Daily Archives: August 15, 2009

Obama implies he’s not a believing Christian

“I just lost my grandmother last year. I know what it’s like to watch somebody you love, who’s aging, deteriorate and have to struggle with that,” an impassioned Obama told a crowd as he spoke of Madelyn Payne Dunham. He took issue with “the notion that somehow I ran for public office or members of Congress are in this so they can go around pulling the plug on grandma.”

I know people are going to call this a stretch, but one thing I’ve experienced first hand, and through many conversations, is how different the death experience for those who have faith and those who don’t.

One person’s “agonizing” death from cancer may be a time of family togetherness, all-night prayer vigils, hand holding and hugging and hymnody.  Another’s death really is agony: dark-rooms, somber relatives, no one speaking, everyone standing at a distance. 

We had a big conversation about this at my Carmelite meeting a few months ago.  People told amazing stories of relatives’ deathbed conversions.  Some talked about relatives who had no faith, whose deaths were *horrible.* “You could feel the demons in the room,” said one lady of her brother-in-law’s death experience.  He was writhing in the bed, screaming.  Suddenly, he asked for a priest.  They got the priest who’d been waiting outside, blocked by the atheist relatives.  The priest received the dying man into the Church, and the whole room changed.

When you hear liberals talk about death, they talk about the agonizing nature of it. And the liberals, and the media, just don’t get it.  They think people have a “choice” about “end of life” care (to a certain extent, we do).  They say that the Schiavo case was a matter of “choice” and “family decisions” in which the government had no place (even though it had been in court for years, and the federal involvement was merely giving the family a chance at an appeal to someone other than the corrupt judge who always ruled in Michael’s favor).

But you don’t have the choice not to accept basic nutrition.  You have to the choice to refuse medical care, under certain circumstances . You do *not* have the choice to turn down basic nutrition or hydration, even to the point of refusing to provide nutritoin or hydration to a dying person when one has pulled the plug.

But his talk of the agonizing experience of watching his grandmother’s death–and how much did he actually experience?  Was it agonizing because of his guilt of putting his own ambitions above family?–betrays the fact that he thinks death is something fearful.

Years ago, before my heart surgery, the topic was being discussed at a Cursillo Ultreya.  Members were discussing their ailing parents and how sad it was they were dying in their 80s or whatever, and Dad said, “When John dies, it will be the happiest day of our lives.  All he wants is to go to Heaven, and why should we be sad that he gets his heart’s desire?”