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I can remember when there were only three television networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC and their local affiliates. Reception was so bad in our area that we had a tough time pulling in the NBC signal at night. This meant that I never saw an episode of Bonanza or Star Trek until I went off to college. But during the day, the NBC signal (channel 11 in Pittsburgh) came in as clearly as the other two. Since most daytime television was filled with women’s stories, there wasn’t much to watch. A few times I came across the sappy “Queen for a Day” when I was home from school because of some faked illness. The image of a teary-eyed woman being crowned “Queen for a Day” will never leave me.
Four women were chosen each day from the studio audience. They appeared on stage one at a time where each woman told about the great tragedies and misfortunes in her life. At the end of each program, studio audience applause that was displayed on the “Applause-O-Meter” determined who was the biggest loser and would be declared “Queen for a Day.” To add a little regal style to the celebration, each day’s queen was given a jeweled crown, a bouquet of roses, and gifts fit for a queen. To top off the event, she was draped in a sable-trimmed red velvet robe. There were only two things lacking: She had no regal authority, and she went back to her mundane and messed up life the next day.
The Terri Schiavo case got me thinking. What if I could be King Solomon for a day and have what the television queens did not have—full kingly authority, a “let it be written, let it be done” authority. How would I rule?
The first issue relates to guardianship. Who is Terri’s guardian? Her husband maintains that he is. But he’s deserted her in spite of the vows he reiterated when he testified in the medical malpractice suit he filed:
“I believe in the vows I took with my wife: through sickness and health, for richer or poor. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I’m going to do that.”
He is now living with another woman and has two children by her. By this action, he has given up guardianship. Civil governments no longer seem to be able to define marriage. Judges are claiming that men can marry men, and women can marry women, but a man who deserts his wife and moves in with another woman is somehow still married to the woman he deserted. Terri is in legal limbo, but she does not have to be. For example, when parents die in an accident, children are often given to the next of kin. Terri has her loving parents who want to care of her. I do not understand why a judge would not turn guardianship over to them. This seems to be the easiest and most logical decision since there is no living will. Michael Schiavo gets his freedom, Terri’s parents get their daughter, and she might have a chance for some rehabilitation.
King Solomon faced a similar dilemma as two harlots claimed to be the mother of a child (1 Kings 3:16–28). Since there was no way to check DNA, Solomon extracted the motive of true love from the women. He recommended cutting the child in two and giving each woman a half. The true mother, not wanting to see her child destroyed, gave up her parental rights to see her child live. Through this selfless act, Solomon had found the child’s true guardian. You don’t have to be as wise as Solomon to figure out who cares for Terri Schiavo. Apparently there aren’t many wise judges in this case. The parents are the true caregivers —everyone knows it—and judges want to cut this poor woman in half rather than put her in the hands of those who love her!