Why wasn't letting Schiavo die a Christian option, too?That sensible question is among a number of tough ones raised today in a superb article by journalist Wes Allison, who has the medical beat for the St. Petersburg, FL Times.
The St. Petersburg Times is one of the very best newspapers in the U.S. I've seen it before in my travels and marvelled at its quality. So, I should not have been surprised to learn, as I discover Russell Baker wrote about four years ago, that the St. Petersburg Times is not controlled by a mega media corporation. Instead, it is owned by the Poynter Foundation , a Florida-based "not-for-profit educational institution... dedicated to training working journalists to do superior journalism."
Allison's article certainly is one of the most succinct, intelligent pieces I've seen anywhere summing up the intersecting debates over morality, religion, politics, and science that may be Terri Schaivo's most enduring legacy. For context, Allison manages to weave intriguing bits of personal character (Bobby Schindler is "a Catholic school science teacher") with fascinating constitutional and religious arcania ("The Catholic church teaches that life begins at conception; it used to teach that life began at quickening, some 40 days into pregnancy"). Then, using local and prominent expert sources, he melds the whole into a well balanced statement of the bio-ethical, legal, religious, and political issues that have been sparked but not resolved by Schaivo case.
Just the other day I came across another Cassandra piece foretelling the imminent death of newspapers. Maybe so. But in the meantime, enjoy an example of newspaper journalism at its best.