Maggie Gallagher

But at a more basic level, while I do not doubt the existence of moral truth, I wonder about the ability of any society to sustain the sanctity of life absent a transcendent commitment to the same. Reason reveals the moral law, but human beings listen to many voices other than that of reason. If we cease to believe in a creator who endowed us with rights and to whom we are accountable, how long will any rights last?

I wonder this particularly because the nation in which the international tribunal rests is a nation that has tolerated the involuntary euthanization of thousands of elderly and sick human beings. In the new book, "The Case Against Assisted Suicide," two leading medical experts, Kathleen Foley and Herbert Hendin, point out that more than 1,000 lives are snuffed out by Dutch doctors each year without the patient's consent. Since 1990 the number of medical atrocities of this kind has increased dramatically, rising from about 1 percent to 1.4 percent of all deaths.

Seven thousand Bosnian Muslims were massacred at Srebrenica in a nasty civil war. That deserves judgment. But since then, in a time of peace and plenty, about as many old folks were slaughtered by medical professionals.

Nobody is morally perfect. But what right does such a nation, which has gone the furthest to resurrect the Nazi idea that some human life is unworthy of living, have to judge the rest of the world?

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.