In a country where pet obesity and soda-guzzling toddlers are the health problems du jour, it might seem hard to believe that starvation in America poses a far bigger threat than overindulgence.
But a deeper look at the daily headlines suggests exactly that. The famine at hand is not about the absence of physical and material nourishment. We are a nation that has been weaned off the sustaining principle that all human life is sacred. We are a nation addicted to the sugar water of relativism -- a sweet-tasting, empty-calorie diet that is at the root of a deadly moral decay.
Terri Schindler-Schiavo, a wide-awake cognitively disabled Florida woman whom the life-denying mainstream media ghouls keep describing as "comatose," came perilously close to starving to death at the hands of her husband and the courts last month. Michael Schiavo, who vowed to love his ailing wife in sickness and in health, ordered Terri's feeding tube removed and denied her Holy Communion. After Gov. Jeb Bush and the state Legislature intervened and the tube was reconnected, Schiavo again blocked Terri from receiving sustenance -- the emotional sustenance of her loving and vigilant parents.
Meanwhile, Schiavo has satisfied his own base appetites by taking up with a mistress, fathering two illegitimate children, and squandering a massive medical malpractice payment on "right-to-die" lawyers and living expenses instead of rehabilitative therapy for Terri.
Another reminder of inhumane neglect last week came in the emaciated faces of Bruce, Keith, Tyrone, and Michael Jackson of Collingswood, N.J. Bruce, 19 years old and 45 pounds, was caught rummaging through a neighbor's garbage for food. At home, Bruce and his younger brothers had apparently been starved for the past five years by adoptive parents who cashed in on the state-subsidized kiddie racket.
Raymond and Vanessa Jackson reportedly received more than $30,000 from the state of New Jersey last year to help care for their adopted children and raked in federal housing subsidies to cover their rent. Yet, the Jacksons owed about $9,000 in back rent and accepted at least $2,000 from a church to restore their electricity. Where did all the aid go?
The Jacksons and their biological children appear perfectly well-fed in family portraits. Indeed, some of the healthy siblings could stand to lose a few pounds. A friend of the family noted that the Jackson family living room boasted a large screen TV with cable hook-up. And there was enough money to set up an alarm system in the kitchen, presumably to keep the starving boys out. Meanwhile, Bruce and his brothers apparently gnawed on window sills and insulation to fight hunger. Their teeth had rotted; their shrunken heads crawled with lice. Friends and relatives rationalized the boys' barbaric treatment with the circular claim that they had eating disorders.
Every week, the victims surface: A 2-year-old Jacksonville, Fla., toddler survives on ketchup and raw pasta for two weeks while her mom sits silently behind bars. A brother and sister are left home alone with a few boxes of Bagel Bites and corn dogs for three weeks while their mom pursues a North Carolina man she met on the Internet. A brain-injured man starves to death in a Manassas, Va., nursing home after his wife has his feeding tube yanked and then collects more than $800,000 in tax-free insurance funds.
Earlier this year, the decomposing body of 7-year-old Faheem Williams was found stuffed in a plastic container in a Newark basement. He had died of starvation and blunt force trauma to his distended stomach. His brothers, a twin and a 4-year-old suffering from malnutrition and dehydration, were found locked in a room nearby covered with vomit and feces. Government social workers had visited the children dozens of times to investigate allegations of burns, beatings, drug trafficking and lack of food. But they failed to take any action other than feeding the Nanny State bureaucracy with useless paperwork.
To treat human beings as vegetables, cash cows, disposable goods and anonymous case files is to cruelly rob them of fundamental respect and dignity. We may be a nation of plenty, but without the nourishment that only the Bread of Life can bring, we are slowly wasting away.