Commentaries - "the point"

Share This    

The Point Washington Update - November 2014

In this issue:

Article #1

Editor's note: Dr. Martin Salia was a general surgeon and graduate of CMDA’s Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons residency in Cameroon.

Excerpted from "Ebola-infected physician dies in Nebraska," USA Today, November 17, 2014, - A surgeon infected with Ebola while treating patients in Sierra Leone has died in Omaha, Nebraska Medical Center announced Monday. Martin Salia, whose family lives in Maryland, arrived in Omaha on Saturday for treatment at the specialized biocontainment unit. He became ill Nov. 6 and tested positive for Ebola a week ago. Before his dad died, the son of Doctor Martin Salia said treating patients infected with Ebola was his "calling from God."

"It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share this news," Phil Smith, medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at the hospital, said in the statement. "Dr. Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren't able to save him."

Smith said Salia was suffering from advanced symptoms of Ebola when he arrived, including kidney and respiratory failure. He was placed on dialysis, required a ventilator and received plasma, Smith said. Multiple medications included ZMapp therapy, a new drug that has shown promise in fighting the disease.

Salia is the second person to die of Ebola in the United States. A Liberian man living in Texas, Thomas Eric Duncan, contracted the disease in his native country but was not diagnosed until after his return to Dallas. He died Oct. 8.

Salia's wife, Isatu Salia, has said that her husband believed he had malaria or typhoid when he fell ill Nov. 6. Her husband had two negative tests for Ebola before the third came back positive Nov. 10, she said. Isatu Salia said her husband's voice sounded weak and shaky when they spoke early Friday. But she said he told her, "I love you."

Salia said her husband traveled frequently between the United States and his native Sierra Leone. He never stayed in the U.S. long because he believed people in Africa need him, she said. Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leona and Guinea.

Commentary #1

Allen H. Roberts II, MD, MDivProfessor of Clinical Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and CMDA Campus Advisor Allen H. Roberts II, MD, MDiv: “With heavy hearts the news of Dr. Martin Salia’s death was shared, and with heavy hearts it is received. Most keenly is his death felt by his wife and sons, to whom our hearts and for whom our prayers go out, but it is felt deeply and dearly by his CMDA family as well. We pause in the midst of our daily rounds and of our own Ebola preparations to think about our brother in Christ, the life he lived and the death he died – both in the service of the Lord he loved.

“Martin’s predicament confirms what we are learning about Ebola. Patients who arrive at U.S. medical centers early in the course of the illness and are treated with aggressive fluid and electrolyte administration fare better. Many hospitals are developing protocols and ethics statements reflecting that with appropriate disease-containment interventions, the disease, when treated early, is survivable and containable.

“Dr. Salia’s death also came in the aftermath of an appeal that went out to CMDA members that we pray without ceasing for his recovery, and scores of members did just that. Yet, this dear brother died.

“Now is a good time to remember Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:17-44). We may join Martha and Mary in their deep sorrow; we may join Jesus Himself in absolute indignation and anger over the death of a friend.

“And we are invited, then, to listen to Jesus utter these most astonishing words, “I am the resurrection and the life…” (John 11:25, NIV 2011). It was in the certain hope of the resurrection that Martin Salia responded to God’s call to minister to those with Ebola in Sierra Leone. He counted the cost, and he went.

“We know how the story ends for Lazarus and how it will end for Martin Salia and all who are in Christ. It may be in the months ahead that God in His mercy will lead us to an effective treatment for this dreaded disease. We don’t know. But it was on the cross that the fate of Ebola was sealed, along with that of all disease and all death in all history. Jesus’ tomb is empty, and so will be Martin’s.”

Participate in CMDA's End Ebola Project

Ebola: ‘Beat the fire while it is far’ by Dr. David Stevens Ebola and Medical Missionaries

Article #2

Excerpted from "Polling Shows Impact of Abortion Issue in Mid-Term Election," National Right to Life News, November 6, 2014 - A new post-election poll of actual voters conducted by The Polling Company/ WomanTrend, found that the issue of abortion once again played a key role in the mid-term elections, and that National Right to Life and its state affiliates were key to getting out the pro-life vote for pro-life candidates.

Twenty-three percent of voters said that the abortion issue affected their vote and voted for candidates who oppose abortion. This compares to just 16 percent who said abortion affected their vote and voted for candidates who favor abortion, yielding a 7 percent advantage for pro-life candidates.

These poll results help explain the victories experienced by the right-to-life movement in Tuesday’s elections. Despite being vastly outspent by pro-abortion organizations such as Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List, pro-life candidates won Tuesday by significant margins. There were 26 races in which a candidate supported by National Right to Life was running against a candidate supported by the pro-abortion PAC EMILY’s List. Nineteen (73 percent) of the National Right to Life-supported candidates won.

“The abortion issue has played a key role in every major election since Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980,” said Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president. The poll also found that voters heard and saw the right-to-life message in the days leading up to the election.

Editor's note: As a 501(c)3 organization, CMA educates on issues and legislation but does not endorse candidates for office.

Commentary #2

Jonathan ImbodyCMA VP for Government Relations Jonathan Imbody: “Activist electioneering is hard but potentially productive work, and this round of advertising, phone calling and one-on-one conversations leading up to the November 4 elections paid off for the pro-life cause. The House of Representatives gained at least seven pro-life members, and the Senate's switch of party control (the GOP will have at least a 53-47 edge, with not all races decided) means that pro-life bills now should at least gain a vote.

“To some followers of Christ, following politics seems at best pointless and at worst counter-productive. Some believers disdain or shrink from the controversies and contention that mark modern politics. Some even decry any public policy involvement including voting, asserting that engaging in worldly politics is beneath heaven-bound Christians.

“Here's a case for robust Christian engagement in public policy:

  1. Scripture (Romans 13) teaches that God has ordained governments for two primary purposes—to punish evil and to reward good.
  2. While God provides everyone with a conscience to subjectively sense right and wrong (Romans 2), God's Word and His Spirit enable believers uniquely to objectively and spiritually discern good and evil (1 Corinthians 2).
  3. In a democratic republic such as the United States, We the People—including We the People of God—possess the power, privilege and duty to guide our government toward truth and justice.
  4. When believers disengage from public policy and refuse to guide their government as political leaders, activists and voters, their government suffers a critical loss of counsel regarding truth and objective standards of justice.
  5. This dereliction of duty by believers, who by the gifts of God's revelation and Spirit know right from wrong most clearly, opens the door to control of the government by power-seeking individuals with a self-concocted, upside-down worldview.
  6. When subjective ideologies and arbitrary assertions replace the Judeo-Christian objective standards that formed the foundations for Western governments and justice, evil becomes good, and good becomes evil.
  7. In the absence of objective standards, ideology replaces the rule of law and justice, and government enforces its ideology with unchecked power. Individuals holding opposing worldviews and the politically powerless suffer most, and no one remains safe from arbitrary autocratic attack."


  1. Join our Freedom2Care coalition Federal Registry on LinkedIn (registration is free) to gain updates on opportunities to advise government officials, serve on federal commissions and secure federal jobs.
  2. Visit our Freedom2Care legislative action website for easy-to-use forms to voice your values to your legislators.

Defending Life 2014 - a state-by-state legal guide to abortion, bioethics, and the end of life, by CMA legal partner Americans United for Life.
CMDA Abortion Ethics Statement
Remember to Remember: The Modern Implications of Abortion by Dr. John Patrick

Article #3

Excerpted from "The Courageously Mundane Faithfulness Of Kara Tippetts," Breakpoint commentary by John Stonestreet, November 7, 2014 - A young Oregon woman with a brain tumor recently made the choice to die. But a Colorado woman facing a terminal disease is choosing to live. What can we learn from their stories?

Oregon allows physician-assisted suicide; California doesn’t. Brittany Maynard chose November 1 as the day she would end her own life, with the help of a doctor. And I’m sad to say she carried through with her plans—despite the enormous outpouring of love and prayers from people across the country who urged her to change her mind.

One of those people was Kara Tippetts, a 38-year-old married mother of four who knows well the fear and pain of a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Her approach to illness has been to rest on the grace of God and to find power in living faithfully moment by moment, squeezing the goodness out of each day, and exhibiting, no matter what the prognosis, “mundane faithfulness,” which is the name of her blog.

Kara tells a story of mundane faithfulness in her new book, The Hardest Peace.

Kara has used her voice to reach out to Brittany Maynard, asking her to reconsider, gently telling her that there’s more to life than good physical health and the avoidance of suffering. “Suffering is not the absence of goodness,” Kara says in an open letter to Brittany, “it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known. ...That last kiss, that last warm touch, that last breath, matters—but it was never intended for us to decide when that last breath is breathed.”

Kara has been learning that lesson on her own journey. Go to her blog and you’ll see that Kara is not throwing around a lot of cheap Christian clichés. Here’s an entry from October 18:

“How do you love when you are at the bottom of yourself? The last gulp of a drink you feel tentative to swallow? How do you swallow that last gulp of life and fight to live it well? I’m struggling today,” she writes, “and I knew it would be a hard one. Chemo brings a low that I struggle with words to describe.”

And then on October 20: “...The hand held, the time spent reading together, the little loves that when faced with death have become the giant important moments in my life. The time praying together, laughing together, cooking together and crying together. They add up to a life well lived. [They] are simply the best of life.”

Friends, let's pray for Kara and for all those facing terminal illness—as well as for their families. And let’s also pray for our culture, that we learn that life is always a gift, without exception.

Commentary #3

Jonathan ImbodyCMA VP for Government Relations Jonathan Imbody: "Even if moving stories like those of Brittany Maynard prompt some to think we need to legalize assisted suicide, it's crucial to remember that such laws affect many more people and have many more consequences than originally imagined. The elderly, the handicapped and the depressed all become much more vulnerable under assisted suicide laws. You as a health professional know that much can go on behind the curtain that will never show up on a chart or in court. What appears on a document as a voluntary decision may in truth be coerced or otherwise improperly influenced--by an unduly negative presentation of a prognosis, or by family members who want an easy way out for themselves.

"Laws teach principles, and assisted suicide laws teach that suicide is not only good but a right. The right to die too easily becomes the duty to die. How many elderly patients already consider themselves a burden? How many heirs already wish their benefactor would die? What is a severely depressed teen supposed to think when society legalizes suicide?

"I know from conducting on-site research in the Netherlands what happens when the medical community and society make medical killing normal. I spoke to a son whose father, who had chosen euthanasia out of fear and a lack of his wife's support to choose life-extending surgery, told the doctor he didn't want to die after the doctor had administered the first shot to put him to sleep. The doctor ignored his statement and quickly administered the lethal injection. A grandfather asked for help with a painful thrombosis and instead died at the hands of a physician who interpreted his request as one for euthanasia.

"When doctors gain the power to kill, no patient remains safe. Hippocrates helped transform medicine with a proscription against assisting suicide--a measure that for the first time protected patients. Do all in your power to see that your state does not turn the clock back to the days when patients had to fear their physicians."

State Legislative Issues - Physician-Assisted Suicide

Jonathan Imbody Senate Testimony on Euthanasia
Kara Tippetts, blog
"Small wonders" - Kara Tippetts - World magazine
CDD STAT Interview with Kara Tippetts
Euthanizing Medicine, a presentation on the implications of legalizing physician-assisted suicide
Top Reasons Why Physician-Assisted Suicide Should Not Be Legal

Related Publications

The Point

e-newsletters | January 09, 2014