Monday, 7 July 2014

Charles Moore on "assisted suicide"

We hear much in the media from the proponents of the essentially pagan notion of the 'right' to end one's own life - the notion of a dignified 'designer death' is very much in the air and, as we have noted before, is now being supported by some of those in our midst who tend to act as secularism's fifth column. 
Despite their own accusations, Cranmer baulks at calling such people 'immoral and unChristian.'   Maybe, yet their pronouncements are certainly both those things:  the current dangerous, naive and emotional elevation of personally-experienced 'hard cases' is inconsistent with both a classical Christian anthropology and any socially responsible definition of 'compassion.' 
What we need to hear from our archbishops, bishops and theologians (even, perhaps, from their chaplains) is a clear, powerful and unequivocal re-statement of the Christian tradition in this regard; not the practical atheism which so often passes for 'debate' in the contemporary Church: those who don't believe in him tend to forget the dictum that to sup with the devil, one needs a very long spoon indeed ...
Would that all our leaders had the courage and clear-sightedness of Mark Davies, the (Roman Catholic) Bishop of Shrewsbury [here]

 Our society's gradual discarding of its Judaeo-Christian heritage and the incremental dismantling of its ethical tradition has left a house 'empty, swept and garnished.' Now the culture envisaged in the dystopian novels of Huxley, Orwell and R.H. Benson is standing on our doorsteps asking to be let in ..... and once it gains admittance, we will never be able to evict it. 
This is Charles Moore on the subject of medically-assisted suicide and the conflation of the term 'dying with dignity' with the administering of a lethal injection:
"...If you are considered a burden by others, you sense it. Like Dr Ashton’s youngish men disheartened not to be the breadwinners, sick old people may well be overwhelmed by a sense of rejection, made worse by physical pain. The supporters of Lord Falconer’s Bill make much of the fact that those handed out the “only six months to live” sentence proposed by the Bill will take the fatal drugs it provides themselves, and by their own choice. But what in the culture will guide that choice? What is the effect on the patient’s free will when a profession whose entire previous raison d’être has been to assist life now stands ready to give you the tools of death?  
"Once it becomes legal that such a thing could happen, how long before it becomes expected? Most old people in hospital try to conform to what they think the system wants. If it wants them dead, and gives them the power to die, their grim path of duty lies clear. Some will have families who do not care enough whether they live; others will have no families at all. To all of these, Lord Falconer’s “choice” could become as proverbial as Hobson’s.
It does not have to be this way. Think of the revolution in attitudes to the disabled and mentally handicapped that has taken place in the past 40 years. Note that it is the disabled who form the most eloquent lobby against assisted suicide. In many of their cases, their very existence was considered either impossible or undesirable in the recent past (and could be again). They know that their own story is of overcoming what society once considered more “hygienic”, in favour of what, we now see, is more human.
The same applies to the old. Nothing – certainly nothing medical – can remove all the terrors of death. But a society like ours can certainly summon the cultural, moral and financial resources to care properly for the dying if it thinks it matters. I return to Dr Ashton’s phrase about needing a midwife at the end of life. He is right, but draws the wrong conclusion. The midwife is not someone who kills – that is what an abortionist does. A midwife is on the side of life. That is someone we all need, even – perhaps particularly – when we are dying".  
Read it all here 

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