Referendum on the End of Life Choice Act

Photo by Mihai Romanciuc, via Tearaway

This one is easier than the Cannabis Referendum.

Most major faith groups, including the Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, Jews and Southern Baptists, have published their opposition to medically assisted suicide, arguing that the timing of death is a choice only God can make [my emphasis], according to Pew Research Center. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that assisted suicide violates God’s commandments, but that “members should not feel obligated to extend mortal life by means that are unreasonable.”

Most religious leaders say that supporting terminally ill patients means accompanying them through their pain and fear, not allowing them to actively choose death. They also believe that even suffering holds valuable lessons for patients and survivors.

“Some members of religious communities would argue that there is something blessed about having a dying person as part of the group,” Bregman said. It’s meaningful not just to “be able to care for that person, but also to recognize, in that person’s condition, what all of us will face at the end of life.”

This is a 180-degree turn from what I would have believed a year ago.  But the thing is, once you become a Christian, you can’t just pick and choose the bits of the rules you want to follow.

And yes, it is deeply relevant that pain and suffering are formative parts of life itself.  Not just for the person facing a drawn-out death, but especially for those that surround them.

When we kill an animal that suffers, we call it humane.  We tend to reverse-anthropomorphise this onto humans and think we are doing someone a good turn by taking the pain away.  And on the surface that seems an unassailably moral stance.

What that viewpoint fails to take into account is that there is a much larger and more complicated context to the potential death and current suffering which includes family, friends, medical staff and other people.

In the end, the manner of our deaths is as much part of our lives as the life that led to it.  And it isn’t to be minimised, rushed, or made to end before its time.

We abhor murder.  We abhor suicide.  Assisted dying is nothing more than fooling yourself that it is neither of those.

I will vote No.*



*) The consequences for Christians that choose this way to end life is to throw away the next life that God has in place for people.  There really is no wiggle-room for this.  If you want to be part of the Kingdom, the absolute worst thing you can do is throw it all away at the very last hurdle.  I suspect God weeps over each and every one he loses to the enemy.