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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Friday Evening, March 25, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20).

As we sat down to dinner earlier this evening, I asked my boys, "If Terri Schiavo were a Muslim, and this Sunday was the start of the Muslim 'holy' month of Ramadan, would they be starving her to death?" Both of them immediately said, "no."

Terri Schiavo is a member of a Christian church. Her attorney is David Gibbs, one of the most well-known independent Baptists in America. They are killing this woman on the eve of Easter, the most important day for Christians of all denominations. They wouldn't be doing it if she were a Muslim and Sunday was the start of Ramadan. Jesus said,

"If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20).

Today is the Friday before Easter - the day that Jesus was crucified. Journalist Joseph Farah pointed out that Terri is dying on "the day Jesus died" on the Cross. I can think of no better way to commemorate this Friday night service than to read Farah's article, titled "Terri's Crucifixion." Mr. Farah said,

    I want to be optimistic. I want to believe there is still some virility, some manhood, some courage, some godliness, some morality and some intestinal fortitude in public officials who could save her life with the stroke of a pen, with a phone call.
     But as Terri, now in her eighth day of court-ordered starvation, weakens, I am forced to contemplate the strong possibility that this young lady may be purposely and torturously killed with the whole world watching.
     Good Friday. Imagine that.
     Like Jesus, Terri was an innocent - at least for the last 15 years. By definition, she was virtually incapable of committing sin during her disability. Yet, she was treated more harshly than our society would ever treat even the most abominable serial killer.
     Like Jesus, Terri was betrayed. She has her Judas. His name is Michael Schiavo. He claims he is starving her to death because that would be what Terri would want. And this specious, unsupported claim is the sole basis for starving to death a young handicapped woman denied rehabilitative efforts by her so-called "guardian."
     Like Jesus, Terri's mother has been forced to watch this public execution helplessly. Imagine what this must be like for [her] mother Mary Schindler. Can anyone reading my words today imagine watching your child starve to death by court order? Can you imagine what it must be like to be kept from your loving child in these hours by armed guards?
     Like Jesus, Terri has her accusers. The high priests today wear black robes. Judge George Greer, an obscure county bureaucrat just a few weeks ago, is having his 15 minutes of fame at Terri's expense. Driven either by some blind ideological desire to pull the plug on handicapped people or in the death grip of fear of admitting a mistake, Greer was not so much a judge as he was the prosecutor and executioner. His supporting cast included the entire U.S. Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court and the entire 11th Circuit.
     Like Jesus, Terri has her Herod. In this case, his name is U.S. District Judge James Whittemore, a Bill Clinton appointee who could have saved her or decided to hear the case himself. He could have listened to the will of Congress and the president of the United States. Instead, like Herod, he kicked the case back to Greer.
     Like Jesus, Terri may, too, have her Pontius Pilate. It's not too late for Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida to avoid playing this role. He doesn't have to wash his hands of the matter. He has found no fault in the woman. He has spoken favorably of her and championed her plight. But he is uniquely positioned at this moment to save her. He, himself has already acknowledged he has the power and the legal authority to do it. He has even threatened to do it. But, like Pilate, he seems to be weighing the political implications of saving her life rather than using the scale of moral imperative.
     I pray today Jeb Bush is reflecting on all this. I pray he has considered he has a big decision to make. I pray he listens to that still small voice in his heart that, I suspect, is speaking to him right now about this. I pray he is not distracted by the routine business of the governorship of his state to see this matter clearly. I pray he recognizes that if he washes his hands, pretending he did everything he could possibly do under the law, that he will become complicit in this horrible crime.

But we must also remember that Jesus didn't stay dead. He arose from the dead on the third day. And He influenced the Roman world so greatly that it finally came crashing down at His feet.

Let us pray that Terri's "crucifixion" will have a similar result. Let us pray that Christians, and others of good will, shall be so outraged by this filthy incident that they will turn out of office every self-seeking Washington politician who blocks the nomination of decent men to judicial seats. The President has nominated 10 good men as federal judges. Let's pray that the people of America will watch carefully - and turn out of office every greasy politician who blocks them from becoming judges. If that happens, Terri will not have died in vain.

Let us say to those left wing politicians what Oliver Cromwell said to the Long Parliament, "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 19:14-30.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"A Crown of Thorns" (by Ira F. Stanphill, 1952).


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