When does advocacy turn from focusing on an injustice to focusing on yourself? After spending Saturday taking phone calls on our radio show and reading today’s USA Today article about the increasingly chaotic demonstrations outside Terri Schiavo’s hospice, I would say that the time has arrived. Randall Terry, the radical anti-abortion activist who had mostly disappeared from national view over the past few years, has suddenly grabbed the stage in Florida, and his followers have stopped taking their cues from Terri’s family:
Tension mounted outside Woodside Hospice here, where Schiavo was in her 10th day without food or water. Bobby Schindler, Schiavo’s brother, told the protesters they aren’t helping his family by getting arrested.
Karl Henderson, 25, of Denver Bible Church, took issue with Schindler. “We should be able to take her water if she’s dying,” he said.
“You’re not speaking for our family,” Schindler said.
Randall Terry used his platform as a self-styled spokesman for the Schindlers to accuse Jeb Bush of lacking manhood and stirring the natural anger over this injustice to demand that Bush act outside the law to override the courts:
“If Gov. Bush wants to be the man that his brother is, he needs to step up to the plate like President Bush did when the United Nations told him not to go into Iraq,” Randall Terry, a protest organizer, said of the governor. “Be a man. Put politics aside.” …
Among the messages on protest signs Sunday: “Barbara Bush: Are you proud of your sons now?” “Stop the American Holocaust!” “Send in the National Guard!”
It wasn’t just the Schindler’s suppporters who appear to have hijacked the demonstrations, either. The Communists arrived to tell the world that people should die when their brains don’t function, a piece of advice we wished they would have taken a century ago:
After remarks by Randall Terry — an activist against abortion rights who has been acting as a spokesman for Terri Schiavo’s family, the Schindlers — members of a group calling itself the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigades seized control of the microphones and blasted Terry as a “Christian fascist thug” trying to interfere in “the most intimate affairs of life and death.”
“[Terri Schiavo’s] brain is not functional. It’s not going to recover. Let her die in peace,” pleaded Sunsari Taylor, a member of the group.
OK, folks. This has dissolved into a tragic circus, where the people supposedly supporting the Schindlers won’t listen to them and the Communist Youth Brigades steal microphones to get themselves air time. The emotions have run away with the argument, to the point where conservatives have now started to argue for the executive to outgun the judiciary and impose its will regardless of the law.
It’s time to put the signs down, and start praying for Terri. We need to fix the system, not trash it completely, and we need to stop giving air time to the most radical elements on both sides so we can determine the best way to do so.