Michael Schiavo and his new wife, Jodi recently did an interview with Matt Lauer, for Dateline NBC. I didn't see the interview on television, but I read the transcript of it online yesterday. The issue I wanted to address here is this quote from Jodi Schiavo -- (on p.2 of the three-page article) -- it really saddens and angers me:
Terri’s hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida became a scene of protest— a rallying place for right to life groups who said Terri would suffer a cruel death. Michael was called everything from “an abuser” to “a murderer,” and Jodi says even their two young children were threatened.
Jodi Schiavo: It’s very hard to accept when you get letters addressed to “the bastard children of Michael Schiavo” and they talk about how children are stolen out of their home every day and they just disappear. And to always look over your shoulder, saying “I’ll be there.” And then at the end of the letter, they’re quoting scripture.This is what I meant a few weeks ago, when I wrote the entry about theology getting in the way of our collective testimony as Christians. Regardless of the circumstance, I don't believe this type of ugliness should ever be coming from Christians. There's just no excuse for it, if you truly believe in the teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately, these types of attitudes are the ones that get publicized, rather than a Christian who has shown kindness or compassion. Everyone knows there are media who thrive on making all Christians look bad by broadcasting examples of extreme judgmentalism and closed-mindedness. Why help them out?
I don't know what religion the Schiavos profess, if any, but how can we honestly expect unbelievers who experience (or read about) this to embrace a religion whose members attack with such hateful, threatening words whenever someone makes them angry? Plus, when we try to hold unbelievers to spiritual standards they can't even understand, it's a big turn-off. I certainly wouldn't want to be the reason someone hardens their heart toward God.
It's one thing to speak up for something you believe in, but (in my opinion) these scripture-spewing zealots definitely crossed the line when they lashed out at the Schiavos with threats upon their family. I don't know any followers of Christ, recipients of His grace, who would condone such an explosive reaction. God didn't give us Scripture to be used as a weapon to condemn and scare other people. Jesus Himself made it a point to hang out with sinners, scumbags and Samaritans in order to show them love and give them hope; the apostle Paul called himself the worst sinner of all. Face it -- we ALL sin ... and God loves us anyway.
The good news is that as a Christian, my "defining moment" in life will not be the most disgusting, heinous sin that I ever committed -- it will be the moment I repented, and then placed my faith in Jesus for my salvation, and for forgiveness of ALL my sins. It comforts me to know that in the end, humans won't be the official judges of the world - God will.
Just saw the book cover at Costco, and it expresses more of the same:
"A religious zealot offered $250,000 to anyone who would kill me. My two babies were threatened with death. I was condemned by the president, the majority leaders of the House and Senate, the governor of Florida, the pope, the right-wing media..."