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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Honor a Terri Schiavo Terri's Day by joining national pledge drive

Kevin Fobbs

It began in Michigan, and it swept across the nation like a mask of death — a plague that would soon engulf America — that far too many Americans began to legitimize and even to become unyielding advocates for this culture of death. It was Dr. Jack Korvorkian and his infamous Dr. Death moniker that has come to symbolize the devaluation of human life. Unfortunately, innocent people who could not speak for themselves, like Terri Schiavo, were swept up in its wake.

Bob Schindler, father of Terri Schiavo, joined me February 16th on The Kevin Fobbs Show on News Talk 1400 WDTK to announce the national launch of an initiative to annually honor the memory of Terri Schiavo, as well as celebrate the "Culture of Life," by gathering pledges from every state in the nation to respect the Culture of Life. We joined arms to support March 31 as Terri's Day in every station in the nation.

Why do we need a celebration of the Culture of Life or a national day of remembrance? Our nation needs it because we have wandered too far from our historic Judeo Christian roots. Therefore, we are seeking at least 1 million pledge signers from all 50 states — as well as from international supporters — who would certainly agree.

In many ways this effort was born ten years earlier out of the comments delivered by Pope John Paul II on April 22, 1996. The topic of the speech was "Reaffirm The Culture Of Life." He addressed the international audience attending his speech in Rome by stating, "The rejection of life, confirmed and ratified by legal abortion as a culture of death, is gaining ground in today's society with the intention of legalizing euthanasia also."

Some may feel the pope's comments were too political. Others may feel that the nation should not have to be bound by comments delivered by a religious leader half a world away. After all, what real-life relevance could his words have on today's complicated societal mores?

America did move on. Countless Americans ignored those telling words, and our nation was left with indecision, complacency, traditional values rejected and a growing clash between two cultures — one for life and the other for death — and one innocent victim, Terri Schiavo, a devout Catholic who would soon become victim to Pope John Paul II's predictions.

But America should not just move on. The Culture of Life must be welcomed and desired "as being the fundamental and primary value for every individual, must be reaffirmed, assimilated and recovered today from a culture which otherwise risks closing in on itself, or reducing life to a consumer product for an affluent society," added Pope John Paul II.

On May 12, 2006, we will hold an official ceremony that is so crucial for our nation. We want to recover our values for the essence of the Culture of Life. May 12th — just two days before Mother's Day — will be a day for reaffirming our values and those who believe in the sanctity of life. It is about building awareness, engaging in reflection, and identifying and supporting those families who have disabled, severely handicapped, or brain injured family members, which may number in the tens of thousands across America. A good number of these families need the support that the Terri Schiavo Schindler Foundation seeks to provide.

The Foundation's president, Bob Schindler, is a warm, reflective man. On my show, he shared his fond memories of Terri as a proud father would. Bob described the young pre-teen Terri who was his daughter and the favorite things she loved to do. She was a kind, gentle young girl who loved animals and whose innocence and faith touched the hearts and spirits of millions of Americans. The moments of her life, which may have seemed countless at her birth, ended abruptly.

As Americans, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our caring and compassion and perhaps devote some of our moments of time to pledge to honor Terri's memory, as well as honor what former Pope John Paul II called the "Culture of Life," by supporting six simple things. All of the necessary documents can be downloaded from The Kevin Fobbs Show site at ( and soon at (

The first is quite simple: take a few minutes for yourself. Your loved ones deserve clarity about what your true intentions might be. So pledge to help yourself and fill out a 'Living Will,' or as the Schindlers would like to say, "A Will To Live." (

But don't stop there. If you believe in creating an official "Terri's Day," then pass on the Resolution of Support to your state legislature and governor. It's simple. While you're at it, ask your own organization — civic, faith or even your place of worship — to take a stand for the Culture of Life.

Families can spend time during the week of March 31st, as well as during the week of May 12th, in creating wonderful life-fulfilling as well as memorable events that embrace some aspect of the "Culture of Life."

There will be no better time than this seminal moment in our nation's history to reverse the dangerous course that would value the life of a guilty sentenced murderer over the life of an innocent.

This is a celebratory moment that should leave an indelible mark upon our nation's conscience. Just as we remember where we were on such fateful days as the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941; the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963; and the terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001 — the nation needs a date that we can commemorate as well, and that is March 31st, the anniversary of Terri's passing.

Why now? We need it now, because too often the fight for preservation of life is typically played out in the nation's headlines only in order to preserve the life of murderers and perpetrators of the most heinous crimes against humanity. These are the ones whom receive the hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions of signatures gathered by Hollywood Celebs.

Americans get involved in those causes because some entertainers — these Hollywood liberal icons — hold concerts or host mammoth fundraisers all to preserve a death row inmate his 14th Amendment Due Process protection, because after all it's hip, it's chic, and it's hot to support death.

It has become too easy to be an advocate for the guilty. It is far more difficult mentally to deal with the haunting images of the innocent victims. The cry for justice that Terri Schiavo's family has asked for all these years has been ignored, because it has not fit into a neat, dramatic, Hollywood-like ideological package.

You see, in order for a Hollywood-type like Susan Sarandon or Sean Penn to get involved in a cause, there has to be some real drama. You remember the film they were in several years ago, "Dead Man Walking." Hollywood called it a good film that was full of passion and drama. There sat this human killing machine on Death Row, and yet somehow it evoked the passion-filled emotions of the left to call upon the sainted liberal angels of America to save others like him from the hangman's noose, from "ole Sparky's" electric chair accommodation or even death by firing squad.

Why? Because preserving the life of the guilty has become more chic than preserving the life of an innocent. Our nation has believed the lie — it has embraced the Culture of Death. We have to be, instead, the heroes for those who are innocent and who are defenseless.

I'm sure Pope John Paul II would agree. "What is called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new Culture of Life," advocated Paul John Paul II.

Terri would be honored, and I'm sure proud that the words former Pope John Paul II spoke ten years ago will have shown we are indeed on the road to becoming a life-renewed and affirming, blessed nation.

  • Kevin Fobbs is President of National Urban Policy Action Council (NuPac), a non-partisan civic and citizen-action organization that focuses on taking the politics out of policy to secure urban America's future one neighborhood, one city, and one person at a time. View NuPac on the web at Kevin Fobbs is a regular contributing columnist for the Detroit News. He is also the daily host of The Kevin Fobbs Show on News Talk WDTK - 1400 AM in Detroit. Listen to The Kevin Fobbs Show online at daily 2-3 p.m., and call in toll-free nationwide to make your opinion count at 800-923-WDTK(9385)

    © Copyright 2006 by Kevin Fobbs

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