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  • 标题:Going Too Far - Brief Article
  • 作者:Joni Eareckson Tada
  • 期刊名称:Accent on Living
  • 印刷版ISSN:0001-4508
  • 出版年度:2000
  • 卷号:Fall 2000
  • 出版社:Cheever Publishing, Inc.

Going Too Far - Brief Article

Joni Eareckson Tada

Alan Gleitsman of the Gleitsman Foundation has gone a little too far. As a quadriplegic who has lived in a wheelchair over 30 years, as a national disability advocate, and as a proponent of Judeo-Christian ethics, I wish to voice opposition to the Gleitsman Foundation's selection of Jack Kevorkian for its Citizen Activist Award.

Kevorkian has actively participated in the deaths of 130 individuals, more than three quarters of them with disabilities -- people with multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease and spinal-cord- injured quadriplegics like me.

The fact that the Gleitsman Foundation positioned Kevorkian as a compassionate social activist, out to improve society, is a slap in the face to those with disabilities and their family members. With the conferring of this award, the Foundation has tempted to redefine the true and long held definition of "compassion." They have portrayed a serial killer -- this is why Kevorkian is incarcerated -- as a role model to others who wish to campaign against what the Foundation terms "social injustice."

Is it socially just to respond to a person's depression with three grams of phenobarbital in the veins? Is it socially just to advocate suicide as preferable to life lived in a wheelchair? Is it socially compassionate to promote that life lived with a handicapping condition is not worth living? What does this communicate to families of handicapped children? To the responsibility of adult children who are caring for their elderly parents?

If an able-bodied person despairs of life, society would term him to be Clincally depressed and would assign him a counselor. He would be placed in a support group and be encouraged at every turn to recognize the value of his life and the contribution he could make to society. On the other hand, if a disabled person asks for help to end his life, Mr. Gleitsman would blindly empathize and point him sympathetically to a Kevorkian. With his suicide contraption, Kevorkian is then awarded $50,000 for his "compassionate" response.

Where is the Gleitsman Foundation's grasp of history and reasoned knowledge of civilization's long-held approach of compassion toward the elderly and disabled? A technological society which is altering end-of-life choices and personal rights should not be encouraged. We must not contribute to this nation's growing culture of death.

Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic since 1967 from a diving accident, is president of JAF Ministries which she founded in 1979. If you would like to learn about one of JAF's national retreats, visit their website.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Cheever Publishing, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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