I was delighted to be given the opportunity today to address the Tasmanian MLC’s in Christian support for the End of Life Choices (VAD) Bill, introduced by Mike Gaffney, Independent for Mersey, and soon to be debated in the Upper House. Our Tasmanian Representative, Norma Jamieson, also spoke in support.

Address to TAS Parliament MLC’s by Ian Wood.  26.8.2020

Thank you for this opportunity to address you as Spokesperson for Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying.

My background – My name is Ian Wood. I was a community Pharmacist in Port Pirie, South Australia, for 40 years, so that involved caring for people. My wife and I raised two children, and we enjoyed community involvement in heritage conservation, classical music, and entertaining at aged care facilities with music and singing

I had long supported assisted dying choice but became public in support in 2009 when Rev Trevor Bensch, a retired Minister and hospital chaplain at the church I attended, decided that Christians who supported VAD needed a voice and we formed our group.

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.

We currently have about 1250 member/supporters  Many members have died waiting for legislation.

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 such as the ACL (Australian Christian Lobby) opposed marriage equality and discussion on sexual orientation.  We believe those Christians were wrong!

With regards to sexual orientation, we find that to its eternal shame many of the church hierarchy indulged in a massive coverup of paedophile clergy, in many cases leading to the tragic suicide of the innocent victims, in a cruel irony with the church opposition to VAD. 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 and most 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? Curiously, the Christian Lobby do not appear to give religious reasons for opposing VAD.

The ACL recent approach in Tasmania has included Headlines such as Continue reading