CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Alfie Evans: Apathy Kills

Apr 28, 2018

First they came for Terri Schiavo, but that was none of my business. Then they came for Charlie Gard, but that was in another country. Then they came for Alfie Evans, but who am I to judge? Then they came for my own daughter, but by then it was too late.

Our damnable apathy, indifference and silence has helped to kill all these people, and next it will be our own family members. While little Alfie is now in a better place, one can rightly ask how his death came about. Yes, there was all the evil emanating from doctors, hospitals, judges, courts and the State.

But they have simply been empowered to do what they do because of our horrific apathy, indifference and silence. Thus we all have had a hand in the death of little Alfie. Sure, we expect many folks to not give a rip about any of this. Already some ugly atheists have been celebrating his death, saying he should have been bumped off long ago. But we expect such vile bile from these morally perverse misotheists.

But I would have thought that some others should have shown far more interest and spoken out much more – eg., Christians, conservatives, etc. Yes, a number of them did. I tried to do my bit – this is my fourth article in four days on this case. But for the most part the silence was deafening, even from those who should have known better.

The truth is the West is now more or less dead, and so such widespread and disgusting indifference and apathy is to be expected. The cult of death rules, while humanity and a culture of life are struggling. As usual, such decline and decay does not happen overnight. It takes a while for the rot to set in.

But after decades, and now centuries, we have pretty well bottomed out as a culture. Much of the West is now in terminal decay. Let me just mention my own country of Australia. Why do I suspect that for every person here who cares greatly about what has happened in Liverpool, a thousand are far more concerned how their fav team fares this weekend?

This is how the West dies: widespread selfishness, coupled with bread and circuses. It is a perfect recipe for cultural suicide. Our own apathy and unwillingness to speak out about the things that matter lead the way here. Christians will scream themselves hoarse at a football match, but never once like or share a pro-life post on the social media for fear of offending someone.

We will spend hours telling our buddies about our new car, our new wardrobe, or our new big screen TV, but we will remain completely silent when gross evil raises its ugly head all around us. We condemn ourselves with our indifference and with our silence.

Indeed, our national schizophrenia is so very telling. At the same time that much of England and the world celebrated the birth of Louis Arthur Charles to Kate Middleton and Prince William this week, they remained absolutely silent on the death of another precious soul.

All I can do here is remind us all what the sins of apathy and cowardice look like. Let me do this by offering a few quotes from those who know all about this. I begin with American abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison who put it this way 150 years ago:

I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.

English abolitionist William Wilberforce put it this way: “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us, “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

The famous suffragette Susan B. Anthony said this: “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.”

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said it this way: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who died in a German prison for daring to resist Hitler and the Nazis said this: “Speak out for those who cannot speak. Who in the church today realises that this is the very least that the Bible requires of us?” And again:

Let the fellowship of Christ examine itself and see whether it has given any token of the love of Christ to the victims of the world’s contumely and contempt, any token of that love of Christ that seeks to preserve, support, and protect life. Otherwise however liturgically correct our services are, and however devout our prayer, however brave our testimony, they will profit us nothing, nay rather, they must needs testify against us that we have as a church ceased to follow our Lord.

And another Christian pastor who faced off against Hitler was Martin Niemoller. His famous quote is the one I paraphrased above. We must let his words sink in deeply:

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

How many of us spoke up for little Alfie? How many of us prayed for him, or wrote letters on his behalf, or even signed a petition? Or were we far too busy watching our latest fav TV show or playing our fav internet game? It is high time we started getting serious about the things that matter.

Apathy kills.

[1233 words]

26 Responses to Alfie Evans: Apathy Kills

  • Aristotle is believed to have said that “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society”. Whoever actually said it had todays western civilization pegged.

  • I have felt for a long time, Bill, that the church in the west has lost the spiritual ‘oomph’ to get it from the launching pad into dealing with the fast changing culture around us. Years of apologetics has not been enough to sway the culture, Christian media has not been enough, but rather has been viewed with scepticism. We have become too settled in our daily Sunday routine to lose the spiritual inertia that seems to have gripped us. Perhaps it will take more local church members loosing their jobs for mentioning they are Christians, or denominations having to sell off churches to pay the legal fees for their pastors taken before tribunals, etc. Perhaps Christians will be forced to once again meet in homes. Perhaps it will mean taking up the Cross again and choosing to live without the fear of ‘man’ – those voices arrayed against the gospel. But taking up the cross was a one way trip. Then we may discern how far we have moved from New Testament Christianity and see how our self-interests has allowed the knowledge of God to be largely lost in our society. But is it too late already?

  • Hi Bill,

    This is very disturbing news, possibly another reason for the atrocity is that young Alfie was unable to write up an ”Advance Care Directive” or appoint a ”Medical Treatment Decision Maker” which came into operation on Monday, 12 March 2018. Yesterday I signed one to prevent family from euthanising me, goodness knows that they are very capable of this having had me committed to a psychiatric ward and now seem to be intent on having me disinherited!

    Not that disobedience to God’s law is less important than money but one can see clearly that the love of money is a root of evil. Honouring and obeying parents is even a commandment of God and family are neighbours too especially when upholding the golden rule to loving ones neighbour as much us one loves themself. A lot of us seem to have forgotten our creator who sustains us all by his powerful right hand is in all and above all to receive all glory and honour! Thank you Bill for championing Alfie’s cause.

  • Yes it is so True what you say Bill
    We are in this place because the Christians have let it happen- they too just want to be popular.
    My husband and I recently experienced this in our local town. We held a public meeting 100 attended to stand against the safe schools.
    Where were the the Christian in the crowd.??Most of them coward and left us to negotiate the the “left brigade. ” I faced the school council on disciple action and got sacked ( I was on council). We were staggered the number of lefties in a rural town 3 hrs from Melb,population of 1800. Not one letter from a Christian family came to the school not one family rang the school the next day to support us. Our son was persecuted and knocked around emotionally by the teachers and students. He fought an amazing fight and is more convicted than ever of the Truth.God blessed him he topped all his classes at end of term 1 and got baptised in the Holy Spirit this week. As a family we were well prepared for the backlash. But God was with us in so many ways. He really stood by us and held my kids in the palm of his hand.
    But it was many of the 50 year olds plus non Christians who patted us on the back and thanked us for having a go.
    Rise up Brothers and Sisters and do at least something for the Kingdom of God.

  • What we are witnessing is the inevitable conclusion to the rejection of God, “replaced” by evilution and its mantra of the “survival of the fittest”. I once read that a barometer for measuring the health of a church is the level of giving. Surely a significant barometer in measuring the health of a society is the level of care we give to the most vulnerable. Sadly, using that measurement, our preparedness to murder as yet unborn babies, our acceptance of killing our elderly and now the sacrificing of children like Alfie, just to maintain “face” and power, displays we are a very sick society, in need of the Saviour now more than ever.

  • It is commendable that a significant number of people did support the Evans family and did oppose the cruel way the so-called “medical profession” and “British government” treated the child and his family. However, it is obvious that the powers-that-be care absolutely nothing for the rights of the individual and/or the rights of the parents and that these powers exhibited total indifference to the people who did support Alfie Evans and his parents. The real danger, I believe, is a government that no longer is democratic and that no longer listens to its citizens or acknowledges that the citizens have basic human rights. Instead, the government and the so-called “medical profession” are interested only in the money that can be “saved” by refusing to treat a child and the money that can be “gained” through the harvesting and selling of a child’s organs for transplant surgeries. Yes, money truly IS “the root” of all evil, and it is this profit motive that needs to be stopped.

  • Poem for Alfie

    Who were you whom I lived with
    walked with
    loved with.
    Why did my love grow so thin
    so weak
    so pale.
    Why did I lose hope.
    Who were you
    my brothers
    my sisters.
    O my soul
    look out through these eyes.
    Hear the absence of music
    through these ears.
    These words cannot say
    what the silence says.
    Who am I in this body
    at the end of these hands
    behind these eyes.
    How has it come to this.
    Who were you
    whom I lived with
    who were my brothers, my sisters.
    Why has my love for you grown so thin.

  • Right from the start, I invested myself into the Alfie Evans case, doing whatever I could to arouse the public outrage at the way he was being treated, along with his parents. I hadn’t realized how it even compromised my health, although I was thousands of kilometers away, in Victoria, Australia. I could not believe the apathy exhibited by so many people. In fact it reminded me of the complete indifference towards abortion today. I felt compelled to speak out via both Facebook and Twitter – but my words fell on deaf ears. At best, they created a rather amused response to my outrage. It seems I am getting a reputation for over-reacting to such cases. “After all, isn’t he just a vegetable?” seems to have been a common response, even among many Christians. Although my heart goes out to little Alfie’s parents, I reached the stage where I was actually grateful that this beautiful little boy is now in a better place. And you can be sure, Jesus is looking after him and has already given him fresh new life, joy and wonder in His presence.

  • Well done Ann for trying! We need more champs like you.

  • It is a terrible state of affairs that has led to the death of Alfie. It does speak of a society that is dying and in many places in the grip of none other than the devil himself. This is what happens when God is not in the picture.

    They did this two thousand years ago – in the Roman world if a baby girl was born then many times she would be left to die of exposure. The parents left her , that is. Herod killed all children under the age of two when Jesus was growing up. Countless doctors have killed babies in the womb. A spirit of murder inhabits our lands, back then, and now .

    I have been reading Job and one perplexing thing Job finds is that the wicked are not necessarily punished in this life (even though his friends mistakenly assume this of him). Yes, the unrepentant do suffer in themselves the consequences of their sin. They become less and less of the image of God’s creation, more apathetic, and filled with hatred for righteousness. But, all these things are not sufficient for the punishment that is rightfully due to those who die in an unrepentant state before God.

    The doctors and judges and others who facilitated in the murder of Alfie need to know that without repentance leading to justification they will may not fall into the hands of human justice in this life and not even necessarily into the hands of God in this life. Judgement at the Great White Throne Judgment is a terrifying thing. It brings finality, no appeal and gives a perspective on God that I do not think we clearly understand in this life. This is what they will be subject to if there is no repentance leading to salvation. In closing I will let God’s words be the final arbiter and determinant on the eternal destiny of the unrepentant wicked.

    We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds towards each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in his saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
    (2 Thessalonians 1:3 – 10)

    Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on earth – to every nation, tribe, tongue and people – saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” And a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast or his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
    (Revelation 14: 6 – 11)

    Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
    (Revelation 20: 11 – 15)

  • It makes me wonder if I will cop it too. I am 87 this year, with a condition that is progressive. Apart from the fact that I still look to the hills…

  • Yes J M, with cases like this becoming more and more common, we ALL should worry about how health care in the West is progressing – or regressing.

  • I too tried to help Alfie Evans and his parents, by signing a petition and emailing Theresa May. However, in the ABC news yesterday European correspondent Steve Cannane quoted Russian opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is urging the West to “Stop enabling corruption and rights abuses.” Among other things, Cannane tells that in 2013, Mrs May was one of the main people resisting holding a public inquiry into the death of the former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, who had been advising British security services, publishing articles critical of the Putin regime and providing information to Spanish authorities about links between the Russian mafia and the Russian Government. At the time, Mrs May was home secretary. In a letter to coroner Sir Robert Owen, she admitted that what she called “international relations” were at least part of the reason why the government did not want to hold an inquiry.The High Court later overruled Mrs May, describing her position as “irrational and legally erroneous”. It took Litvinenko’s widow nearly 9 years of fighting the entire British judicial system to even have an inquiry into her husband’s murder.
    Therefore I would hesitate to judge anyone who felt that the Alfie Evans case was hopeless from the start. It seems power corrupts and the whole British system has been corrupted. But those responsible for starving a helpless baby to death will have to meet their Maker sooner or later, whether they believe in Him or not.

  • I signed numerous petitions for this poor little chap and I ask the question, Where were THE CHRISTIAN LEADERS of England? Nothing as far as I can see from the parents own church the Catholic church except a lame letter from the Archbishop of Liverpool.
    When I see and hear the words of the doctors and judges involved in this case, I think of the response of a French Duke who before he was murdered by a rival said “I call upon the Holy Righteous Judge to summons you to appear with me before His Tribunal a year and a day from now” and that is what happened.

  • This case is baffling me a little. Isnt it within the rights of the state to declare when matters are beyond recovery for a patient? And if the case was really so severe for this poor little boy then dont they have a duty to not prolong matters either by continuing the ventilator or transferring him elsewhere (in this case Rome where he was only going to be prolonged a little longer)1? Isnt there in fact an ethical duty to do so?

    I concur that generally it should be up to the parents to make these decisions (and i have no love for the NHS) but do parents own their child in the sense that they can just prolong matters indefinitely even if matters are utterly hopeless?

    What am I missing here?

  • Thanks Damien

    Yes I am afraid you are missing a few things. To get my full take on this, be aware that I have penned four articles on this case, so you may want to read all four to help fill in the missing bits you need here. But you are making some false assumptions and asking some wrong questions. First, you wrongly assume he was a no hoper and a terminal case. But the doctors admitted that they did NOT even know what his actual problem was. He had an undiagnosed neurological condition, sometimes with the word “degenerative” added as a prefix. If you had a child with that condition, I don’t think you would glibly say, “Yeah, OK, bump him off”. Any genuine parent would not only want further opinions, but would do all they could to see if some other treatment was possible.

    And that is exactly the point here: other world class doctors and hospitals around the globe actually offered their expertise to do just that: to carefully examine him and perhaps provide alternative treatment which might have been beneficial. But the hospital, doctors and courts all denied that to Alfie and his parents. THAT is the real damnable ugliness of this case. That is what every single freedom loving person must shudder at in horror. The State decides who should live and who should die. The State decides what treatment options can be permitted. The State even decides if a parent can remove their child from the hospital for other treatment, or simply even take the child home! Even that simple request was denied to these grieving parents. That is utterly diabolical.

    Thus he was NOT in some definite terminal condition in which any and all treatment would have been futile. And no prolifer argues that a person on the natural course of death should be kept alive artificially by extraordinary means. But Alfie was denied ventilation, nutrition and hydration by the State (the NHS, Alder Hey, doctors, UK and EU courts). Thus they were all an accessory to murder. Welcome to the ugly world of socialised medicine. A chance for other options was stripped away from Alfie and the parents by an all-powerful State. That is ugly Big Brother Statism at is worst, and no conservative let alone Christian can ever countenance that. Even secular libertarians should be up in arms about this.

    And as I said, it has happened before, eg, with Schiavo and Gard, and is now becoming routine. So you ask the wrong question about parents owning children. The right question to ask here is, “Does the State own children?” That is the real issue here. Welcome to a Brave New World of State Executioners.

  • What a sad state of affairs.

  • Yes Ross it sure is. Not just sad, but diabolical.

  • Just read this piece and it brings great clarity. This was a legitimate case of passive euthanasia. (Although deprivation of food and water was absolutley wrong)

    quillette.com/2018/04/28/tragic-case-alfie-evans/

  • Thanks again Damien, but sorry, I do not find it to be either clear or helpful. There was nothing legitimate about this killing. For the most part the article simply offers the standard pro-euthanasia line, including various misrepresentations of what the pro-life position actually says (including the old red herring about the JWs). Thus it is simply an apology for more State-sanctioned killing, and more denial of rights to patients and their families. I do not buy it for a moment, nor should anyone who claims to be a Christian or a conservative or a libertarian. But I have already written well-documented books on euthanasia and on abortion in which I seek to make my case in much greater detail. Those who are interested can take a look at them, or the hundreds of articles I have on this website concerning these matters.

  • But didnt the parents and their own doctors concede that his prognosis was hopeless? These experts werent bumbling fools! And Isnt that what it comes down to and the basis for opting between passive and active euthanasia? What would have been the point in transporting him somewhere to be on a ventilator for the rest of his life or just die anyway when the machine is removed? What about the pain and discomfort that would have caused for no gain?

    This is a tragic and terrible case but the doctors and the judge on this case are not murderers. And parents dont have absolute rights to prolong the life of the child indefinitely.

  • Thanks again Damien, but you still seem to be missing it sadly. No, the parents did NOT concede that Alfie was a no hoper. And even if they had, the simple request then to let him die in peace at home was denied to them as well. Again, I can understand aloof statists and cold bureaucrats taking that sort of stance, but not any loving parent on the planet.

    And you just seem to make things up here as you go along, telling us with complete assurance that Alfie would have suffered forever and was totally and absolutely without any hope, the so the best thing was to get rid of him. Where have we heard that line of reasoning before? Do have children? Is this how you would talk if they were in this situation? Good grief, I do not have such omniscience. And no doctor does either. Doctors can and do get it wrong all the time. And many doctors differed from those at Alder Hey. But you seem to assume that the Alder Hey doctors were infallible, while all others with a different take on the case were not. Bizarre.

    The truth is, we are still in quite early stages of understanding neurological illness. As one bioethicist rightly put it:

    Given all that we still have to learn about the brain and its relationship to the functioning of a person, the judge may simply be wrong. In a separate case, a baby born with only 2 percent of normal brain tissue now, inexplicably, has a fully functioning brain. Case studies show that patients who lack a cerebral cortex may still know who they are, crack jokes, and recognize themselves in photographs. Some children born with hydranencephaly can laugh and cry, understand the difference between familiar people and strangers, and prefer certain kinds of music.
    It may also be the case that the drugs in Alfie’s system have suppressed thalamic connections in the brain, thus giving the false impression that much of his brain is gone.
    But even if we suppose the judge is correct, he and others are making the case that certain profoundly disabled children are unworthy of life. And when one combines Alfie’s case with that of Charlie Gard, the UK has now established the clear and frightening precedent that parents who have a different understanding of what kinds of lives are worth living may have their children taken from them and left to die—in the children’s own best interests.

    And even though I have said this repeatedly now, it seems you are still not grasping it, for whatever reason. In genuine cases of actual inevitable death, no prolifer is saying to artificially prolong things. That is the first and ugliest myth the pro-death camp keeps regurgitating, and I am not sure how many times it must be answered to be honest. And where did I or anyone say anything about ‘parents having absolute rights to prolong the life of the child indefinitely’? Have you actually read what I and others have said here? Sorry, but shooting down straw men is always easy, but it does not make an argument.

    But since I am now simply repeating myself here and going in needless circles, we may be at an impasse, so we will leave it at that. There is little point to continue if we just rehash old ground. Alfie died by the deliberate and premeditated actions of the state and its socialised medicine. That bothers me enormously. If it does not bother you, then we differ. But thanks for your thoughts.

  • This is saying that the State, in the case of the UK and other countries now own us and they decide on matters of what they deem to be on life and death, right and wrong etc. The government are increasingly believing more and more they know what is best.

  • Yes quite right Carl. The Brave New World is upon us, yet most folks are utterly clueless. We have failed to learn the lessons of Germany in the 30s and 40s, and so we will be forced to repeat that.

  • But this is part of a much wider picture of what has been happening in Britain for over a decade now.
    www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10503079/Alessandra-Pacchieri-Pitiful-tale-of-a-mother-and-her-lost-child.html

    www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1094490/Social-Services-chiefs-husband-drug-addicted-violent-terrorist.html

    news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/6129724.stm

    Britain is ruled by cultural Marxists . This is no conspiracy theory.
    David Skinner UK

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