This thread was started by a zotted troll.
Three and a half years ago, Terry Pratchett, the beloved author of the Discworld series, announced that he has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Now he's made an even more startling announcement.
Pratchett, who has campaigned in his native United Kingdom for the right of assisted suicide, has begun the formal process of assisted suicide in Switzerland, one of the few countries in the world to legalize euthanasia. Specifically, this would take place at Dignitas, a clinic that provides qualified doctors and nurses to assist with the patients' suicides.
Dignitas has sent Pratchett the paperwork he needs to sign to begin the assisted suicide processbut he has yet to sign it.
(Excerpt) Read more at blastr.com ...
Threads by me.
"Freedom" is a highly cherished value in our society, not only in all aspects of life, but increasingly in aspects of death as well. The chant, "My life is mine" has also become, "My death is mine." There is a move in our country and in the world to permit the terminally ill to end their lives through euthanasia. Some claim that it is the ultimate civil liberty to decide the time and manner of one's own death. (A moment's thought about that idea, however, reveals its absurdity.)
For a Christian, however, is "my life" really "mine"? Is my death really mine? The answer has to be yes and no. It is mine in the sense that it has been given to me and nobody else; it is not mine alone, however, because I am not the source of my own existence, and I am accountable for it to another, namely, God. "You are not your own," St. Paul declares (1 Cor. 6:19). "If we live, we are responsible to the Lord, and when we die we are responsible to the Lord. Both in life and in death we belong to the Lord." ( See Romans 14:18). Not one of us decided the time or manner in which we came into this world. Our life is a sacred gift from God, and only He can give it. It is therefore His right alone to take us out of this world.
We do not possess a "right to die." A right is a moral claim. We do not have a claim on death; rather, death has a claim on us! Some see the "right to die" as parallel to the "right to life." In fact, however, they are opposite. The "right to life" is based on the fact that life is a gift which we do not possess as a piece of property ( which we can purchase or sell or give away or destroy at will ), but rather is an inviolable right. It cannot be taken away by another or by the person him/herself. The "right to die" is based, rather, on the idea of life as a "thing we possess" and may discard when it no longer meets our satisfaction. "Right to die" thinking says there is such a thing as a "life not worth living." For a Christian, however, life is worthy in and of itself, and not because it meets certain criteria that we or others set.
Must we, then, in the case of terminal illness, do everything and anything possible to stay alive, despite the condition we may be in? The answer to this is a clear NO. There is no law of any state or religion which says that we must stay alive at any cost. Death is an inevitable part of life, and when it is clear that God is calling us from this life, we accept His summons with faith. We firmly believe as Christians that life on this earth is not our final destiny or our highest good. "Our citizenship is in heaven." ( Phil. 3:20) "We have here no lasting city, but are seeking that which is to come" (Heb.13:14 ). All of our activities on earth, in fact, are meant to bring us closer to our true goal, union with God. In some circumstances, prolonging life would not serve that purpose, and may, because of severe burdens, hinder a person from drawing closer to God.
So the question is, "Where do we draw the line?" In serious illness, what means of treatment are we obliged to use, and what are we not required to use?
The means we use have traditionally been classified as either "ordinary" or "extraordinary." "Ordinary" means must always be used. This is any treatment or procedure which provides some benefit to the patient without excessive burden or hardship. "Extraordinary" means are optional. These are measures which do present an excessive burden, or simply do no good for the patient.
The distinction here is NOT between "artificial" and "natural." Many artificial treatments will be "ordinary" means in the moral sense, as long as they provide some benefit without excessive burden. It depends, of course, on the specific case in point, with all its medical details. We cannot figure out ahead of time, in other words, whether or not we ourselves or a relative want some specific treatment to be used on us "when the time comes," because we do not know in advance what our medical situation will be at the time. When the time does come, however, we must consult on the medical and moral aspects of the situation. Remember, procedures providing benefit without unreasonable hardship are obligatory; others are not. You should consult your clergyman when the situations arise.
What is never permitted, however, is any act or omission which causes, or is intended to cause, death, in order to remove a person from suffering. This is "euthanasia," sometimes called "mercy killing." We cannot take the life of another person, or our own, no matter what the good consequences may be. Most people who think euthanasia is a good idea are motivated by the fear of pain and the loss of control they will experience in terminal illness. Yet pain control in modern medicine has made very great progress; there are very few situations in which pain cannot be managed medically. Regarding control over our life, we need to adopt the approach that if we cannot cure, we care. Caring comes through the presence of loving, concerned people with whom the sick can share their thoughts and feelings and from whom they can receive respect and care for their emotional and spiritual needs even in the worst physical conditions. To give "dignity" to the dying is to always respect them as human persons with an eternal destiny, not to push for the option to kill them. A Christian, moreover, knows that suffering is not meaningless. It was by his suffering and cross that Christ redeemed the world. A Christian joins his/her suffering to Christ's, and has a part to play in saving the world as well.
One of the leading advocates of euthanasia, Derek Humphrey, writes, "The 1990's is the decade when the issue of voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill will be decided." (Dying With Dignity, p. 19) Christians must become more informed on this issue, and speak and act so that the issue is not only decided, but decided rightly. May God give us the wisdom and strength we will need.
Assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal in the states of Oregon and Washington, as well as in a handful of nations worldwide. Both here and abroad, pressure is mounting to legalize both evils beyond those sad places where they have already been accepted.
Behind a facade of objectivity, these evils are subtly promoted by many in the media in order to deform public opinion in their favor. We know their methods very well: through a selective presentation of news stories, movies and on television, they hope to slowly deform people's emotions, moving them to see that killing the unwanted is the compassionate thing to do.
This first method, to establish a misguided sense of compassion, is complemented by a second - to create fear that we will one day find ourselves in the same condition. We also see the verbal engineers at work, confusing hydration and feeding of the most severely disabled with an overuse of aggressive medical interventions. As we know, hydration and feeding do not cure any disease, they simply keep a person alive.
Living in Europe where the process of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia is regrettably far more advanced than in America, I can't say enough how crucial it is that we strengthen our opposition to these evils. At a recent conference, I was honored to share the podium with several speakers who are working diligently to stop the slide down the slippery slope toward the wholesale destruction of all unwanted persons. The chairman of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Alex Schandenberg, who sponsored the Vancouver event last week, is to be congratulated for raising the profile of this very important issue.
The starting point for these evils is the liberal and materialistic view that man is the owner of his life; that he is free to choose the moment and manner of his death. Those who hold this view define suicide as "the last liberty of life."
Liberty of life? Yet these lies are becoming more mainstream all the time.
Sadly, as we have seen in the case of Terri Schiavo and too many others, most euthanasia is already essentially legal. The overt legalization of assisted suicide, however, will constitute a strong step towards the full legalization of euthanasia, and a serious blow to the already precarious legal protection of the sick, the disabled and the dying. If we adopt a law holding that a person has the right to kill himself, soon we will also adopt euthanasia; because if the individual has the right to say when his life is no longer worth living, soon society will claim this right as well.
This is the threat represented by a people whose ethics are utilitarian, and whose politics are socialist, particularly with regard to socialized medicine. The idea will soon take hold, thanks to those whom we have empowered to tell our story in the media, that it is too expensive to allow some persons to live, and since the government provides the care, the government will have to decide when their lives will end.
The next group that will be threatened, as we have seen historically, are those whose mental faculties are greatly diminished, or who are not considered useful to society. When the economic considerations are at the forefront of government run-medical care, we will see people opening up to programs that are not very different from the ones used by the Nazis.
We again see this form of murder defended in the supposedly "civilized", post-Nazi Europe. In the United Kingdom, popular writer Mary Warnock espouses the view that a person that suffers from dementia has, not the right, but the duty to die. She underlines that a person in this condition is wasting away the life of his relatives, as well as the resources of the National Health System.
The legalization of euthanasia is obviously the consequence of the decriminalization of abortion. Once society starts killing the ones that nobody sees, they begin to kill those they do see, the "unuseful" or "unfit." If we are not careful and strong in our actions against this attack, any persons at the end of their lives or who suffer an incurable illness will end up in a situation in which they will feel constrained to express their desire to die as their last duty of good manners towards the living.
What does tomorrow hold? Perhaps the killing of the politically incorrect - those who remind their fellow men that there is a God and everyone and everything depends on Him? Or will we be able to, by the grace of God, turn this around? Not that such an offering is on the table, and nobody wants to be a martyr, but if that is God's will for us, let us die reminding our countrymen of their duties towards God and men.
A total ban on assisted suicide and of any form of euthanasia is not only required morally, but is an act of social justice to protect the weak and vulnerable.