Thursday, March 24

Too Much To Ask

Things we already knew:

It's too much to ask that fundamentalists, evangelicals, or right-wing Catholics be forced to justify their demands for political action in terms other than their faith. Likewise, they are not to be asked why their morality comes to the fore only in certain, well-publicized cases.

There are roughly 30-35,000 people on life support in this country. In lots of those cases there's no living will or explicit instructions. In nearly every one families are faced with terrible, soul-wrenching decisions, and they're often at odds about it.

We handle left-wing religious political concerns by treating the political issue. The war, the death penalty, social justice are left-wing issues, not moral dilemmas.

The two local news broadcasts I caught last night featured graphics of Terri Schiavo with the title The Fight For Life.

It's too much to ask that the chatters who so strongly support the "Culture of Life" show actual respect for the living, by, say, not simply throwing shit about Michael Schiavo against the wall to see what sticks.

Charles Krauthammer (e.g.) says, Terri "stands in the way" of Michael remarrying, ignoring the fact that this man could have divorced his wife at any time, washed his hands of the whole deal, and left what's left of her to the father who pulled the plug on his mother a decade ago.

It's too much to ask that we look for answers in the same place in similar situations. Jeff Weise's emotional history is the stuff of earnest speculation; Terry Ratzmann "had no known motive".

I've heard a good half-dozen reports on Weise's internet behavior, about how he was in a garage band, how he "dressed in black, like a Goth." Police seized three computers from Ratzmann's home. He never posted anything online? Just had Quicken on all three? What kind of music did he listen to? Did he hunt, fish, watch American Idol?

The public search for moral answers is similarly a one-way street. If teenagers have sex it's a matter of a permissive culture. If they go on a shooting spree somehow it's not a question of a violent culture, unless it's the cartoon violence of video games and not the real violence of levelling a city of 300,000 inhabitants.

There's a genuine poignancy in Weise's writings. "16 years of accumulated rage suppressed by nothing more than brief glimpses of hope, which have all but faded to black," he wrote in his bio, and gave his location as "endless scrutiny, Minnesota, United States." But nobody's gonna stick a microphone in some religious right spokesman's face to ask about this kid. They just get to talk about saving lives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

dear mr. riley,

you've either forgotten or never knew that these christians are working with THE ONE TRUE MESSIAH, and anyone who doesn't believe in the same things they do are not just mistaken -- they do satan's work.

under that logic, jews/muslims/hindus/etc are going to hell.

hell, i believe you live in indiana; you must know that.