Advance Composition and Communications
8 January 2009
Christians Should Oppose Euthanasia
Those who advocate euthanasia have capitalized on people's confusion, ambivalence, and even fear about the use of modern life-prolonging technologies. Further, borrowing language from the abortion debate, they insist that the "right to choose" must prevail over all other considerations. Being able to choose the time and manner of one's death, without regard to what is chosen, is presented as the ultimate freedom. A decision to take one's life or to allow a physician to kill a suffering patient, however, is very different from a decision to refuse extraordinary or disproportionately burdensome treatment.
As Christians, we believe that life is the most basic gift of a loving God--a gift over which we have stewardship but not absolute dominion. Our tradition, declaring a moral obligation to care for our own life and health and to seek such care from others, recognizes that we are not morally obligated to use all available medical procedures in every set of circumstances. But that tradition clearly and strongly affirms that as a responsible steward of life one must never directly intend to cause one's own death, or the death of an innocent victim, by action or omission. Euthanasia and willful suicide are offenses against life itself which poison civilization.
Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an elder person, one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Moreover, we have no right to ask for this act of killing for ourselves or for those entrusted to our care; nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action. We are dealing here with a violation of the divine law, an offense against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity.
Legalizing euthanasia would also...