A Dark Passing Cloud

By Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director of Christian Life Resources


In 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in the infamous Roe v. Wade case, pro-life forces warned that this decision placed us on a “slippery slope.” It is true.

A funny thing about sliding down a slope is that sometimes you cannot perceive you are moving. If you have no outside points of reference nor any friction or vibration under your feet, you would not know you are sliding.

I have had that feeling on an airplane. You insert your sound-isolating earplugs, and on those days when the sky is crystal clear, you sometimes feel like you are not moving. But then you see another plane in the sky or a cloud, and it becomes a mile-marker to remind you that you are indeed moving.

The case of Charlie Gard will go down as one of those major mile-markers. When hospital officials and courts in Britain overruled life-preserving decision-making on the part of the parents, a new line had been crossed. The decision by the hospital to request and the Court to grant life-shortening action is one of those terrible dark passing clouds reminding us that we are indeed moving – and not in a good direction.

The name of Charlie Gard will be invoked often in theology and ethics classes as students are challenged to wrestle with the intrinsic value to human life pitted against an increasingly utilitarian view of life foisted on us by the elite of society. Students will be challenged not only to wrestle with the right treatment decisions for Charlie but the role of parents in making decisions for their children. Who does decide for those who cannot decide for themselves? Who determines that a patient has no voice and no advocate so that strangers must step in?

The underlying argument that keeps gaining a bit more traction with each mile-marker is that these changes are for the good of society. For the good of society abortion must be legal, we must grant assisted suicide, and we must step in when parents lack the insight to choose for the good of society. We see it in education, in recreation, in vaccinations, so it really is no surprise that we see it now in medical treatment.

There is much to be written on this subject. For now I highly recommend an article by Charles C. Camosy, a professor of theology at Fordham University. entitled: “Learning from Charlie Gard.” You can check it out here.



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