When Your Doctor Is Your Executioner

Euthanasia is a growing problem throughout the Western world. I would guess that this is due in large part to the overall decline in respect for human life. We no longer see a human being as uniquely valuable in and of themselves. We do not grant anyone an intrinsic right to life.

We opened the doorway to legalized killing when we decided that all people may be killed without compunction before they are born. By granting one simple “choice” to kill their own child to women, we swept away all our responsibilities to address the violence and misogyny that made abortion seem necessary.

Abortion made killing those who are inconvenient, or whose lives forced us into a moral conundrum, an acceptable “solution.” We killed the unborn rather than give up our misogynist ways. We turned the noble cause of human rights on its head and claimed that the legal freedom to kill the most helpless humans was a basic human right. We discarded 2,000 years of Christian teaching and proclaimed that abortion was actually a moral option.

It was a short step from there to deciding that illness and suffering needed a quick and “merciful” end. Rather than use the pain medications we have and care for those who are elderly or infirm, we quickly moved to the argument that killing them was the “moral” and “humane” thing to do. First we called it “mercy killing.” When that gentle phrase became tainted, the advertising folks supplied a new one. Today we call it “death with dignity.”

Somewhere along the line, we lost the understanding of just how dangerous a doctor who no longer feels a responsibility to be a healer can be. Doctors are rapidly becoming the new executioner class of our society.

Abortion, euthanasia, much medical research, are all killers. They kill people. These changes in our legal structure that the nihilists among us keep pushing are metamorphosing a medical license from a license to heal into a license to kill.

We have trusted our doctors so completely for so long that I think a lot of us can not fathom the sheer killing power of modern medicine. If these drugs, devices and treatments we trust doctors to wield in good faith fall into the hands of a medical profession that has been cut lose from any legal responsibility to act in their patients’ best interest, what fate awaits us all?

I remember back when abortion was first legalized, pro life people said it would lead to euthanasia. I thought they were nuts. I thought they would say anything to make their point. They talked about the dangers of cloning, the destruction of the family, the eventual rise of euthanasia and the concept of human beings as disposable.

And I thought they were nuts.

I can tell you now, I was the one who was nuts.

They were right. They were absolutely, dead-on accurate in their predictions of where this new power to define a group of people as having no right to life would lead us. They understood it, but no one, including me, would listen to them. They were the cranks. The religious nuts. The woman haters.

I used to rant about fanatics who thought that a fertilized egg should have more rights than a 14-year-old girl. I was furious about this. I mean irate.

God changed me. Changing me wasn’t easy, not even for Him. I fought Him hard on this. I argued. I debated. I prayed. I hid from it. I fought because my feelings about women’s rights, in particular as they pertain to violence against women, are so strong that they cut right through me.

These feelings are so strong that I fought God rather than just obey Him. But love is patient and it is kind. Rather than bring down lightning bolts on my stubborn head, He just kept showing me I was wrong. It took a while, but He got through to me. And now, I’m trying to get through to other people.

Killing is never the answer to anything. All human life matters. Every single human being has an intrinsic value and right to life and we may not tamper with it. That is the order of things. The first premise. We must, as Christians, reason our actions from there.

Largely because of women like me, abortion as a legal right prevailed back in that day. It is holding on strong now. But the predictions of the pro life people are all coming true alongside it.

Abortion is just the smallest part of the burgeoning culture of death that surrounds us today. Sadly, most of it has its beginnings in our medical research facilities and our institutions of medical care. Euthanasia is legalized medical murder. It moves the death dealing from the unborn, who we cannot see and can allow ourselves to think is not real, to the sick, the infirm and the elderly. Euthanasia is the legal power to kill the men and women who are entrusted to our care by virtue of their various weaknesses.

You cannot deny the reality of the life you are taking with euthanasia. There is no “it’s just tissue/it can’t feel pain” wiggle room here. This is cold-blooded, face-to-face, undeniable murder of a human being by medical means.

Euthanasia turns your doctor into your executioner. It our responsibility as Christians to oppose it absolutely.

  • Ted Seeber

    When we get to the point, as pro-lifers as a whole, where we recognize the right of the man who cannot work to eat, the right of the soldier not to be sent into an unjust battle to support our gas prices, the right of even the man who is a murderer himself to work at repentance and restitution for the rest of his natural life; only then will be begin to approach a culture of life again.

    The culture of death is so much more than just euthanasia and abortion.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I agree Ted. I know you don’t mean it this way, so please don’t misinterpret when I say that none of these things excuses euthanasia or abortion. That, unfortunately is what some people try to do: Justify one evil with another.

      Again, I KNOW that is not what you meant. I’m just throwing that into the discussion.

      • Ted Seeber

        Exactly right- you can’t excuse Euthanasia or Abortion with an appeal to materialism, because materialism is a false philosophy.

        Having said that- it is these materialistic precursors that encourage both abortion and euthanasia. EVERY human life needs to be protected, not just the ones we like.

  • Bill S

    Rebecca,

    I know we have had this discussion, but I want to bring it to the attention of new readers. I know where your stand on the issue. I am interested in hearing from others before I vote.

    Bill S

    On November 6, I will be voting yes on Massachusetts Question 2 called Death with Dignity by proponents and Doctor Assisted Suicide by opponents. A yes vote would allow my doctor (hypothetically) to prescribe an overdose of sedatives at a time when I have a terminal disease and at a point where I have unbearable suffering. The decision to take the overdose would be mine and mine alone to make. Though I use myself for the example, it could be anyone.

    The law that would allow this to happen is identical to the Death with Dignity Act which has been in effect in Oregon for about 12 years. The same applies in Washington and Montana.

    I found this website when I was looking for an opposing view and it is the best website I have found that has opposing views to my own. I am very interested in learning why anyone would oppose allowing me (hypothetically) to control the circumstances of my own death. I don’t mean to be morbid about this. I am just thinking ahead.

    • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com/ Robert King

      There are many reasons and points of view about why “control[ling] the circustances of my own death” is an illusion. If you are really looking for input on your personal case, it would help to know your starting point, your base assumptions. Do you practice a religion of any sort, or are you an atheist? What do you consider the basis of human dignity? What do you consider the foundation of morality?

      I ask because I don’t want to argue with a straw man.

      But, so that I don’t avoid your question altogether, I would point out that there seems to be only a difference of technique between “Doctor Assisted Suicide” and any other form of suicide. But with any other form of suicide, society and law agree that people should be prevented from committing suicide, and that those who attempt it should receive psychological help, and that those who assist in it can be charged with a crime. So is the law inconsistent? Do you think that suicide should be permitted generally?

      If not, then what is the difference with “Doctor Assisted Suicide”?

    • Kristen inDallas

      I think the arguments against are pretty broad. The big one I see is that this act goes beyond you just choosing on your own to commit suicide, but also legal for a doctor to enable you in it. (ie. a person could go through legal channels to obtain a gun, with the same unfortunate intention, but it would be wrong to create a law which makes it ok to issue permits more quickly or without the same backstops when the intention is for a person to kill himself). It transfers from freedom of choice to a govt. and medical endorsement of that action. A second problem occurs when you consider that this overdose may be requested under duress or in a mentally incompacitated state. Sure we can put requirements in place to try to prevent that, but when you consider the financial interests at stake (an insurance company gets off a lot cheaper covering a few pills than it does covering long risky procedures or treatments) it’s not hard to imagine a broken system.

      Look at it this way, no matter what we do as humans, we will always make mistakes. Always. So I’d rather we stay out of decisions regarding when is an appropriate time for another person to die. I’d rather accidently lock up an innocent man for 20 years than accidentally use the death penaly. I’d rather be wrong about how much pain a living person might be expiriencing than be wrong about whether or not they really are ready to take their own life.

    • Ted Seeber

      Will you take testimony from somebody in Oregon who has lived with this for 12 years and who has had non-Catholic friends take this option?

      Choking down 9 grams of poison isn’t dignified. I know of at least one close case where DWD caused vomiting and the patient ended up surviving anyway.

      Worse still, DWD being legal has encouraged other suicides. And while correlation is not cause, in the past 10 years we’ve also had a huge increase in the murder-suicide rate among terminally ill misogynistic breadwinners, as well as a huge increase in murder-suicide for people getting divorced.

      The Wiccan Rede is incorrect. There is harm here, even when it appears to do no harm.

      Likewise, there is dignity in suffering- more than you can probably imagine. Certainly more dignity in suffering than in choking down 9 grams of horse pills because your heirs want a bigger inheritance.

  • Bill S

    Wow,

    Thank you for the awesome answers. I’ll answer Robert first. I used to be Catholic but I am now atheist. I don’t believe that controlling the circumstances of my own death would be an illusion. And mind you this is all hypothetical. I have no desire to take my own life. But if I were to find myself in the circumstances defined under Question 2; terminal disease and less than six months to live, I would want the prescription. If all I could look forward to were suffering with no hope of any sort of recovery I would choose to take the prescription at a certain time and place surrounded by friends and family and having the opportunity to say my goodbyes. I would define that as death with dignity and I don’t see anything immoral about it. That is why I am voting yes on question 2. I hope my response does not make me a straw man, whatever that means. Thank you for your response.

    • Ted Seeber

      Being “used to be Catholic and now atheist”, I suspect that your conversion was over the so-called problem of evil? If so, I think you should be aware that there is a dangerous flaw in atheist philosophy on this issue: Suffering isn’t caused by pain. Suffering is caused by the expectation of being comfortable.

      This has been known a lot longer than Christ- it’s in the teachings of Buddha as well.

      That flaw in your reasoning leads you to conclude that poisoning yourself is a dignified death when it isn’t.

    • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com/ Robert King

      @Bill S – Sorry I haven’t had time to reply sooner. Briefly:

      Re: Straw man – it’s a rhetorical device and a logical fallacy.

      Re: doctor assisted suicide – it sounds to me like you’re putting a minimum standard on what makes life worth living: a certain level of comfort, or a degree of hope for future comfort or activity, or perhaps a level of control over the circumstances of your life. I think this is where we would disagree, but I’m not clear on exactly what you see as the basic value that makes life worth living.

      For myself, I see life as a foundational value, without which nothing else is possible. What good can anyone pursue, if that person is dead? What good can anyone receive from a dead person? If taking a person’s life is morally acceptable, on what basis can we consider anything morally unacceptable?

      Therefore, even if we can’t always prevent death or heal every disease, we should never deliberately take a person’s life (with the possible exception of self-defense) – including our own lives. This is why I oppose physician assisted suicide and similar measures.

      Does this line of argument make sense to you?

  • Bill S

    Kristen,

    Thank you for your well-thought-out answer. It would take too long to get into all the provisions of Question 2. If you familiar with the Oregon law the same would apply to Massachusetts. There are many safeguards. However, opponents will argue that there are not enough. Regardless, the key element is that if you very close to death and if you are suffering and if you want to end your life it would become legal for a doctor to give you the prescription to do so. Hey appreciate your concerns but I am still voting yes. Thank you for your response.

    • Ted Seeber

      Actually, as far as the safeguards are concerned- if they are similar to Oregon’s, it’s proven that they aren’t enough. There have been cases of fraud using two doctors closely related to surviving family members already. There have been situations where the drugs didn’t work and a surviving family member ends up getting prosecuted for murder.

      Washington’s law is a bit better, but not by much.

  • Bill S

    Siri doesn’t always get the words right, but you know what I mean. And again, this is all hypothetical.

    • Ted Seeber

      A huge part of the problem is that it is hypothetical- you haven’t experienced the suicide of a friend or loved one yourself to know what death with dignity really is.

      • http://TDS MarieaGrace

        Ted,I have to agree with you on this and yes I to was very sure that children should not have to go through pain of having children or die in child birth,this happens more then you hear of in third world countries,woman have no rights to doctors etc. In 2010 I watched a woman go through so much pain and suffering for over 5 years and before she died 5 extra weeks of horror.She was not liked by family because of issues she was born with and resented because of her unrealistic ways. no one really understood her problems but one day she came to me for help and I tried my best though many said she should have been refused any help because of the trouble she cause for so many years.I became interested in her illness and learned to love her and forgive her for all she did to the family. Some how God let me see what she was really like through it all. She was sad and confused and unloved so she rebelled and did what she knew how to.I ended up loving her and now I miss her with all my heart she is thought of every day and cried for every day.I saw her suffer being eaten up by cancer and it was all over her privates and she was alive and rotting away. She was even abused by her daughter before she died.She died a trooper and a good soldier,I wonder if I could go through the pains she had and not want to be put out of my misery. If you are not afraid of death then you should have no problem,she did have faith in God since birth but she had mental issues brought on by alcohol at procreation .She did not ask for this and she could not help herself,she knew she was not liked but she also knew she had one person who loved her and forgave her besides her mother.Me! Her life was so important to me as, this would be all the time I would have left with her as a sister who could really say I love you and mean it,who would say I for give everything you are more important to me then the past, I will stick by you and help you. She gave me the courage to go on with my own life and no matter how much I suffer I think of her and it is nothing compared to what she suffered. I thank God for my step sister and for the very little time we had together Blessings and Peace!!
        To the world you may be one person,
        But to one person you may be the world.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, if I may, I’d like to toss something in here.
      Everything you’ve said in favor of Question 2 is about you, and even that is in the most narrow configuration. You say that you want to be able to take pills when/if you become terminally ill and faced with pain. That’s your whole reason for doing away with laws that have stood against random medical killing for millennia: It’s what you think you’d like one day.
      Are there no larger considerations here?

  • Bill S

    Ted,

    Do you have any concept of the suffering that people can go through when dying? This law doesn’t require anyone who wants to tough it out to do otherwise. You can still have your suffering if you want it. I’m just voting to let people choose for themselves. That seems to be a big problem for people like you, judging by your responses on other blogs.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Easy Bill. This is going well. Keep it on a higher plane.

    • Ted Seeber

      Yes, Bill, I do. But suffering itself isn’t evil. Suffering is necessary and can even be good; some of the greatest and most meaningful events have come through suffering.

      And yes, the Freedom to do Evil is a big problem for me. It is something I cannot condone and do not understand. To me, objective morality is as strong as the laws of physics.

  • Bill S

    Rebecca,

    I am just trying to make an informed decision. To sympathize with someone who may be helped by this law I have to put myself in their position. I’m not trying to make it about me and my only experiences with death are my parents , neither of which would have benefited from this option. My father was eased into death by increasing his morphine drip and I had no problem with that. But that does not require any changes to existing laws

    I am open minded. I can be convinced to change my vote. But time is running out.

    • anon

      I think it’s very noble to attempt to sympathize with others, especially when trying t understand what might motivate them to do something we might consider wrong. But I think it’s also important not to let our conciences be so maleable that we can imagine just about anything is right by putting ourselves in a very narrowly imagined person’s hypothetical shoes. When we make decisions about the rightness or wrongness of something, when we pass new laws, it’s important to put ourselves in just about every pair of shoes we can imagine, from the loved one or dependent child of the person who takes his own life, to the mentally feeble elderly woman who is coerced by unloving caretakers to take this measure, to the doctor who has trouble sleeping at night after being asked to perscribe the lethal dose, to the teens suffering great emotional damage who are reinforced in the idea than pain is not worth bearing, to the religious devout, forced to violate his faith when his insurance company or government takes the next (financially obvious) step in deciding that the costs of lethal doses should be shared by all….

      There are many more shoes to walk in my friend. I don’t mean to dismiss the pain of those who this law would “help.” I won’t pretend the suggestion itself is rooted in anything but concern. But the presence or absence of pain can not be the sole criteria of right and wrong, because there will always be someone in pain.

  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    “It is not euthanasia to give a dying person sedatives merely for the alleviation of pain, even to the extent of depriving the patient of the use of sense and reason, when this extreme measure is judged necesary.” — directive 23 of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Hospitals (1954, 1955), cited (on p. 115) by Gerald Kelly, S.J., in his book Medico-Moral Problems, with the imprimatur in 1957 of Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter of St. Louis. (The same directive adds: “Such sedatives should not be given … to patients who are able and willing to endure their sufferings for spiritual motives.”)

  • Bill S

    J.H.M.

    Thank you for that guidance. I don’t believe in enduring suffering for spiritual motives and I am sure that there are others that feel the same way. I would never impose that on others and I agree that sedatives can be used effectively to alleviate pain. From what I have read on the subject, however, pain relief has its limits in some cases. That is where Question 2 becomes the most humane option.

  • kenneth

    I hope I die well, and quickly, or that I am able to manage with appropriate pain management etc. That said, the right to choose my own terms of departure from this world is my own. It does not belong to anyone else or their church. Physician assisted suicide is already very widely practiced. It’s an open secret that doctors will often give patients plenty of extra pain meds or sleeping pills and tell them “whatever you do, don’t take 20 of these” wink wink.

    I have every confidence that my own doctor would grant me that decency if the time came. My own knowledge of chemistry and pharmacology give me options many others would not have. There should be some provision for people who are suffering and not able to administer their own medication. It would also be better if it was above board, with oversight and safeguards. Make sure people have proper pain relief so that they don’t feel driven to suicide by desperation. If they choose that option, make sure it’s really their idea, not some kid who wants to bump them off for inheritance etc. There’s no one I’d trust more than my doctor to assist me in dying. It’s not something she would do eagerly or lightly, but it should be a legal option.

    • Ted Seeber

      It is not the church who has the right to choose your time and place, but God.

    • Kristen inDallas

      “There’s no one I’d trust more than my doctor to assist me in dying.”

      The funny thing is, I couldn’t agree with you more. The sad thing is that there is also no one I’d trust less than my doctor to take care of me when I am sick. I will wait out the flu, dink tea for a cold, and take a shot of tobasco to clear up a nasal infection. The only appointments I’ve made in the past decade were all pregnancy related. If I were writhing on the floor in pain unable to move, I’d call my best friend before I’d call 911. I have no religious objection to medical treatment, I’m not (in any other respects) crazy, and I’m not exagerating for effect. I just plain old do not trust them with my general well being. If I ever want a pill (which I don’t) I’ll give them a call. I’ll tell them what I want they’ll write the scrip and the pharms will fill it. Until then, when I’m sick, I’d honestly rather just have my mom. :)

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Kristen, it sounds like the only thing you think they’re competent for is to kill you. If we pass these laws, that will be true of all of us.

        • Kristen inDallas

          To be fair, I’m sure some are great people, and some are quite smart. But for the most part, the training/indoctrination process leaves us with a lot of general medicine practicioners that rely on easy perscriptions above therapy, sound advice, actually “caring” enough about a patient to ask what their priorities are.

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com neenergyobserver

    Bill’s (hypothetical) case is very specific and while I can see his point, I have a problem with a doctor or other medical professional being involved. A libertarian viewpoint would make drugs available to anyone, which would solve that problem but create others. I don’t have the answer, especially for an atheist, whose worldview I can’t quite visualize, so I’ll leave it there.

    On the broader question, I see us as medicine becomes more and more third-party payor, whether Obamacare or insurance based, moving more and more to the NHS pattern. The NHS is already fighting so-called death panels that are all to eager to end lives simply to save money, which is a very bad mode to get into, and we must do our utmost to stop here.

    And, Yes Rebecca, I have made the same journey as you have, I thought they were nuts, too, and now find it was us.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I always knew we had a lot of our thinking in common … :-)

      “And, Yes Rebecca, I have made the same journey as you have, I thought they were nuts, too, and now find it was us.”

      • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com neenergyobserver

        We do, indeed. I came out of a rather liberal church, which is the only excuse I’ll give. rationality took over at some point. :-)

  • Rebecca Hamilton

    Whoa! What we are talking about here is murder. I am allowing this discussion because it is thoughtful and civil. However, I can’t allow links to books promoting this viewpoint. I don’t even want the names of those books on here when they are used as reference for someone talking about killing people. I know that’s not in the rules. I guess I just made a new one.
    I will not have this blog used in any way to promote murder.

  • Bill S

    Rebecca,

    I follow your website because it provides an opposing view to my own. I want to know what the other side is saying. Why do you want to deny your readers the same opportunity?

    Most of your readers are all of the same opinion. Your readers who truly want to know the facts would do well to read that book that I mentioned which you censored. I would never have figured you to be someone who would actually delete a reference to a book. It’s sort of like book burning.

    Are you afraid that your readers might learn something new? Might there be other opinions worth evaluating? I’m looking for and evaluating other opinions all the time. And I appreciate links and references to books. I truly want to learn and I believe that that is what your readers would want as well.

    Doctor assisted dying is no longer considered murder in three states. There is nothing in the Bible that would prohibit it. That leaves the teaching of the Catholic Church with which most people disagree.

    I think the whole purpose of a blog is to voice and listen to opposing opinions. Referencing links and books would be part of that exchange.

    If you’re going to delete my posts, I probably shouldn’t be involved in this blog anymore.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Whether or not you post here is your decision. You are welcome to continue posting, if you chose.
      However, I will not allow links to books, pamphlets, websites, etc, promoting euthanasia which are posted for the purpose of promoting that viewpoint.
      I will not be part of promoting murder.
      There is indeed something in the Bible that prohibits euthanasia: Thou shalt not kill.
      It does not matter in the least what popular opinion says. The deliberate taking of a human life by medical means is medical murder. When a doctor prescribes drugs for the purpose of killing his or her patient rather than treating that patient, the doctor is participating in the murder of their own patient. You can call it an African Violet, and that would not change a thing. It is murder.
      Voting for a law to allow euthanasia means that the voter is assenting to this murder and thus becomes part of it and shares in the moral guilt. People need to understand this. You can not knowingly vote to legalize murder and then claim that you have no part in the guilt of the murders which subsequently take place.
      Bills like Question 2 ask not only doctors to become executioners, but voters as well.
      Saying that you are an atheist and do not believe in moral guilt, while it is your privilege, does not matter so far as the reality of the moral situation is concerned or as to what I do.
      It’s not debatable Bill. Stay or go. Your choice. But don’t post links like that here again.

  • Bill S

    It can’t be Thou shall not kill. They were told to kill everyone in the land that they were going to occupy. It has to be Thou shall not murder. And what about all those people that were burned at the stake for heresy?

    Aiding someone in dying is not murder. Killing someone who doesn’t want to die is murder except in combat and executions for capital crimes.

    I’m not going to engage in an argument with the Catholic Church. If you have a rational argument, I’ll listen to you.

    It’s late here in Massachusetts I’ve got to go to bed. I love your website. I just don’t agree with everything you have to say.

    • J. H. M. Ortiz

      Stories of what Old-Testament Hebrews did, Jephthe’s sacrificial killing of his own daughter, Crusaders killing men, women, and children in Palestine, the Inquisition killing heretics, etc., all relate to historical folklore or fact. But the present post is rather about what’s right or wrong. And on this subject of right and wrong, we have St. Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church, writing in the 1100′s against the growing tendency to kill heretics: “Make the heretics leave the Church: but do not kill them at all; for they are made as we are [*or* "as you are"] in the image of God.” And on the rights and wrongs of the death penalty, we have the prominent 20th-century Thomist Jacques Maritain, who — admittedly in disagreement with Aquinas’s writings — stated flatly (in note 19 of Chap. XIII of his book On the Church of Christ): “In my opinion … capital punishment is in itself such a sin [i.e, 'a sin of homicide'] committed by society.” Note Maritain’s phrase “in itself” (French “de soi”), equivalent here to “intrinsically”. (I got Hildegard’s statement too from this book of Maritain’s, in note 2 to Chap. XIII.)

  • Bill S

    MarieaGrace,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Yours is the one post that gives an example of another kind of death with dignity. Hopefully, the safeguards under Question 2 would prevent her premature death. If not, her suffering would still have been reduced and you would have been there to see her through it.

  • Pastor Chris

    Dear Rebecca,
    One of the underlying issues in this area that no one has mentioned yet is the basic “American” notion that “if it doesn’t work, fix it or throw it away.” How many TV repair shops do you see any more? How many cobblers? And underlying this discussion is a stratum (and I’m not saying it’s the only one) that says “if we can’t fix what’s wrong with somebody we might as well throw them away.” A corollary to that is “when we can’t figure out what use to make of them, throw them away.”
    This train of thought assumes that the people we are talking about are nothing more than lumps of clay, objects for someone else to evaluate, use, or discard according to the other’s will. But although the God that I believe in, and I trust that you also believe in, did in fact create human beings out of lumps of clay He did so much more than that when He created us. He breathed His breath into the man, and it is at that point that the man became the Living Being. Clay alone does not make the person; clay plus the Breath (Spirit) of God is what makes a person. God Himself is present in the life of each person He has made; and even more, He has invested Himself into each person He has claimed as His child through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. For these reasons we who are believers can and must insist that in conversations about ending a life before birth, or ending a life before death, these conversations MUST include Him who has the most vested interest in the person of all. We must include Him through earnest prayer and listening, repentance and fasting and soul-searching and more prayer and listening. Only then can we be humbly prepared to offer our own opinion, but knowing full well what His is.
    But there is one more thing that I think I need to say: when I went through the Rite of Confirmation I remember a line that went “do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” My 13-year-old answer was supposed to be “I do, by the grace of God.” Of course, at that age who really gets the full implication of that question and answer. But today I’m thinking that “continuing steadfast in this confession and Church” and “suffering all, even death, rather than fall away from it” will have to mean that if I am to confess my trust in the grace and love of God the Father who created this body, God the Son who redeemed this body together with my soul, and God the Holy Spirit who has been sanctifying me my entire life, that when that life seems to be drawing to an end my first responsibility will be to trust Him and confess HIm rather than to trust myself to the will and judgment of any human being.
    As a Pastor, this is how I would advise others, too. And yes, I have lost loved ones – and have been at deathbeds of others’ loved ones many times – and have yet to witness a single reason to advise otherwise.
    Thanks, Rebecca, and God bless us everyone!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Pastor Chris for this beautiful comment.

  • Bill S

    Pastor Chris,

    With all due respect, what you just said means absolutely nothing to me. I don’t know what clay has to do with anything. Biologically, you know how a human being his formed. The clay and Holy Spirit thing is just a metaphor, right?

    Picture a person suffering in a hospital waiting to die. What would you say to that person if that person asked for enough sedatives to put an end to his or her suffering? Surely, not what you just said.

    As a pastor I’m sure you’ve been to more hospital beds than I. Haven’t you ever run into someone who just wanted to end the suffering? I’m not saying this just to be a wiseguy; I really value your input.

    MarieaGrace has me half convinced that Question 2 might not be such a good idea. But your argument is totally irrational. It’s just a bunch of sentimentalities.

    Let me ask you this. Have you ever run into a situation where you thought an overdose of sedatives might be the most humane solution? If not, I’m okay with that.

    I suppose I should ask, do you believe that the person taking the overdose is committing a mortal sin? If so, then there is no way we can have a rational discussion on the subject.

    I suspect that no one wants to admit that the mortal sin part of this is at the bottom of most opposition. Do you believe that the people in Oregon who have taken advantage of their program for the past 12 years have committed mortal sins? If not, would your bishop and pope back you in that determination. If this is about suicide being a mortal sin, then this discussion is going nowhere.

    I’m begging for someone to give me one reason to vote No on Question 2. And other than MarieaGrace, no one has given me even a hint of a valid reason.

  • http://ackans.com Mr. V.

    Aside from the fact that euthanasia is murder, the biggest problem with laws like what Bill mentioned is the door that gets opened. Once you enact a ‘death with dignity’ law that enables a terminally ill person to ask to be killed in order to escape the pain, how long will it be before doctors gain the power to decide upon that option on their own even without the consent of the patient? Suppose a patient was judged to be terminal, but because of the situation, whether through sickness or injury, the patient was not to effectively communicate but is still aware and cognizant of his surroundings and situation. Suppose that patient wanted to keep living till death claimed him naturally. Once the door has been opened on mercy killing, which is a lie because killing is not merciful, what’s to stop a doctor from deciding that the patient I just described must surely want to be ‘put to sleep’ because of his terminal condition and pain to go with it? Imagine the terror of the patient, hearing and observing the doctor and the nurses readying the tools with which they will kill him, and not being able to stop the doctor or even yell for help.

    I fail to see the mercy of that situation.

  • Bill S

    Mr. V.

    “…how long will it be before doctors gain the power to decide upon that option on their own even without the consent of the patient?”

    As long as it would take to change the law to allow that to happen. That would never happen in this country. It’s hard enough getting question 2 passed with all its safeguards and stipulations.

    • Ted Seeber

      They said the same thing about abortion, which has now killed 54 million people since 1973.

  • Bill S

    Thank you for your comments. I think I know how I will vote on the question. I just need to research the Oregon program to see if there is any evidence of abuse or unforeseen complications.

  • Sus

    Please don’t take this as disrespectful because I honestly don’t mean it that way.

    No matter what your beliefs are, your life is going to come to an end. Everyone’s number is going to come up at some point. I felt exactly the same as Kristen regarding doctors until I felt a lump at age 38. Getting cancer at a relatively young age, I’ve faced death in face. Before that I felt like I’d live forever. I know better now.

    Pastor Chris said ““if we can’t fix what’s wrong with somebody we might as well throw them away.”
    Sometimes there is nothing a doctor can do but try to make you comfortable. Sometimes there is no making you comfortable no matter what drugs they try. Asking terminally ill people to “hang on” for a miracle like a new drug being discovered is very cruel.

    If my cancer comes back, I hope and prayer that it doesn’t, I plan on fighting – to a point. I also plan on taking full advantage of palliative care and hospice. It’s been proven that people can live longer by not treating their illness but by controlling symptoms. I don’t know if I have it in me to take pills to die but I want that option if I’m terminally ill.

    I’ve read that there are many more death prescriptions filled than taken where doctor assisted suicide is legal. Most people end up dying from their illness instead of the pills.

    • Ted Seeber

      That last is true. But the real question isn’t those who obtain the dose and don’t use it- not even those who obtain the dose and do use it. To me the real question is the effect on the survivor’s family and on the suicide rate for the rest of society.
      http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/assisted-suicide-has-led-to-higher-suicide-rate-in-oregon/article_2c5b2242-18f6-11e0-8109-001cc4c03286.html

      There’s more than just the lives of the proven terminally ill at stake.

      • Sus

        My family is my business as your family is your business. I think everyone should be talking with their family about death. The more you talk while alive, the easier it is when you are gone.

        I should have put this in my original comment. If a person is mentally deficient and can’t take the pills without assistance, then they wouldn’t be eligible. That should protect Grandma if they are trying to kill her off.

  • http://hiddeninjesus.wordpress.com jessica shaver renshaw

    Rebecca, I could back up your statements with evidence gleaned from my researching the history of abortion in the United States from before Roe v. Wade to the present, like the fact that in the original Hippocratic oath, every physician vowed not to perform or help perform abortions. Instead, I’ll just refer you to my novel containing lots of evidence, Compelling Interests. The facts in it, even the most bizarre–like the homosexual biting a pro-life protester: “I’ve got HIV, now you’ve got it too” and the woman in for her umpteenth abortion who rolled up the blinds of the clinic window to sing out to the pro-life demonstrators, “I’m killing a bay-bee!” and the 10-yesr old girl, impregnated by her father, dropped off at an abortion clinic by her mother–are all documentable; about all I changed are the names.

    • http://hiddeninjesus.wordpress.com jessica shaver renshaw

      Also my non-fiction book Gianna: Aborted and Lived to Tell About It.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        I’ve seen Gianna’s testimony on video. Is this book on Amazon?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Hi Jessica! Is your book available on Amazon?

  • Bill S

    Ted,

    Thank you for the links. Good reading.

    I’m convinced that the Oregon program works.

    Bill

    • Ted Seeber

      It works as intended- to increase the suicide rate and further reduce the surplus population so that the rich can grow richer.

      I just find it amazing that ANYBODY could possibly define that as a good thing, useful for society.

  • BDW

    Ted,

    Do you really believe what you just said?

    “It works as intended- to increase the suicide rate and further reduce the surplus population so that the rich can grow richer.”

    Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X