Monday, March 28, 2005

Felos: Fool, Fanatic or Fiend?

James Taranto's Opinion Journal Best of the Web today suggests perhaps a mix of all three.

Possibly the creepiest moment in the Terri Schiavo saga came Saturday afternoon, when George Felos, Michael Schiavo's lawyer, appeared at a press conference without his client. Felos described having visited Mrs. Schiavo, who at that point had gone eight days without food and water. "Frankly when I saw her . . . she looked beautiful," Felos told the assembled reporters. "In all the years I've seen Mrs. Schiavo, I've never seen such a look of peace and beauty upon her."

OK, we understand "peace": She's not suffering, she would have wanted to die, etc.--of course Felos is going to make that argument. But beauty? Felos is aestheticizing this poor woman's death, after having helped bring it about? That's just weird.

It turns out that Felos's weirdness goes deeper still. In a 2003 article, Florida Baptist Witness editor James Smith looked at Felos's 2002 book, "Litigation as Spiritual Practice." Felos's views on the "right to die" are informed by a "syncretistic" spirituality that "mixes diverse religious traditions--including generous citations from the Bible and references to Jesus Christ--creating a composite of his own spiritual worldview."

Smith quotes at length a story from Felos's book about Estelle Browning, the subject of Felos's first right-to-die case:

As I continued to stay beside Mrs. Browning at her nursing home bed, I felt my mind relax and my weight sink into the ground. I began to feel light-headed as I became more reposed. Although feeling like I could drift into sleep, I also experienced a sense of heightened awareness.

As Mrs. Browning lay motionless before my gaze, I suddenly heard a loud, deep moan and scream and wondered if the nursing home personnel heard it and would respond to the unfortunate resident. In the next moment, as this cry of pain and torment continued, I realized it was Mrs. Browning.

I felt the mid-section of my body open and noticed a strange quality to the light in the room. I sensed her soul in agony. As she screamed I heard her say, in confusion, "Why am I still here . . . Why am I here?" My soul touched hers and in some way I communicated that she was still locked in her body. I promised I would do everything in my power to gain the release her soul cried for. With that the screaming immediately stopped. I felt like I was back in my head again, the room resumed its normal appearance, and Mrs. Browning, as she had throughout this experience, lay silent.

And this guy has never lost any court case involving Terri's life.

Wonderful, just wonderful.


Patterico has thoughts as well.