In early 2005, the story of Terri Schiavo dominated the news. The Florida woman had been in a vegetative state for 15 years. Her husband had petitioned, again, to remove her feeding tube, thus ending her life. Her parents wanted to keep the feeding tube in place. Lines were drawn, and many Christians mobilized in protest to keep Schiavo alive. George Greer, the judge in the case who ruled to remove the feeding tube and denied requests to put it back in, was asked by his pastor to leave the church. Schiavo died on March 31, 2005.
In many ways, the Schiavo case awakened people to end-of-life issues as rarely seen before, at least on such a grand media scale. In the past decade, more discussions and knowledge have shaped debates and informed people on such topics. Earlier this year, Brittany Maynard appeared on the cover of Time magazine for her choice to take a lethal dose of drugs. Suffering from terminal brain cancer, the 29-year-old used her doctor’s prescription last November to end her life.
It could have served as another skirmish in the culture war, but Maynard’s last days passed without much protest. Instead, a letter written by a Christian blogger—posted on author Ann Voskamp’s website—quickly went viral. Kara Tippetts, a terminally ill cancer patient who died shortly after Maynard, argued for and publically lived out on her blog, Mundane Faithfulness, a traditional Christian approach to death. “He died and he overcame death three days later, and in that overcoming of death he overcame the death you and I are facing in our cancer,” Tippetts wrote. “He longs to know you, to shepherd you in your dying, and to give you life and give you life abundant—eternal ...1