Also known as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Tag: clergy supporting compassionate assisted dying choice

“There is nothing holy about agony” – UK religious people and leaders support assisted dying too!

There is nothing holy about agony: religious people and leaders support assisted dying too

My thanks to the BMJ for publishing the following article.  Ian Wood, Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying Group, Australia.

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2094 (Published 09 September 2021)                                                              Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2094

Jonathan Romain, rabbi and vice chair,  

George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury

A new alliance of faith leaders has formed to ensure the voice of religious proponents of legalised assisted dying is heard. The former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and rabbi Jonathan Romain argue that nothing in the scripture directly prohibits assisting a death to end suffering.

We are leaders of a new religious alliance in support of doctor assisted dying (along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Reverend Canon Rosie Harper). We have launched this initiative because we are concerned about the impression being conveyed that all faith groups are implacably opposed to changes in the law to help people longing to die on their own terms, without discomfort, indignity, or extreme pain. This is not the case. A massive change is going on in religious attitudes to assisted dying (by which a person is given a prescription for life ending drugs, which they themselves then order and take). Not least the fact that most church goers are in favour of assisted dying; a 2019 poll, for example, found that 84% of the British public, 82% of Christians, and about 80% of religious people overall supported assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.1

Far from being modern, the problem of having to endure a painful end to your life has long been recognised in religious circles. The Book of Ecclesiasticus, for example, which is accepted in the Roman Catholic canon and is non-canonical but esteemed for Jewish and Protestant people, even expresses the view that “Death is better than a miserable life, and eternal rest than chronic sickness” (30:17).

More than physical suffering

A key motivation for people who want to die is the desire to avoid pain. It is not just physical suffering that appals them, but a range of other situations: the humiliation (in their eyes) of failing powers; the limitation of their ability to enjoy life; their dependency on other people; the lack of control over their bodily functions; the sense that they have nothing to look forward to, except ever worsening decline; and the unwelcome image of being sedated into a state of narcotic stupor in their final days, or with their bodies sprouting a forest of tubes.

Of course, many people regard such a death as a regrettable part of the natural cycle of life, to be mitigated through medical care if possible and to be endured if not. That is entirely their prerogative and must be respected. But should people who want to avoid pain and indignity in death have the right to do so? And should other people have the right to prevent them making that choice about their own life?

Who chooses when?

A biblical passage that—deliberately or accidentally—may be relevant to the challenge today is the famous line in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament: “There is a time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3.2). Notably, it does not say who chooses that time. In previous eras, theologians and leaders assumed that both were pre-ordained by God and that any human interference was sinful, but now it can be read differently. The time to die could just as well be our decision.

Some mainstream faith leaders might claim that this is contradicted by the verse from Job: “God gives and God takes” (1:21), and we cannot usurp that prerogative. Yet the God barrier has long been pushed aside both at the beginning and end of life, with humans acting in lieu of God, whether by doctors’ efforts to create life using test tubes or to postpone death through heart transplants.

If the religious ideal is to imitate God’s ways, then it is our duty to use our God given abilities as much as possible. We could argue, therefore, that assisted dying is part of the constant act of playing God in the sense that God wants us to help people in distress: to heal where possible, to comfort when needed, and to help Continue reading

“As a Christian theologian, I can state unequivocally that Maine’s Death with Dignity law is a blessing.” — Reverend Marvin Ellison, PhD

Celebrating the Maine Death with Dignity Act that went into effect 19.9.2019

“It’s a blessing”

The Reverend Marvin Ellison, PhD, a Presbyterian minister and former Willard S. Bass professor of Christian ethics at the Bangor Theological Seminary in Portland, Maine, said his Christian beliefs inform his support for Maine’s law.

“As a Christian theologian, I can state unequivocally that Maine’s Death with Dignity law is a blessing.”

— Reverend Marvin Ellison, PhD

Photo supplied by Rev Ellison.

“It’s a blessing to those at the end of life who are ready to die, but for a variety of reasons are not able to die,” Marvin shared with us. “It’s a blessing to their family and friends, who pray that their loved one will not be forced, against their will, to experience a meaningless and protracted death but rather will have the means, when and if they so wish, to exit more gracefully.“

“It takes spiritual maturity to discern when death is no longer the enemy to resist, but rather has become the friend to welcome,” he added. “I thank God for the gift of Continue reading

Rev Craig Kilgour, New Zealand. Sermon – My nephew had an assisted death in Canada: it was compassionate, it was humane, it was right and good.

I am re-posting this sermon in support of the End of Life Choice Bill which would enable terminally ill New Zealanders to have the choice of assisted deaths under specified circumstances.  To become law, this Bill requires a YES vote in a Public Referendum question to be included at the  General Election to be held September 2020.

I restate – the last two paragraphs of the sermon sum up the compassionate Christian approach to Assisted Ding Choice.   Ian Wood

From our friends across the Tasman I have this Sermon in strong support of Assisted Dying from Rev Craig Kilgour, when Interim Moderator at St Columba’s Presbyterian Church, Havelock North, New Zealand..

It is quite unique in that a nephew of Craig had an assisted death in Canada.  The last two paragraphs of the sermon sum up the compassionate Christian approach to Assisted Dying Choice:Let me finish this with what my family members said and repeated often using these words about my nephew’s death: It was compassionate, it was humane, it was right and good. And the family are very proud and humbled with the courage he showed in his battle with cancer. And to me no one has the right to be critical and judgemental of the choice he made.

So for me and my family this is not a philosophical debate, it is not a theological debate, it is not a theoretical debate, it is a reality and it was right and my nephew was fortunate he lived in Canada.”

The sermon is posted here with the kind permission of Rev Craig. In response to my question on what was the reaction of his congregation to the sermon Craig replied: the reaction from the congregation was very positive with many copies requested. Copies went wider into the community. I’ve been asked to speak to a retired group of Doctors at Hastings hospital. 

Ian Wood

 

 

Rev Craig Kilgour

Sunday 14 October 2018

Assisted dying

The topic I’ve chosen for the sermon might seem strange for a morning when we celebrate the birth and baptism of Angus, but then I thought when life ends, we celebrate the life lived whatever the length.

I mentioned my dilemma to Granddad David and he said it evens things out!

I want to share with you this morning about what our family has experienced just recently.

I’m going to talk to you about assisted dying, euthanasia, a topic which is difficult to deal with, and it provokes very strong feelings.

The End of life choice Bill is currently with Parliament’s Justice Select Committee. There have been 35 000 submissions – think about terminal illness, a few months to live, sound mind, to allow physician-assisted death.

I with some of the congregation, attended a discussion on the Bill, that our MP Lawrence Yule had called with a panel of experts at our Community Centre a while ago.

The issue has been debated by the General Assembly of our church and they were unanimously opposed against supporting the Bill before Parliament.

After I took the service on 30 September, I went across to Takaka for the memorial service for my nephew who had died in Canada. He was 47 years old. The memorial service was held on Wednesday 3 October in the Pohara Boat Club – a place where he loved racing his yachting.

I did the eulogy and the internment of ashes at the local cemetery.

It was hard taking part in the service but good to spend a week with the family. I got back home last Monday.

So let me give you a background that led up to his death in Canada on 18 September.

My nephew was born in Timaru and when quite young, the family moved to Takaka. He went to Golden Bay High School. He loved sport of all kind – rugby league was his first love and he continued to follow the warriors in Canada. He was into motorsport, dirt bike racing stock cars, yachting. Although he suffered from seasickness, he was a very competent sailor. He was adventurous – rock climbing, skydiving, bungee jumping.

When he left school, he became a share milker, he worked in Western Australia on outback stations as a jackaroo, he tried deep sea fishing in a Sealords boat. He met his wife at a Takaka A & P Show. She was a local vet. In 2006 they left for overseas for London, Zimbabwe and Canada. They got married on Christmas Eve in a chapel at Las Vegas in 2007. Seven years ago they had twin girls and five years ago another daughter.

Five years ago my nephew was diagnosed with an aggressive melanoma on his face. He had surgery which twisted his face, radiations that destroyed hearing in one ear and affected his swallowing and numerous chemotherapy sessions that left him sick. He was given experimental drug treatments. The best treatment he could have in Canada. He was able to have medical cannabis to help him sleep and control the pain.

Early in September my brother and sister in law along with their son and daughter went to Canada to be with the family.

My nephew Continue reading

Rev Craig Kilgour, New Zealand. Sermon – My nephew had an assisted death in Canada: it was compassionate, it was humane, it was right and good.

From our friends across the Tasman I have this Sermon in strong support of Assisted Dying from Rev Craig Kilgour, when Interim Moderator at St Columba’s Presbyterian Church, Havelock North, New Zealand..

It is quite unique in that a nephew of Craig had an assisted death in Canada.  The last two paragraphs of the sermon sum up the compassionate Christian approach to Assisted Dying Choice: Let me finish this with what my family members said and repeated often using these words about my nephew’s death: It was compassionate, it was humane, it was right and good. And the family are very proud and humbled with the courage he showed in his battle with cancer. And to me no one has the right to be critical and judgemental of the choice he made.

So for me and my family this is not a philosophical debate, it is not a theological debate, it is not a theoretical debate, it is a reality and it was right and my nephew was fortunate he lived in Canada.

The sermon is posted here with the kind permission of Rev Craig. In response to my question on what was the reaction of his congregation to the sermon Craig replied: the reaction from the congregation was very positive with many copies requested. Copies went wider into the community. I’ve been asked to speak to a retired group of Doctors at Hastings hospital. 

Ian Wood

 

 

Rev Craig Kilgour

Sunday 14 October 2018

Assisted dying

The topic I’ve chosen for the sermon might seem strange for a morning when we celebrate the birth and baptism of Angus, but then I thought when life ends, we celebrate the life lived whatever the length.

I mentioned my dilemma to Granddad David and he said it evens things out!

I want to share with you this morning about what our family has experienced just recently.

I’m going to talk to you about assisted dying, euthanasia, a topic which is difficult to deal with, and it provokes very strong feelings.

The End of life choice Bill is currently with Parliament’s Justice Select Committee. There have been 35 000 submissions – think about terminal illness, a few months to live, sound mind, to allow physician-assisted death.

I with some of the congregation, attended a discussion on the Bill, that our MP Lawrence Yule had called with a panel of experts at our Community Centre a while ago.

The issue has been debated by the General Assembly of our church and they were unanimously opposed against supporting the Bill before Parliament.

After I took the service on 30 September, I went across to Takaka for the memorial service for my nephew who had died in Canada. He was 47 years old. The memorial service was held on Wednesday 3 October in the Pohara Boat Club – a place where he loved racing his yachting.

I did the eulogy and the internment of ashes at the local cemetery.

It was hard taking part in the service but good to spend a week with the family. I got back home last Monday.

So let me give you a background that led up to his death in Canada on 18 September.

My nephew Continue reading

Rev Dr Marvin Ellison -“Thou shall not torture”

Rev Dr Marvin Ellison of Maine USA, makes a powerful statement of Christian support for voluntary assisted dying in his opinion piece published in the Portland Press Herald, Maine, USA –

Maine Voices: In name of mercy, Maine Death With Dignity belongs on ballot

The measure [to include this in a referendum] would offer the dying an option to minimize needless suffering.

The original opinion piece title was more provocative – Rev Ellison has said he called it: “”Thou Shall Not Torture the Dying.”

Here are some quotes from Rev Ellison. I do urge viewers of this post to read the full article at the link below.

 “As a person of faith, ordained minister and professor of Christian ethics for more than three decades, I’m committed to seeking peace, justice and compassion in all things.”

“My religious tradition calls on the faithful to help reduce suffering in the world, including suffering at the bedside of those dying. For many, palliative care offers the comfort and support necessary to ease their way to a good death, but alas, palliative care is not always adequate to the task.”

“For others in the dying process, despite receiving the best palliative care, they find themselves ready to die, but unable to die. Too often they face a torturous ending.  Denying the dying person the freedom to end unnecessary, meaningless suffering is far from merciful; rather, it’s torturous.   Torture in any form is morally wrong.”

  • “As a person of faith, I hope and pray that Maine will join California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia and make assisted dying legally available, allowing adults of sound mind to make their own value choices at the end of life. Doing so, I suggest, is a faithful, principled, and compassionate way to affirm the dignity and well-being of the living and the dying.”

Rev Dr Marvin Ellison, a Willard S. Bass Professor Emeritus of Christian Ethics at Bangor Theological Seminary, USA, is a scholar-activist and ordained Presbyterian minister. 

Rev Dr Marvin Ellison

 Photo supplied by Rev Ellison

Please read the full article ……

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