Many Christians are going online to proclaim Death with Dignity activist Brittany Maynard is spending an eternity in Hell for acting on her brave and courageous decision to end her life.
Maynard passed away peacefully, as she intended, on Saturday, at the age of 29.
Many Christians are threatened by Maynard’s personal choice. Many are threatened by the Death with Dignity movement. Many, lost in ignorance and religious superstition, believe that taking one’s life for any reason is an automatic ticket to Hell.
Some of the more intelligent and tactful Christians only imply that Maynard is in Hell. For example, Joni Eareckson Tada, a disability advocate and the founder of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, whose Christian Institute on Disability “aggressively promotes life, human dignity and the value of all individuals from a biblical perspective,” notes that Maynard faces “a grim, joyless existence not only without life, but without God.”
Others are far less subtle:
I feel sorry for Brittany Maynard because her pain isn’t over… She’s going to suffer in hell forever and it’s horrible. — Mike Baynes (@BeltBukleBaynes) November 3, 2014
To be sure, not all Christians believe Maynard is spending an eternity in Hell. And many blogging Christians and Christian websites are taking care to prevent or remove insensitive and cruel remarks concerning Maynard’s fate in a supposed afterlife.
Earlier this year, Maynard became the face of the controversial right-to-death movement, captivating millions via social media with her public decision to end her life.
Maynard, who was was diagnosed last spring with stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer and given six months to live, had moved to Oregon with her family to take advantage of the state’s Death With Dignity Act.
The following is a final message from Maynard, via People Magazine:
“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” she wrote on Facebook. “The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!”
In the end, of course, there is no Heaven, and there is no Hell. Death is final, and that is tragedy enough. There is no afterlife. All we can do now is mourn the loss, and celebrate the life.