under the specious pretext of saving disabled people from the supposedly oppressive burden of living out their lives. By undermining the people's sensitivity to atrocity against innocent, vulnerable individuals they prepared them callously to ignore and explain away massive atrocity against large groups and whole races and nations. If the death of one innocent helpless person counts for nothing because it is sanctioned by the formal appearance of legality, then the death of millions counts for nothing when it appears in the same disguise – a million times nothing is nothing.
This is the calculus of evil. The judicially mandated murder of Terri Schiavo shows that it is already deeply in our midst. Already we find the guards who will deny food and water to those shriveling with starvation; already we find the jurists and media hounds who will order or advocate their destruction; already we find the public officials who acknowledge the injustice but do nothing, when their sworn duty is to defend and protect constitutional right.
Nazi Germany is not the only historical illustration of the fact that evil, once licensed by the specious pretext of legal formalism, sets no boundaries to its atrocious appetites. This latest judicial atrocity is a clarion sign and warning to America. As a people we must awaken and heed its meaning.
We must rediscover the constitutional tools with which we can defend
our moral being. We must rally around leaders willing to understand and
make use of them. We must now resolve that the suffering of Terri Schiavo
– and the long agony of her parents and true family – will not be in vain.
Terri's innocent life was at stake, but so is the moral life and future
liberty of our whole people.
Be sure to visit Alan Keyes' communications center for founding principles, The Declaration Foundation.
Former Reagan administration official Alan Keyes, was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Social and Economic Council and 2000 Republican presidential candidate.
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