There is a cluster of highly dangerous changes for our society currently being pushed through Parliament: euthanasia, unlimited abortion, and the legalisation of recreational marijuana.
These initiatives will affect us all, and all generations to come. These matters are life and death issues. They transcend mere party politics. It is time the New Zealand public (including the Christian public) arouse themselves from their sleepiness and apathy.
The recent majority (69/51) vote by MPs to legalise euthanasia in New Zealand, subject to a referendum at the next election, is very disappointing. It appears that many MPs (along with much of the media and the general public) simply do not understand the extremely serious implications of legalising euthanasia in this country. For doctors and nurse practitioners to be authorised to actively end patients’ lives, even on request, is to cross a critical threshold. Euthanasia is an entirely different thing than ceasing treatment or turning off an artificial life-support machine when there is zero chance of survival. MPs have no moral right to legislate to allow anyone to kill.
The task of doctors has always been to help heal their patients, not to dispatch them. The inevitable outcomes of allowing “assisted dying” include a lessened societal respect for life, growing pressures to opt for death, and the undermining of doctor-patient trust, of palliative care, and of hospices. All this was very ably pointed out, in the outstanding speeches of some MPs.
The euthanasia debate is not over yet. In 11 months (or less) there will be a Referendum. Given widespread public misunderstanding, excellent anti-euthanasia information will be needed to be vigorously disseminated.
The very liberal abortion bill presently before Parliament is even more unethical. In the so-called Abortion Law Reform Bill none of those unborn babies whose killing is to be freely allowed are recognised as human, none are recognised as having any human rights, and none will be given any choice at all. How liberal and compassionate is that? Again, over 90% of public submissions are opposed to the Bill. But many MPs do not appear to be listening, and the select committee process is shamefully selective.
On a happier note, six of us Kiwis have just come back from the General Assembly of the World Evangelical Alliance, in Indonesia. New Zealand Christian Network is one of national evangelical alliances in 130 countries all over the world, and 92 of those were represented at the Assembly. It was an inspiring time, and great to become better connected to that global community. We met delegates from some very hard places. We all came back determined to see NZCN flourish and grow, and to work for an increasingly effective and united Gospel witness in Aotearoa New Zealand.