Also known as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Tag: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

A Christian response to “No Euthanasia Day”

A Christian response to “No Euthanasia Day”

I must admit I am baffled!

I am baffled that the Catholic Leader News, quoting the Salvation Army, (25.9.2020)  is using ‘love your neighbour’ as a reason for opposing Voluntary Assisted Dying!    Prolonging suffering is not an act of love!

I am baffled that the Vatican in their Samaritanus Bonus used the Parable of the Good Samaritan against VAD, and that they are still calling ‘euthanasia’ (VAD) evil and a grave sin.

I am baffled by a Catholic Church that in this century still insists that the use of contraception is intrinsically evil, that it is always immoral regardless of the intentions of the agents, the circumstances of the situation or the consequences of the action,” (Pope Paul VI)

Thankfully, and rationally, 3 out of 4 Catholics have demonstrated they are thinking and compassionate, and that they ignore the religious dogma against voluntary assisted dying just as an even bigger majority ignore the dogma against contraception.

As I stated in my Briefing recently to the Tasmanian Legislative Council, We are Christians who believe that, as a demonstration of love and compassion, those with a terminal or hopeless illness should have the option of a pain-free, peaceful and dignified death with legal voluntary assisted dying.

Our vision essentially is – “Do unto others”, and “Love thy neighbour”, which leads to ‘How is love best served?’

Conservative Christians in the past opposed the abolition of slavery, opposed pain relief in childbirth for women, and opposed women becoming doctors and lawyers – we find a woman who passed her law exams in USA was told by a judge she could not practice as the “Law of the Creator” was she should be a wife and mother.  Conservative Christians opposed voting and property rights for women. In every case this Christian opposition to social change has been proved wrong!

Conservative Christians opposed marriage equality and discussion on sexual orientation.  We believe those Christians were wrong!

We should not forget that the church hierarchy indulged in a massive coverup of paedophile clergy, in many cases leading to the tragic suicide of the innocent victims Clearly those Christians were very wrong!

So how is love best served for a person who is about to die, but has suffering they find unbearable?

The ACL (Australian Christian Lobby) and many church hierarchy say hold that person’s hand, say that we are with you, but let the suffering continue. Where is their Christian empathy, we might well ask? The Vatican go a step further, saying that if the dying person has requested VAD, the chaplain or priest should ask that person, when they are at their most vulnerable, to admit their grave sin and attempt a death bed conversion back to accepting the church abhorrence of VAD. If this fails they should leave the dying person so as not to appear complicit in the VAD.

The Vatican statement and that of the Catholic Leader Newspaper is devoid of empathy for the dying person. They refuse to help the truly vulnerable dying patient to be put in control of their suffering – to say they have endured enough.  Of course, suffering can be much more than pain – drowning in your own saliva from MND, fungating tumours, are just two examples. Three Australian Inquiries have all reached the same conclusion – a VAD law is needed.

 It is significant that Quebec, formerly the most Catholic province in Canada, preceded all of Canada with their Medical Aid in Dying. A 2012 Parliament Report found  “After studying the changes in social values, medicine and the law, and in light of our comprehensive review of the issues and the arguments raised by hundreds of witnesses and thousands of comments, we have come to the conclusion that an additional option is needed in the continuum of end-of-life care: euthanasia, in the form of medical aid in dying. “

This led to the passing of the Quebec “Act respecting end-of life care” Bill 52, by 94 votes to 22 on June 5, 2014, to a standing ovation.

A huge majority of Christians would endorse this conclusion of the Quebec Inquiry.

We need to be aware of the fact that access to VAD is palliative in its own right. Paradoxically, many who are accepted for an assisted death live longer than those who do not request assistance. It removes the toxic fear about how they might die. The Vatican and Catholic Leader would deny the dying that peace of mind. And not only that, by denying the Sacraments to the dying person who even holds a membership to a pro-VAD organisation, it seeks to blackmail into repenting, Continue reading

Ian Wood responds to Archbishop Julian Porteous of Tasmania, and his interview – a Christian Alternative to Euthanasia

The Art of Dying – A Christian Alternative to Euthanasia. Archbishop Julian Porteus. His interview on Cradio, Tasmania. https://cradio.org.au/shows-and-audio/exclusive-to-cradio/q-a/art-dying-christian-alternative-euthanasia/#comment-152750

A Christian response to the Archbishop from Ian Wood.

I urge the Archbishop and his listeners on Cradio  to take the time to view two contrasting deaths, from the many I have on file.

The assisted death of John Shields in Canada. “At his own wake” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/25/world/canada/euthanasia-bill-john-shields-death.html

A fascinating depiction of how John, raised in a Catholic family, was ordained as a priest, but left the Church after being barred from preaching when he challenged the church opposition to birth control. Read about John’s life as a social worker, his diagnosis with terminal neuropathy and then his advocacy for Medical Assistance in Dying, and using that choice at the end.

John Shields says goodbye to friends and family at his own ‘Irish wake’

Please compare John’s death with that of Flora Lormier from Multiple Sclerosis.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/help-die-family-release-heartbreaking-9614060#ICID=sharebar_facebook

Flora became paralysed from the neck down as her MS progressed.  Her daughter Tracey Taylor posted these photos on a Facebook page and in media such as the Mirror, UK, in the hope it would alert MPs to the futile horrific suffering endured by some people as they die.

Warning: disturbing images….. Continue reading

Archbishop Desmond Tutu gives his blessing to the Voluntary Assisted Dying campaign in Australia.

One of the world’s most highly regarded religious leaders, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa has stated in a video message: “People who are terminally ill should have the option of dignified and compassionate assisted dying alongside the wonderful palliative care that already exists”.  “I pray that lawmakers, politicians and religious leaders have the courage to support choices terminally ill citizens make in departing Mother Earth with dignity and love.”

 

Ian Wood, spokesperson for the Australian group, Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia, said “I am delighted to learn that Archbishop Tutu is willing to give his blessing and support to our Christian campaign for legislation to allow the option of compassionate choice for a person who is terminally or incurably ill with intolerable suffering.”

 

“The Archbishop recognises the enormous value of palliative care, Continue reading

Ian Wood response to Catholic Bishop Ingham. “Euthanasia: Bishop says there’s no need.”

In recent weeks nearby papers the Wollondilly Advertiser, the Camden Advertiser and the Macquarie Advertiser in NSW have run a series of articles on Voluntary Assisted Dying Choice. Most of them have been in support. The one exception, as we might expect, is from the Catholic Bishop Ingham of Wollongong. His opinion piece may be found here. http://www.wollondillyadvertiser.com.au/story/4842391/euthanasia-bishop-says-theres-no-need/

This is my response.

So Bishop Ingham believes advances in palliative care and pain management should negate the argument for the option for a dying patient, facing futile unnecessary suffering, to have a choice to end that suffering.

He does not say so, but we can assume he is adhering to the Catholic doctrine that suffering can be redemptive.

Nurse Barnes disputes the Bishop’s claim!

My name is Jen Barnes and I am a nurse of 40 years. I’ve seen a lot of deaths and some of them have been far from ideal. Now I have a terminal illness. It’s an aggressive form of brain cancer and I know that it can lead to a very undignified death.

I don’t want to die. No-one wants to die.

Palliative care is very good but I know that it doesn’t work for everybody. If it comes to it, I will want another option. [Voluntary Assisted Dying]

It’s very important to me to have control of my destiny.

(Abridged) Source: http://www.stopvictorianssuffering.org.au/petition_jen_barnes

Equally important, the Bishop’s claim about palliative care is not supported by Palliative Care’s own data; Inpatients during the terminal phase of their terminal illness: 4.2% report severe distress from breathing problems, 4.6% severe distress from fatigue, and 2.6% report severe distress from pain.

Experience in Oregon, USA, with assisted dying choice for 20 years, shows repeatedly that paradoxically many patients live longer when given the ‘green light’ for assistance. It is palliative in its own right. It is voluntary – the patient has to rationally and repeatedly ask for this assistance.

The issue is all about choice. Not a choice between life and death, but a choice between two ways of dying. Bishop Ingham is entitled to not request assistance for himself, but should not be entitled to use his position to deny other Australians their right to choose.

Governor Jerry Brown of California sums up the option very succinctly. Gov. Brown is a committed Catholic, who had formerly trained as a Jesuit, and as Governor he actually had the right to veto a California Bill allowing voluntary assisted dying.

Instead, in a very rational and compassionate letter, he concluded –

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death.  I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

Readers may note that Gov. Brown received support for signing this Bill from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, one of the world’s most esteemed religious leaders.

Ian Wood   11.8.2017

A plea to clergy of any faith who support Voluntary Assisted Dying Choice – Please endorse our Statement of Support now

Statement of Christian clergy support for Anne Gabrielides and the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.

Rev. Dr Craig de Vos, B.V.Sc., Dip.P.S., B.Th.(Hons.), Ph.D, highly respected as a theologian in social aspects of the New Testament, is a practising Minister who holds a passion for social justice issues.

Rev. Dr De Vos says, “Our politicians, often guided by dogmatic religious beliefs, continue to deny the majority who want the choice of a death with dignity.”

“Some oppose voluntary euthanasia and voluntary assisted dying choice arguing that it’s wrong because it’s playing God.  Yet so is artificially prolonging life, and so is allowing people to suffer an horrific death when there are more compassionate alternatives.”

Rev. Dr de Vos endorsed the statement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who has said. “I believe in the sanctity of life. I know that we will all die and that death is a part of life. Terminally ill people have control over their lives, so why should they be refused control over their deaths? Why are so many instead forced to endure terrible pain and suffering against their wishes?”

Rev. Dr de Vos is Patron and member of the Executive of our group, Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia.

He concluded, “I have the utmost sympathy for Anne Gabrielides, who is facing an horrific death from rapidly progressing Motor Neurone Disease, and support her plea to NSW members of parliament to give people in her situation choice and control at the end stages of their illness. I hope these MPs will demonstrate true compassion and empathy for Anne when considering the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.”

Signed

Rev. Dr Craig de Vos, B.V.Sc., Dip.P.S., B.Th.(Hons.), Ph.D,

PLEASE  message Ian Wood using the “contact” on our website if you are clergy of any faith who would be prepared to endorse this Statement

Endorsed by

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Etc…….

 

Authorised by Ian Wood

National co-ordinator and spokesperson for Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Villa 1, Hampton Mews, 4 Wills Place, Mittagong NSW  2575  AUSTRALIA

Website: www.Christiansforve.org.au

TO VIEW ANNIE’S VIDEO AND PLEA TO THE NSW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT.

Anne (Annie) has rapidly progressing Motor Neurone Disease and her interview together with her family is truly heartrending.  Here> https://www.change.org/p/don-t-leave-me-trapped-in-a-dying-body-allow-me-to-die-peacefully

A thoughtful sermon from New Zealand in support of assisted dying.

Glynn Cardy, Minister at the Community of St Luke

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand :: Remuera – Newmarket

Physician Assisted Dying

Colossians 3:12-15 Luke 5:25-34
Sun 28 June 2015

The debate about physician assisted dying has been given added impetus with the recent trial in the High Court regarding Lecretia Seales.  Those who are seeking a change in the law wish that no prosecution would follow if a terminally ill person had reached a clear, voluntary, settled, and informed decision to end their life and the assisting physician was motivated wholly by compassion.

There are a number of Christian denominations[i] that support passive euthanasia, namely the withdrawal or withholding of medical treatment for the terminally ill when warranted.  Passive euthanasia is legal in New Zealand.  Active and passive euthanasia though in a hospital setting are sometimes not as easily separated in practice as it is in theory.

While Christian leadership is generally opposed to physician assisted dying there are some important exceptions.  These include the renowned Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung, the former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu,[ii] and the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.  A UK poll (2015) showed 62% of religious adherents supported physician assisted dying.

Continue reading

Ian Wood – his followup letter to Kevin Andrews MP re the John Baylis Diary and Marshall Perron’s letter to Kevin Andrews MP

Hon Kevin Andrews MP                                               Posted 19.11.2015, on C4VE letterhead
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT
2600

Dear Mr Andrews

Marshall Perron, former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, wrote to you recently about the diary of the tragic last weeks of John Baylis, who died from Motor Neurone Disease.

As Mr Perron so clearly and succinctly pointed out, the fact that John Baylis could not access the assisted death he so rationally requested, was due to your action in instigating the overturning of the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.

What Mr Perron did not say, is that you do still have the opportunity to go some way in atoning for what a substantial majority of Christians believe was your regrettable lack of compassion for the terminally ill, as they die with suffering that even the best palliative care cannot relieve.

Eighteen years have now passed since Oregon State, USA enacted their Death With Dignity Act in 1997. Since then three other states enacted similar legislation – Washington State. Vermont and California. Montana and New Mexico also have the right by a court decision In Europe, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg have had choice since 2002, in addition to Switzerland.

There is now a mass of data available, based on the experience in these countries.
Essentially, we can now state Continue reading

The diary of John Baylis, and Marshall Perron’s letter to Kevin Andrews MP

83 year old Darwin man John Baylis died from the ravages of Motor Neuron Disease on 5th March 2015.  He wrote Imagine if you can, a good mind, with good recall and an active imagination, trapped in a body that can’t walk, can’t talk, both arms and hands affected, lips, and throat not under control. Difficulty eating and drinking. It is an awful place to be, believe me. The reason I have “ come out of the Closet “ is to promote and push for the right to die with dignity.

John Baylis’ Diary

83 year old Darwin man John Baylis died from the ravages of Motor Neuron Disease on 5th March 2015. This is an exact extract of his Facebook diary.
Dec 15, 2014 – Aged Care Assessment Teams ( ACAT ) I have finally been diagnosed by my GP , as having ‘ the monster inside me ‘ being diagnosed as Motor Neurone Disease . We applied for me to be assessed by ACAT , and they required a doctors report . My GP stated that I had MND . Fifteen years ago now , Dr Burrows of RDH made multiple diagnosis of my emerging symptoms . They were MND , small vessel disease , Myclophaphy and possibly Slow Person Syndrome , SPS. I visited a prominent Brisbane MND specialist three times , Continue reading

Response to NSW Premier Mike Baird to ABC Q&A

Mike Baird
Premier of NSW
SYDNEY

Dear Mr Baird

Thank you for publicly admitting on ABC Q&A, 6.9.2015, that you had very strong views on [against] legalising CHOICE in assisted dying, but after talking with a man in a terrible position, his pleas will ‘haunt’ you.

John Grayson, the 34 year old with terminal brain cancer, vividly described his prognosis – “I am going to end up with right hand side paralysis, blindness, being mute. I will end up in severe, chronic pain. I will have cognitive impaired ability and I will eventually die. What I want to know is why I’m forced to go through that torture.” (Ref 1)

GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Look, we have a fundamental right not to be subjected to torture and if that torture is cancer, if it’s a terminal illness, we are entitled to take ourselves out of it. It is an awesome decision to make, but [it’s] we are entitled to make it without the intervention of the state, without having those who assist us, often our loved family with whom we have a final meal or whatever, arrested and charged with assisting suicide. Surely that’s right.

MIKE BAIRD: “my concern would be, you know, making a judgment on life”. Fact: You are not making a judgment on life. When an illness is terminal, the patient would be making a judgement on choosing to endure the torture, or die a quick, pain-free death It is not a choice between life and death, but a choice between two different ways of dying. Continue reading