Parsing Killing With Impunity and Manufacturing Monsters

In case you were wondering, the devil is at work all over the world, not just here in America.

One case in point is a suggested revision to Dutch statutes that I mentioned in an earlier post to allow medical personnel to euthanize minors and Alzheimer’s sufferers. Ironically, these are two groups of people who are considered incompetent to make most legal decisions for themselves. The proposed law was drafted in part by Senator Philippe Mahoux.

Our world is so spiritually sick that we try to parse and channel legalized murder. We have laws that point to one group of people and say in effect, “you may kill them with impunity” then, we have other laws that point to another group of people and say “if you kill them it is an atrocity.”

Well, which is it? Is it an atrocity to kill the innocent, or is it something we may do with impunity?

Maybe it’s time for us as a society to stop allowing the controlled killing of innocents. Maybe we should stop cozying up to killing and making it our pal by calling it a “right.” Maybe we should simplify things and just say that, with the single exception of self-defense, it’s wrong to kill people. Period.

That’s an unsophisticated way to handle things, I know. It’s also bound to make things hard for someone out there who claims that their desire to kill someone else is, in fact, a kindness and their “right.” But it might have the effect of re-erecting that fence around human life once again. You know the one, the fence of law, morality and custom that keeps us safe from one another.

Instead of going out and putting ourselves into tiny prisons and police state boxes in our zeal to be safe, perhaps we should just simplify our thinking and go back to the fuddy-duddy Christian notion that every individual has an inherent right to life because they are a unique and irreplaceable human being made in the image and likeness of God.

I know that’s not a very politically-correct way to approach this. But our recent history of parsing the freedom to kill hasn’t worked so well for us. Our society has become a monster factory. Maybe we should ask ourselves why.

The France 54 International News article describing this proposed law says in part:

AFP - Belgium is considering a significant change to its decade-old euthanasia law that would allow minors and Alzheimer’s sufferers to seek permission to die.

The proposed changes to the law were submitted to parliament Tuesday by the Socialist party and are likely to be approved by other parties, although no date has yet been put forward for a parliamentary debate.

“The idea is to update the law to take better account of dramatic situations and extremely harrowing cases we must find a response to,” party leader Thierry Giet said.

The draft legislation calls for “the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate.” (Read more here.)

Dems for Life Calls on Hillary to Open Up Democratic Party to Pro Life People
Saints Who Were Martyred While Celebrating Mass
Why Weren't the Laws Concerning Minors Followed in the Duggar Case?
Fr Longenecker's 12 Reasons Not to Debate Internet Atheists, Plus 6 of Mine
  • Michael Blissenbach

    This is an excellent post! I’m a 26-yr-old first year law student with a passion for public service, but I approach my politics from a perspective of Catholic social teaching, and I’m concerned if I join one of the two major parties then I’ll basically have to sell my soul and substitute the party’s platform for my own beliefs. I want to help make public policy more family-centric and bring about a culture of life in this country, but I don’t want to lose my soul in the process my compromising my Catholic beliefs. Do you have any advice on some things I can do?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Michael, to be effective in politics right now, you will probably have to join one of the two political parties. That may change as the number of independents grows, but right now that’s the way it is.
      Whether or not you sell you soul is up to you. People who sell out often appear to have it easier than people who stick with what they believe, but I think that’s mostly a superficial impression. Being an authentic person is its own reward, and it far outweighs the easy success that can come from living life as a hollowed out imitation of other people.
      My advice to anyone who wants to get into politics is to go to mass as often as you can, go to confession frequently (to the same confessor as much as you can) and to pray the rosary and read the Bible daily. It is important to stay grounded in real life away from politics by associating with friends and family who are not political and who are also not the least bit impressed with you. A strong spiritual adviser who will tell you the truth is invaluable if you can find one.
      When in doubt, trust the 2,000 year-old teachings of the Church. When not in doubt, still follow the 2,000-year-old teachings of the Church. That will save you a lot of remorse later.
      Good luck. My prayers are with you.

  • Robert King

    suffering that we cannot alleviate

    Do the Belgian courts (and the EU) interpret this as broadly as American courts interpret “health of the mother”? If so, this could be a blanket permission to kill oneself – or to manipulate others into euthanasia.

    With or without the foundation in Christian morality, I agree that a simple “killing is wrong with the single exception of self-defense” is the best basis for law.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Robert I don’t know for sure, but based on the broad circumstances under which they have allowed people to be euthanized up to now, I would guess that they are at least as broad in their interpretation of these things as American courts, maybe more so.

  • Bill S

    Alzheimer’s is a special case. No one should be able to deny Alzheimer’s patients the right to choose for themselves where, when and how to die. It seems that Catholics have a knack for inserting themselves into other people’s personal situations. Even when it is none of their business, they try to tell other people what they can and can’t do with their own lives whether they are of the same faith or not. And they fully expect the government to adopt and enforce their values. It doesn’t appear that Belgium is going to be influenced by religious efforts to interfere. Good for them.

    • Peter S.

      Your statement is inane. First you contend “Alzheimer’s is a special case” but present no argument in support that assertion. The rest of your post consists of a prejudiced diatribe against Catholics and “religious efforts to interfere.” Too bad if you missed the memo, but under our Constitution and our laws, people have the right to seek to have the law conform to their values and their beliefs about human existence and human nature, regardless of the ultimate philosophical or theological source of those beliefs and values. That is distinct from seeking to impose a matter of religious doctrine by law – a law requiring everyone, regardless of their faith, to, for example, make the sign of the cross whenever passing a Catholic Church would almost certainly violate both the establishment and freedom of religion clauses of the 1st Amendment. As to your specific comments, how is one person killing another person for any reason a purely “personal situation?” Why should this action be free from public scrutiny anymore than acts of physical abuse by one family member against another? It took a bunch of interfering busybodies to get laws banning child abuse or domestic abuse enacted – should they instead have just shut their mouths out of respect for the private domain of the family? Those who advocated for the abolition of slavery were driven by their religious convictions to oppose the numerous contemporaneous justifications for holding their fellow human beings in bondage. What right did these religious fanatics have to call for the abolishment of the well-established property rights of slaveholders to hold, sell, and work to death their human chattel? Talk about interference.

  • FW Ken

    Alzheimer’s is, indeed, a special case. My dad had it, his siblings but one had it, my grandmother had it, and several cousins had it. Not one could give informed consent, and to take a life without informed consent is murder. That is, indeed, the endgame of euthanasia: in the name of mercy, we kill the defenseless.

  • Manny

    They are taking advantage of the most vulnerable people. It is criminal!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Manny I know what you’re saying, but I just want to add (for emphasis) that the trouble here is that in fact it is not criminal — and it should be.

  • Bill S

    In this day and age, people can be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while still being quite capable of deciding for themselves that they want to control the circumstances of their death. All I am saying is that no one has the right to deny them that decision.

  • Art Chartier

    O’Malley – “Societies that allow parents to kill their children will eventually allow children to kill their parents.” Approximately.quote.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Great quote Art. I’d like to use it sometime. Do you know where I can find the source?

      • Art Chartier

        The quote came from homily by Cardinal O’Malley at Washington Basillica Thurs pre March for Life. I don’t have the exact words, but that;s the gist of it. I’d like to find the entire homily. It was terrific – preferably online with references. Well worth the read. I think it was quoted in some of the news coverage as well. Let me know if you fid the full text. Thanks.