Christian Right Activists Comment on Charlie Gard Case

This one has received wide attention; from Franklin Graham’s Facebook page:

As a parent and a grandparent, this is so alarming. Little Charlie Gard’s parents deserve the right to bring him to the U.S. to try to find treatment for him—that shouldn’t even have to be discussed! It’s their prerogative. That the U.K. hospital or the government would not allow them to make the decisions about Charlie’s life and medical care is unfathomable. Days and days have passed that he could’ve been being treated here in America—this is a tragedy. They have now delivered a petition with 350,000 signatures to the hospital, saying that they should release Charlie as the parents request. This is one of the dangers of socialized medicine. We need to stay as far away from this as possible here in the United States as healthcare is reorganized!

Graham’s view here concurs with that of Vice President Mike Pence, who used an appearance on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show to say that “the American people oughta reflect on the fact that for all the talk on the left about single-payer, that’s where it takes us.” Graham’s post also prompted an op-ed in the Washington Times by a Christian author named Cheryl Chumley, who told readers that the medical decisions were being made by “bottom-line bureaucrats feeding into their socialist system”, and that this was the same as “Obamacare”.

Thus are Americans reassured that under Donald Trump they are back on track to having the best and fairest healthcare system in the world, despite what appear to be more equitable arrangements in many other countries.

In fact, the Gard case is just the latest example of a medical ethics dilemma over what is best for a child in such a desperate situation, and to what extent parents should have the final say despite specialist opinion. Decisions about Charlie Gard’s treatment have not been made by “bureaucrats”, and there is nothing in court filings made by the hospital treating him (here’s the latest) that pertain to any identifiable principle of “socialized medicine”.

Another American involved with the case is Reverend Patrick Mahoney, of the Christian Defense Coalition. Mahoney has travelled to the UK and been photographed with Charlie Gard’s parents; according to the Daily Mail, “he appears to be the Gard family’s new spokesman”. The paper adds:

In 1992, Rev Mahoney, along with three other anti-abortion campaigners, was sentenced to up to six months in jail for violating a restraining order prohibiting him from demonstrating in front of an abortion clinic in Houston, Texas, though it is unclear whether he spent time behind bars.

Thus the Telegraph headlines Mahoney as “US pastor with a criminal record”, which unfairly gives an impression of a shady past. Press images and media quotes give the impression that Mahoney is fanatical and strident (and Right Wing Watch has documented a number of Christian Defence Coalition activities); however, when he was interviewed by the BBC’s World at One on Monday he put forward an argument grounded in reason:

They [the Gard family] are not going to some tent set up in the wilderness with snake oil to seek some magical treatment for Charlie. They’re going to one of the most prestigious medical facilities in the world… There is no sense that they have their head buried in the sand, they’re not facing reality – they are…

If we are keeping someone alive and actually prolonging the suffering, prolonging the pain, prolonging the sense that there is no hope for the future, then I think Charlie’s parents would have to make the difficult decision that we need to let Charlie go. But we are not even remotely at that place yet.

3 Responses

  1. This is one child. Since the 1967 Abortion Act we have mass slain eight million children in the UK alone, in a genocide against the unborn which exceeds the National Socialist killing of the Jews between 1941-1945. Why is Bartholomew not highlighting this? Why are most of us not doing enough to get it stopped?

  2. The NHS is a very secret organisation that will kill rather than be shown to be wrong.

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