The Revealer‘s founding editor, Jeff Sharlet, wrote in our mission statement in 2003, “Belief matters, whether or not you believe. Politics, pop culture, high art, NASCAR — everything in this world is infused with concerns about the next.” Almost as if to prove the continuing pertinence of Jeff’s statement, The Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network (formerly the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation) is asking supporters to vote for their design to be featured on a Toyota car at the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race.
Founded by Terri Schiavo’s family in 2001, the network is dedicated to promoting a “Culture of Life” and “embraces the true meaning of compassion by opposing the practice of euthanasia.” The Schindlers — and their church, the Catholic Church — maintain that Schiavo was “starved to death” or “killed” by her husband Michael Schiavo when he won a series of high-profile court cases to have her feeding tube removed, resulting in her death in 2005. Artificial nutrition and hydration, the tube inserted into her stomach, they claim, was not medical treatment but “comfort care.” The highly publicized attempts of the Bush Administration to interfere in the Schiavo lawsuit were soundly disapproved of by a majority of Americans.
In November of 2010 the Catholic Church changed it’s laws that govern 624 hospitals in the U.S. to impede removal of patients like Schiavo from artificial nutrition and hydration.
That the Life & Hope Network is appealing to the NASCAR crowd for support for their cause is not insignificant and speaks to the demographic divide in the U.S. regarding broader issues on the “pro-life” platform, including abortion and end of life choices.