Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

April 3, 2005

The Spirituality of George Felos

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:56 pm

George Felos is Michael Schiavo’s attorney, and he’s also been the attorney for other “pull the tube” cases, most notably that of Estelle Browning in the early 1990s. He has been very active in the “right-to-die” movement, and was on the board of the Woodside Hospice until right before Terri was taken there.

He has also written a book about spirituality, lawyering, and how his spirituality leads him to advocate for “pull the tube” deaths. His book is entitled Litigation as Spiritual Practice, and it is, well, a bit weird. Just as he accused to Schindlers of being “religious fanatics” this book reveals him to be a “spirituality fanatic.” An excellent review, iwth excerpts, is here. A teaser:

Describing himself as a “spiritual aspirant for close to twenty-five years” (page x), it’s clear from Felos’ book that his spirituality drives his law practice, as well as the rest of his life. It’s also clear that his spirituality is enormously important to his views on death and dying. In fact, Felos’ spiritual awakening, as described in detail, is closely tied to his emerging interest in the subject of death and dying.

A fervent practitioner and teacher of yoga and meditation, Felos is a syncretistic religionist who mixes diverse religious traditions – including generous citations from the Bible and references to Jesus Christ – creating a composite of his own spiritual worldview. He believes “evolution of consciousness” is “our ultimate salvation” (xiv).

The Browning “right-to-die” case was the first legal appointment Felos had after his retreat and he found the case to be a “blessing rather than a coincidence” in light of his “recently acquired fascination with death and dying” (61). …

Felos later discusses the “cosmic law of cause and effect” in which he argues that human beings create their own realities with their minds and have the power to change their reality with their minds – including causing a new, dream car to appear “out of the ether” (178-179). He illustrates the truth of the spiritual principle by explaining how he once caused a plane to suddenly descend, causing chaos for the crew and passengers, when he pondered, “I wonder what it would be like to die right now?” The pilot later explained that the auto pilot computer program mysteriously quit working, resulting in the sudden descent. “At that instant a clear, distinctly independent and slightly stern voice said to me, ‘Be careful what you think. You are more powerful than you realize.’ In quick succession I was startled, humbled and blessed by God’s admonishment” (181-182).

Felos clearly believes in reincarnation and even discusses a conversation with his yet-to-be-conceived, unborn son, who told Felos, “I’m ready to be born…will you stop this fooling around!” (75). He cites this experiences as proof of the validity of perhaps the most bizarre claim in the book concerning what he calls a “soul-speak” conversation he claims to have had with Browning – the patient in the “right-to-die” case. While she never uttered an audible sound, Felos writes that he was able to communicate with the radically debilitated stroke victim who could not talk. He writes:

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 (73).

So, this George Felos thinks he can communicate with people who ought to die because they can’t communicate, and thinks he can control airplanes with “the spiritual principle.”

Yet he says the right-to-life folks are “dangerous fanatics.”

Read the whole thing.

Terri Schiavo cremated

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:00 pm

It is being reported that the Terri Schiavo’s body has already been cremated. And that there was a court order for that, too. (!?!)

Also, the Pinellas County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy, but did not allow any outside expert to observe it. I’ve never been a medical examiner (whew!) but I’m told it’s very unusual not to allow observers when requested. Normally (I hear), any doctor can observe an autopsy as a professional courtesy.

This is, of course, going to play right into the hands of those who think that Terri was abused and that there’s a cover-up going on.

(Hat tip: Blogs for Terri, which posted a call for a special prosecutor.)

For what is John Paul II “most noted”?

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:07 am

Earlier this evening I heard a report on our local news radio station that epitomized everything that’s wrong the the mainstream media’s reporting on religion. Basically, they report on religion the way they report on politics, as a series of conflicts between opposing “sides” — and it’s always fairly clear which side they support. Now, any large organization, even a religious one, is going to have some disagreements and some internal politics, but they report this as if that’s the main thing going on in any given religion.

In this particular report, the reporter introduced an interview by saying that John Paul II’s papacy was “most noted” for his opposition to abortion, birth control, and the ordination of women. She then interviewed a woman from a “liberal” Catholic magazine, who explained how (in her view) the Pope’s encyclical opposing the ordination of women as priests was in fact a violation of, or at least inconsistent with, the Church’s Canon Law.

Now I’m not Catholic and I don’t know anything about Canon Law, but I do know one thing — and that is that John Paul II was the 265th consecutive Pope not to ordain women. I can’t see how, from a journalist’s perspective, he can be “most noted” for not doing something all 264 of his predecessors also did not do. (Remember the motto of journalism? “When a dog bits a man, that’s not news. When a man bites a dog, that’s news.”)

I haven’t really done a full-scale investigation, but I would bet that all his predecessors also opposed abortion and birth control, at least to the extent that the enabling technologies were available in their times (and they have been around in some form or another for a long time; the physician’s Oath of Hippocrates, which pre-dates Christianity by centuries, includes a prohibition of abortion.)

The interviewer and interviewee then began handicapping the election for the next pope, with an eye toward guessing how likely it would be that the next pope would not be such a stick-in-the-mud and finally realize that all 265 of his predecessors were wrong about not ordaining women. Folks, I don’t have any inside information on this, but I’ll bet it’s extremely unlikely. As a non-Catholic, I don’t really think it’s appropriate for me to take a position on this — so I don’t — but I find it hard to believe that very many of the Cardinals would think that the Church should change a position they’ve held for nearly 2,000 years to satisfy a relatively recent, secular ideology (feminism). Plus — correct me if I’m wrong — I’d be surprised if many non-American Catholics are strongly arguing for ordination of women. (Americans make up only about a twentieth of Catholics worldwide.)

The question is, why do the (American) media think that this is what John Paul’s papacy is “most noted” for? Why do they think he is more noted for taking the same position as two millenia of predecessors rather than the things he did that were different, such as opposing Communism (not an issue for the first 1,800 or so years), traveling the world to promote the faith (not possible for the first 1,900 years or so), repudiating and asking forgiveness for 1,500 years of Church-sponsored antisemitism, and solidifying the Vatican’s position as a strictly spiritual, rather than temporal authority. (OK, so this last one maybe hasn’t changed much since 1870 — but still.)

The answer, I think, is that whatever their family background, nearly everybody in the media is non-religious. Nearly everyone believes that abortion, birth control, and feminism are right. Most of them live their lives on that basisAnd they are professionals, and see everything through the lens of professionalism. Women can be reporters, so why not priests? It’s just another educated profession, right? They can’t imagine a world in which reasonable people disagree with those propositions, so when educated, nice, and apparantly reasonable people do disagree with the media folks on these things, that is immediately what they find to be “most notable.” It’s notable because they can’t comprehend how someone could think that way. Their field of view is their own lives here and now, not — even when reporting on a Pope — the relevant, in this case, 1,973-year history and the doctrines and views of a billion-member church. To them, when a pope disagrees with modern liberal views, it really is like “man bites dog.”


PowerLine has a particularly telling example here. Apparently, the New York Times couldn’t find a supporter of John Paul II on short notice. That should give you an idea of how narrow their world is.


Read the comments. There are some good points made there. “Romy” gives some more informed answers to the title question and gives a non-American example of advocacy for female ordination, and “JPE” points out that relative to Vatican II’s “liberal” reforms, John Paul II could be considered differentiated relative to the recent past as “conservative.” In response to this, I’ll only point out that Vatican II obviously didn’t sanction ordaining women, or they’d have been doing it long before John Paul II took office. Also, in relations with the Jews (I know, not a high-profile issue to all), John Paul II took things in the same direction as Vatican II, only quite a bit further.


Michelle Malkin has an extensive list of other silly, misinformed, and/or rude things TV networks and newspapers have said in covering this issue. She also links to a post on the Democratic Underground which calls for praying that the Bush dies soon also.

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