Lessons from Little Charlie Gard

You all should know about the short life of little Charlie Gard. His parents – and millions of concerned people worldwide – did all they could to possibly extend his life while some doctors and judges did all they could to prevent that from happening.

euth 16So now the parents have finally given up, and it is just a matter of time for the 11-month old boy to pass on. But even at this late stage the courts are still preventing the parents from bringing him home to die there. What a horrific story. I first detailed it here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/06/30/little-charlie-gard-rise-statism-abolition-man/

While we must keep praying for his parents who have been through so much hell over the past few months, there are lessons to be learned here. Many in fact come to mind, such as the major shortcomings of socialised medicine, and the rise of the totalist state which has all power over life and death.

Let me look at these and a few other lessons that emerge from this tragic case. The cheapening of the value of human life of course does not arise out of a vacuum. Bad ideas lead to bad consequences, and bad ideas about what it is to be human will result in some really ugly consequences.

The Nazi death machine for example did not just appear out of nowhere, but was solidly based on various nefarious ideologies that preceded it. Ideas and worldviews promoting the survival of the fittest, and an entirely naturalistic view of life, contributed greatly to the eugenics movement in general and Nazism and the Final Solution in particular.

As Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl put it:

The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment—or, as the Nazis liked to say, of ‘Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.

And consider some more ugly reality on how the medical and scientific community was up to their ears in all this. German historian Wendy Lower said this:

The first Nazi mass murderess was not the concentration camp guard but the nurse. Of all the female professionals, she was the deadliest. Centrally planned mass killing operations began neither in the gas chambers at Auschwitz–Birkenau nor in the mass shooting sites of Ukraine; they began instead in the hospitals of the Reich. The first methods were the sleeping pill, the hypodermic needle, and starvation. The first victims were children. During the war, nurses gave thousands of deformed babies and disabled adolescents overdoses of barbiturates, lethal injections of morphine, and denied them food and water.

A materialist worldview and a low view of life will readily lead to the concentration camps, as well as to experts telling us who should live and who should die. Indeed, already in Germany in 1920 an influential book penned by two doctors was making the rounds: The Authorization of the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life.

The culture of death goes hand in hand with the naturalistic worldview. And we see that reflected in our media as well. One article which just appeared makes this very telling observation: the mainstream media seems far more worried about baby whales than baby humans – including those sentenced to death:

When it comes to the value of life, the networks are prioritizing a baby animal above a baby human – down to the very minute. During Tuesday morning’s news shows, the three broadcast networks combined spent more time on a 3-month-old orca’s death than on a 11-month-old British baby’s impending death.
As an infant, Charlie Gard was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, and could be removed from life support at any time. Parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates challenged his London hospital and the court system in a months-long effort to win permission to bring their son to the United States for experimental treatment. On Monday, they ended their legal fight to improve Charlie’s condition, because, as their lawyer put it, “time has run out.”
But the morning shows following the parents’ decision focused more on the death of an animal than on the approaching death of a human baby. And not just any baby – this is an infant who has won the support of Pope Francis, President Donald Trump, pro-life leaders, American politicians and medical experts and hospitals around the world.

But the media is in many ways a reflection of the surrounding culture. Sure, it often is setting the agenda, and is often at odds with majority opinion, but it is part of the decadent West which has long ago ceased to put a priority on human life.

The slow death of baby Charlie in other words is a mirror of the slow death of the West. John Zmirak has just penned a piece on this very issue entitled “Charlie Gard Is Dying, Like the West”. He writes:

Charlie’s fate is also a symbol. Not in the sense of an allegory, where the “sign” means nothing in itself. Where it’s just a marker for something else that’s real and important — like a fish as a code for Christ scrawled in a catacomb. No, what happened to Charlie and his parents is all too real. His story is a microcosm, a little world, in which we can see more clearly what’s poisoning the planet. To deny that, to refuse to learn the “big” lessons from this little, heartbreaking story, would be to render Charlie’s suffering almost meaningless. Imagine if the person who’d found Anne Frank’s girlish diary had thrown it in the fire.

He continues:

When Charlie Gard dies, it won’t just be because of some “act of God.” Not even because of negligence. It will be an act of passive euthanasia on the part of the British government. Its health officials and courts denied Charlie’s parents their most fundamental right — to try every treatment within their means to secure his recovery. To decide what is best for him. To fight for the child whom God and nature entrusted to their care.
Why did they make this decision? As I wrote last week:
“’Life unworthy of life’ is almost exactly the phrase that British authorities used when (with European courts’ collusion) they ruled that Charlie Gard must die. That his parents couldn’t use the private funds they had raised to try to save his life. And why? Because he would still be handicapped. So the State thinks him better off dead. And the State decides these things.”
I’m not sure which motive is more fundamental here: The eugenicist’s urge to kill the handicapped, or the tyrant’s glee at usurping parental rights. But why choose between them? Those impulses go together. They are part of a broader, civilizational revolt against Nature.

Michael Brown has also written on this, and he shares the words of Charlie’s mother Connie, “We are so sorry we couldn’t save you. We had the chance but we weren’t allowed. Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy.”

He then asks, “What is Charlie saying to us?” He offers four points:

First, Charlie reminds us that all human life is valuable, whether strong or weak, young or old, healthy or sick. As expressed in the mantra of the children’s story Horton Hears a Who, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” How true….
Second, Charlie reminds us of the tenacity of a parent’s love. While we prayed and petitioned and cried from a distance, Charlie was his parents’ jewel, their own flesh and blood, their little champion….
Third, Charlie reminds us that the state cannot be the ultimate caregiver and the ultimate arbiter of life and death. (I’m not talking here about the courts sentencing criminals to their appropriate fate, whatever that may be. I’m talking about health care.)…
Finally, one last thought about the value of Charlie Gard’s life. It’s possible that by the time you read these words, he will have left this world without uttering a syllable. Yet his legacy will last for years, perhaps making an impact on nations, probably an impact far greater than if he had lived a normal, healthy life.
Here too we are reminded not to measure things as the world does but to measure things from God’s perspective. In His sight, what is insignificant to people can be of massive, eternal importance. And so Charlie, being dead, will speak for years to come. May we honor his legacy in word and deed.

Positive postscript

Lest all this negative news becomes too overwhelming, let me offer a quick bit of good news, also involving the issues of life and death. Yesterday I wrote about the gung-ho push for legalised patient killing in the Australian state of Victoria: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/07/25/legalised-patient-killing/

But last night some good news appeared, which I think is a real move of God, and an answer to prayer. The second in command behind Premier Andrews has come out totally opposed to all this. As one news report stated:

Deputy Premier James Merlino has sensationally split from Premier Daniel Andrews, slamming Labor’s voluntary euthanasia laws as endorsing suicide and putting the vulnerable at risk. Mr Merlino on Tuesday night told the Herald Sun he would vote against the government Bill.
“I have deep concerns that these laws put at risk some of our most vulnerable Victorians, who could be subjected to coercion,” he said. “This Bill also endorses suicide, which is a line I don’t think our society should cross.”

So amidst a runaway culture of death, here we have a ray of hope. All those concerned about life must keep working and keep praying. We want to ensure no more horrific cases like that of little Charlie ever again emerge.


[1655 words]

14 Replies to “Lessons from Little Charlie Gard”

  1. In the Commonwealth of Australia, our Constitution provides at section 51. xxii, PARENTAL RIGHTS. Thus, as for other reasons, our Constitution is hidden from view which began under the so called leadership of Gough Whitlam when he pulled our Constitution from the school curriculum.
    The question begs, why would any dedicated Australian hide and or ignore our Constitution? The answer – treason.
    In any event, if this can help anyone especially parents in cases concerning their children, our founding fathers provided for ‘Parental rights’ and thus these rights are unassailable.
    John Abbott

  2. Hi Bill – that’s wonderful news about James Merlino. Guess what? No mention of this on the ABC web site – the barrage of silence is deafening. Why doesn’t that surprise me?

  3. Bill, a well written account of the tragedy of Charlie Gard. I saw a British news reader state that the case was whether parents now know better than the doctors! Amazing! The choice of life or death must still be in the parents’ hands. Yes, may Charlie’s death continue to challenge the West about its values.

  4. We refer to the Nazi killing machine and at the time the Allies made the German soldiers and German civilian population watch what heinous crimes were perpetrated by the Nazis. The idea was to say, “never again”. We can never be as barbaric, brutal, inhuman, uncaring and forget utterly the imprint of the one true God of this Universe on each created person’s life. Indeed, God has total authorship on life and even our natural (physical) death does not mean we cease to exist or have been annihilated. Even the devil and his fallen angels do not hold sway there, and similarly men and women as part of the created order have no ability.

    Rebellious in their attitude towards God, the devil (who is different from one way to us in that he is irredeemable), and men and women, seek to usurp and become God. And it didn’t stop at the Nazis, not even in all the wars since World War II. Indeed, abortion has become the greatest holocaust of all human history. We live in a time when we repeat many times over what the Nazis, Communists and, perhaps more accurately, fallen human beings do: kill the unborn baby, try and kill off the human race in the false (naturalistic) view that flesh and blood are real, and rebel against our God and seek to become Him.

    The numbers involved in abortion are important to be aware of because each number represents a person of infinite value, endowed and irremovable by our God. Every person matters. What makes it even worse is the killing is not done in secret, hidden behind a concentration camp and barred entry. It is done in rooms up and down the countries of the world by people walking down the street protected by the wicked laws enforced by not just “the State” but by sinful people who have yet to repent.

    I, like most Christians, agonize in how to stop it. We find ourselves powerless, but still believing in the power of prayer, still giving money and time and still knowing that God receives every murdered baby into His loving care and that one day what John wrote in Revelation 19 and 20 will come to pass. We have faced evil before but the scale, industriousness and rebellion presented in the 20th and 21st centuries demands the ultimate sanctions that were not imposed on the Israelites in 586 B.C. and 712 B.C.: God’s mercy is far further than I could ever imagine and therefore His judgement is will infinitely more terrifying than anyone can imagine.

    This is why I am against nationalized health: the tendency of people towards wickedness in their natural state and why I am so distraught for Charlie, indeed, every aborted baby whether they were named in this life or not. People can hide behind (health) systems, but one day we will each stand by our-self before the Great White Throne. No system and no excuse will hide us, indeed if heaven and earth have fled away then can we even understand now what fear we should all have of that day?

    That the United States Senate has staggered courageously to the first steps to dismantle ‘Government healthcare’ with what I can see is the righteous stand of Mike Pence and 50 Senators shows that God does not leave himself without a witness, even in the sphere of our temporary system of Government. But it took a huge effort – millions of people voting, parties taking the effort to campaign, and follow-up convincing and establishing dialogue in the pressurized atmosphere. There must have been a tremendous amount of prayer in there too.

    Rotten systems, like the corrupted Western one that caused Charlie Guard’s death, often seem to last far longer than I imagine. I guess it must be God’s mercy, the salt that Christian provide and the degree that unsaved men and women follow God’s Biblical principles. Indeed, can we even say that we have not already achieved civilizational collapse already? Maybe just because I don’t see carnage and war on the streets on our cities doesn’t mean it hasn’t already happened. We can only go by the Bible and its definition of the last days to know whether we truly have reached the end or not. It would be good to carefully study that question and thus inform our actions with the degree of urgency that it mandates.

  5. Along with the tragedy of little Charlie’s death, despite the efforts of his loving parents, I was pleased to read that Deputy Premier James Merlino has taken a strong stand against Premier Daniel Andrews, vehemently criticizing his stance on voluntary euthanasia. If these laws were to be passed, they would constite an endorsement of suicide as an easy option, and many already vulnerable residents in our nursing homes would be placed at risk. It is about time for Daniel Andrews to be held accountable for his outrageous stance on a number of controversial issues with potentially devastating effects on the vulnerable within our State. He poses a threat to lives right across the age spectrum: from the unborn to those at school (from kindergarten right through to senior secondary schooling) … and now he wants to add the vulnerable elderly to his list. This man should have been discharged from office years ago!

  6. Merlino is no friend of parental rights, as homeschoolers in Victoria know; speaking out against the Andrews machine is something though!

  7. Re Mr Abbott and the Australian Constitution, please sir, be cautious about your interpretation. The clause in s51 reads:

    S51: The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:

    (xxii) divorce and matrimonial causes; and in relation thereto, parental rights, and the custody and guardianship of infants;

    So it is not a blanket protection of parental rights but only within the context of marriage and divorce, and the custody and guardianship of children. And it is a power of the Federal government to legislate in respect of such rights. That does not give me much heart in these troubled times.

  8. I like John Zmirak & Dr Michael Brown. I found out about John when Michael interviewed him on his radio show. This whole thing makes me mad. I hope there is going to be something written about this in a book. It gives that old German book you cited “The Authorization of the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life”. This should have been consigned to history along with the whole eugenics movement. But alas, eugenics in new guise, is again rearing it’s ugly head. Being well over forty and never being a parent, I can’t imagine how this child’s mother and father are going through.

  9. My thoughts exactly. The difference between Christian charity and Socialism. Of course the Greens and Labor think that humans are a plague species (except for party members of course and their partners in the public media) so why would anyone vote for people with those sorts of views? Answer: Public funded propaganda.

    Good news about James Merlino. Credit where credit is due. Lets hope it could be the start of more than just one of the frogs twitching as the heat is raised because I’m certain the likes of Curtain and Chifley would be absolutely horrified at the current state of the Labor Party. Very obviously euthanasia is simply publicly sponsored exploitation of the weak and vulnerable.

  10. Thanks Bill. Yes, it certainly is passive euthanasia. Here is a case where the state has enforced euthanasia upon a family without, of course, the consent of the child himself, or even the consent of the parents. This will now set a legal precedent for the state to be able to decree the euthansia of any individual they see fit, according to a set of criteria which could continue to devolve and lessen. It certainly does compare well with Nazi Germany where life became the property of the state and what the state deemed fit or unfit. It’s a pretty scary development but as you say, society has become so numb that they will not see another pillar kicked down.

  11. Let’s all pray for a MIRACLE, that Baby Charlie Gard will live, flourish, be totally healed & not die, when taken off the life support. JESUS raised the dead (Lazarus & others) and set the captives free. Our God is God of the impossible. Thank you Jesus!

  12. Bill, yes, the parents have been through a lot. I think you could have used another word than ‘hell’. Maybe it could be said that the parents have experience much difficulty, or that they have had many disappointments. Hell is hell!

  13. Dear Bill
    From a British perspective, the Charlie Gard case forced the question as to who should have made the decision about the baby – the parent or the state in the shape of the Great Ormond Street hospital and the judiciary who backed the hospital?
    The answer, as I see it, should have been the parent. Both parties each had a specific role under God. The parent to decide for the child God gave them responsibility for; the hospital to provide the care possible.
    When the state exceeds its God-given authority, we have cause for concern.
    James Wiltshire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: