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Praying about the Euthansia Debate


There has been pressure to isolate and keep religious views from the debate. But surely that is not realistic, given that science and faith have such deep compatibility and understanding when it comes to the arena of pain and death.Science addresses how we respond technically to situations like this; religion speaks to the why and the rationale we need to apply.Take for example what happened the last time this issue made its way to Parliament for a vote, part of a proposed change that would have decriminalized physician-assisted suicide under certain narrow conditions: Canada's only quadriplegic MP, Steven Fletcher, abstained from voting.Now, Fletcher is someone who wants the legal provision to end his life should he deem it necessary.But in 2009 he cautioned that we had yet to prove we are a trustworthy society when it comes to playing a role in ending human life; and that even our deliberations may "worsen the plight of the severely injured and ill by relieving the pressure on Canadians to come to terms with the more important challenge of providing support, compassion, love and mercy" to people in pain.Many faiths clearly have contributions to make to this point. But for those of us who are Christian, this is a challenge that lands squarely in our area of expertise.For centuries, Christianity has been prime source material for teaching how to love and care for family and strangers in pain.Of course we need to be honest with those looking to our distinct truth and what we mean by hope.For two millennia we Christians have said that this body on Earth is but a shadow of the future self that God has waiting for us after death and we need to regain our practice of how to explain and engage that truth with the reality of dying.That belief helps us understand that there is no purpose to keeping Grandma, son, daughter or self clinging to life support when a greater beauty comes next.In debates such as this, how great is our loss if we withdraw the contribution of faith from our collective education and view only individualism as the better way to face the perils of death.As surely as we wrestle through the physical steps of death, particularly on an issue as fraught with emotion as euthanasia, so will we need to come to terms with the spiritual journey. Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/11/24/f-vp-dueck-euthanasia.html#ixzz16JlrgPOH
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