John, I think most people who believe strongly in an afterlife also believe strongly that the life we are given here on earth, though temporary, and often times less than 'perfect', is a precious gift endowed by God. It is also one of our protected rights under the Constitution. I don't think it is contradictory to believe in and look forward to the afterlife, when the time comes, while at the same time cherishing the life we have in the here and now.
I think we will find ourselves where we don't want to be if we allow the courts (or someone who will benefit in some way by our demise) to start deciding whose life is of value and whose isn't. I don't think that is a judgment that we are capable of making, and therefore shouldn't make, that a disabled person would be better off in the afterlife. We aren't qualified to play God. And why stop there? Maybe the poor and disadvantaged would enjoy the afterlife a lot more than their sub-existence here on earth. Should we deny them food and water, "for their own good"? I'm sure you can see the potential for abuse when we set ourselves up as judgers of the quality of life of others.
Hush, but I think a very dangerous precedent could be set if Terri is allowed to be legally starved to death by the courts.
Not too long ago it would have been unthinkable for the 'plug to be pulled' without a written advance directive by the patient. Now it is common place for next of kin, or even a doctor without the knowledge or consent of the family, even without something in writing, to make those decisions.
I can see it happening in the not too distant future that even if someone has something like a "Will to Live" document specifically outlining their wish to live under certain conditions, that it could very well be overridden by a court order, if they or a family member, think they know better ("surely Uncle Charlie couldn't possibly have meant that he would have wanted to live like this". )
Last Will and Testaments are overturned routinely by courts nowadays, if it is to some powerfully connected person's or organization's financial advantage, so why not Living Wills? Lawyers like to say "they (wills) aren't written in stone". Well, they should be considered as written in stone. If not, why have them, afterall?
Yes, suffering is subjective, I agree. We can't speak for someone else if they can't communicate their wishes to us, because we just don't know how they are perceiving, and handling, their situation.
As for euthenasia, I can only speak for my own convictions. I don't agree with "active" euthenasia, such as assisted suicide, lethal injections, withholding of food and water, etc.
Noah, you can contact the governor of Florida, the Attorney General, and the news outlets. I don't know of any petitions, per se, but there may be some available at some of the blog sites. And most importantly, you can continue to pray for her.
Terri has been presented poorly in much of the media, that's true. But I think the truth of her condition is coming to light. There are some video clips that you can view at terrisfight.org that show how full of life she actually is.
She does attempt to communicate, though not fluently. She was able to speak a few words in the beginning, but after 10 plus years of being denied therapy, she has lost that ability. But she still keeps trying.