Driving home today listening to a National Radio Worldwatch item about discussions in Belgium about euthanasia for children. Who said we don’t need to worry about a slippery slope?
We can be thankful for the time being that Maryan Street’s euthanasia bill for New Zealand has been withdrawn, but we should also remember that it is “only for the time being”. When advocates think the time is right, the bill will be reintroduced and Kiwis need to be ready and informed.
Having dinner recently with a friend in Wellington who I regard as very clued up in matters of church and public issues, I was surprised to hear him talk about switching off life-support machines as euthanasia. It’s not!
And if people are not well-informed on the issue, there’s a real danger that when a bill to legalise euthanasia is re-introduced, misinformation will determine the outcome rather than facts and the public good.
One group that I have met has set up a website called euthanasiadebate.org.nz which gives some pretty simple facts and arguments against legalising euthanasia. In a one page flyer called “8 dangers of legal euthanasia” they talk about difficulties with so-called legal safeguards, elder abuse, and other reasons why legalising euthanasia is not a good idea. The back page of the flyer provides answers to common FAQs.
A student doctor I know changed his view on this issue after reading the information and meeting with Professor David Richmond, chair of HOPE Foundation, who supports this initiative and is a specialist in this field.
I recommend having a look at the flyer, and if you think it’s useful forward this post to others. If it’s easier, you can even use the Facebook / Twitter buttons below to share it with your friends.
The debates around legalising euthanasia are interesting. But it’s a bit like the arguments regarding re-arranging the definition of marriage. These things are in themselves symptoms of a greater issue. They have reared their heads because of the fact that we in NZ, and the world over, are discarding the Gospel.
It’s not until we look at a society that has never had the Gospel that we start to realise what the Gospel actually does for society. We take it so for granted that our laws in NZ are based around the Ten Commandments for example.
I am so grateful for the Gospel 2014 initiative next year. When we see the wonderfully positive change that took place in Maori, (and in the indigenous people throughout the South Pacific when they too heard the Gospel) its significance in the life of the human family becomes glaringly obvious.
I hope it’s not saying too much to say that looking at the social norms of those pre-Gospel times in the South Pacific, we might begin to comprehend where we are heading as we continue to ignore the Gospel message with its instruction on how to live.