when your child is not your child

It is more than tragic that a dying child should be used as an ideological
football in a court presided over by a gay activist judge whose impartiality
was not publicly evident;
and that the critical issues of the rights of parents v the state should be lost,
in what appears to be a residual antipathy to Christian teaching and values.

But there will be more of this.
Bishop Gavin Ashenden


(the chives are a bloom / Julie Cook / 2018)

I’ve tried not jumping into this mess.
I’ve even tried not to read much about it.
I didn’t want to hear one more, read one more, feel one more sorrow.
For you see this is a story that breaks my heart in a million different ways.

Maybe it’s because I am a mother, an educator, a new grandmother.
Kids have been my business most of my life.

Maybe it’s because I believe that the bond between a parent and child is
the greatest bond–apart from our bond with the Father.

Or maybe it’s because I believe all life to be sacred…
Aged, new, healthy, infirmed, joyful, dying or ailing.

Life is precious and sacred…all life, everyone’s life…end of sentence.

His name was Alfie.
He was 23 months old.
I say was because Alfie lost his fight against an illness this past week.

His story is a mess.

He became sick over a year ago…

In a nutshell:

A baby boy named Alfie Evans died early this morning at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
in Liverpool, England, in the pediatric intensive care unit that had been his home
for the last 18 months. The life he lived for close to 24 months was mercilessly short,
yet full of meaning. He didn’t know it, but he was at the center of a heart-wrenching debate
about who should have final authority over children’s medical care: Parents, or the state?

Evans was born on May 9, 2016,
the healthy child of two young parents, Tom Evans and Kate James.
But as early as July 2016, Alfie’s health began to deteriorate.
He was brought into the pediatric unit at Alder Hey in December 2016,
where, over the course of a year, he suffered seizures,
bi-lateral pneumonia, and cardiac complications that put him in a coma by January 2018.

Alfie’s doctors decided that continuing to keep the boy on ventilatory support was
not in his best interest, concluding that he had an untreatable,
progressive neuro-degenerative disease of unknown origin.
Typically, in the UK, doctors in a similar position use private mediation (pdf)
to agree upon a course of action with family members.
But Alfie’s parents did not accept the doctors’ conclusion, arguing that the hospital had
rushed to judgment.
In later court hearings, they said they felt the hospital had “given up” on Alfie.
And so the hospital turned to the family division of the UK’s High Court for a ruling.

Justice Anthony Hayden ruled in favor of the hospital in February 2018,
saying that while it was
“entirely right that every reasonable option should be explored for Alfie,”
continuing to keep him on life support “compromises Alfie’s future dignity and fails to
respect his autonomy.”
The family then filed an appeal request before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,
which was denied in March 2018. After having exhausted all legal options in the UK,
the Evans took their case to the European Court of Human Rights, where their appeal was ruled inadmissible.

…The case of Alfie Evans has resonated with Catholic and Christian communities
around the world.
They see in his case a fundamental conflict between the actions of the British legal
system and their religious belief in both the right to life and the right of parents to
determine a child’s medical care.

Some religious activists have banded together in support of the Evans family,
calling themselves “Alfie’s Army,” and regularly protest outside the hospital where Alfie
is being treated.
In response to the outcry from the Catholic community,
the Italian government offered young Alfie citizenship,
arranging for him to travel to the Bambino Gesu hospital in Italy.
Even Pope Francis, who met with Tom Evans in Rome earlier this month,
has weighed in on the case.

Quartz

The Pope, who took a personal interest in the case, tweeted:
“I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie.”
He added: “Today I pray especially for his parents,
as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.”

(BBC)

Alfie Evans is not the first baby whose medical condition sparked similar debates.
Last year, Charlie Gard, a terminally ill British baby,
died in July 2017 a day after the British High Court ruled that his life support
could be withdrawn. Charlie’s case had attracted the attention of world leaders from
Pope Francis to US president Donald Trump.

Quartz

Even our favorite former prelate to the Queen, Gavin Ashenden, has had a few choice
words of his own regarding the case of Alfie.

Not only was baby Alfie kept as a prisoner of the state, and the rights of the parents
set aside in favour of the state, but this was accompanied by personal vitriol directed
at the parents’ Christian advisors.
And further, this morning,
the Times placed its weight behind the learned gay judicial campaigner’s
personal disgust with Christian orthodoxy.

Bishop Ashenden is speaking of the magistrate, Anthony Hayden, who ruled in this case against the
wishes and rights of the parents of this child as well as against the child himself.
Going so far as to offer snarkiness toward those Christian groups rallying around the defense of parents and child.

The danger of the judiciary, the malice of the media, the perniciousness of progressive policies – and how Alfie paid the price.

Progressive secularism…
The wedge that will continue to divide and divide and divide.
How far will you allow it to divide your own decisions and your own life and
your own family and the life of your own child?

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through
him and for him.
And he is before all things,
and in him, all things hold together.

Colossians 1:16-17

12 comments on “when your child is not your child

  1. Elihu says:

    When you teach people they are nothing more than accident of random chance, they will look at every “inconvenient” life as expendable. The great irony is how much these same people will cling desperately to life because they fear the oblivion of death. I have been afraid of this story too, because I have always feared the state’s overreach into parents’ decisions. This case should have us all on notice—when government pays for education, healthcare, etcetera, we lose the freedom to make our own decisions regarding the same.

    • You nailed it with that one observation—“when Government pays for….”
      basically everything , then yes— we allow them to determine our very lives

      • oneta hayes says:

        In this case the government would not even allow someone else to take up the cost. Thankfully the child lives well now, but that was not the motivation behind this government decision. This was intentional murder because they did not deem the child of any value. If I were to use that standard for who lives and dies, there would be a lot of dead folks around. But that is not my standard, nor God’s, thankfully.

      • it is murder Oneta and I believe that, we the members of the Christian family, need to stand up and speak out—or these stories will only grow and grow…

  2. Tricia says:

    Like you Julie I’ve been avoiding reading about this because the outcome was all too predictable and depressing. There is something seriously wrong with England’s bureaucrats. We saw it with the Charlie Gard case and pretended it as a one off but it’s not. The lack of value assigned to human life and the almost complete take over of the state over the family is driving that country over the abyss. What absolute moral mess, something I think that’s been deliberately brought about over decades.

    • I totally agree Tricia— the secularization of Europe is our own mirror— it’s just a matter of time and we’ll be right there— realizing we’ve allowed a monster to take over our lives but it will be too late— Alfie lived almost 5 days when taken off life support— on his own— God’s final nod to man’s smugness

  3. phyllissnipes says:

    This is a post I just can’t bring myself to “like.” Heartbroken for Alfie, his loved ones, and our world!

  4. So heartbreaking! I am torn up about all of this just as you are! I hate that this could happen. Francis Schaeffer was absolutely correct so many years ago when he predicted this. Sigh. Love and hugs to you, dear Julie!

  5. oneta hayes says:

    Julie, in response to your saying we need to stand up against this. One of the best ways is to have a president who will appoint Justices who will interpret the Constitution as it is written. I’m very thankful to have that in our President. But it is still a pain to get Congress to pass a true constructionist. This (Alfie’s situation) is what naturally develops by making abortion legal. If one can kill a healthy baby in the womb, an unhealthy one is even more of a problem in the eyes of the wicked.

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