Euthanasia: Life as a Burden

life is a burdenNazi Propaganda: Life only as a Burden

Do we really want our lives viewed as a burden?

The legal aspects of euthanasia haven’t been thought out; if the family decides on “mercy killing” isn’t it possible, in fact, probable, that the decision will be made sooner if it means they inherit?

Look at Brooke Astor; wealthy but not necessarily healthy for several years, she had dementia. Her son stood to inherit. How much easier would it be to get a doctor to agree to euthanasia than to defraud her out of her wealth? Yes, I used this example purely because her son is in court and the case is dragging on.

brooke-astor

Recently, I read of a man who was killed in an alley and robbed of 60 cents. Sixty cents. Not even enough money to buy a candy bar, yet that man was murdered for it. Most people have more assets than that; there’s a small death payment from Social Security, savings, homes with equity and salable furnishings, IRA’s, 401K’s, life insurance. Lots of reasons to bump off…I mean, influence someone to take advantage of euthanasia.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens in Oregon and Washington, which have recently legalized euthanasia. It won’t be long before someone realizes how unethical it is to influence parents to arrange for their murder or to arrange for it oneself. When they do, it won’t be pretty.

Many people are without wills, in which case spouse or children inherit in most states; imagine your spendthrift sibling deciding that it’s time for your parent to go, simply because spendthrift wants more money and parent refuses to provide it. I wonder if there are corresponding laws in place indicating that if you assist or pressure someone to commit, suicide, you’re unable to inherit as you’re acting in your own self-interest.

This is unconscionable. And I’m not the only one to think so.

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16 Responses to Euthanasia: Life as a Burden

  1. Bryan says:

    In the UK it is clear that the attempt to launch a Bill to legalise Euthanasia ( or Mercy Killing as they call it ) is taking off.

    We are being bombarded with the injustice that those who can afford to travel to Switzerland to Dignitas can get a lethal injection for $7000 (I think). Those who cannot pay have to put up with unendurable suffering we are told.

    The arguments against legalising Euthanasia are similar to yours – worries about undue influence over elderly and sick relatives by rapacious heirs. Another argument against is that the sick will believe it would be better for their relatives if they die by euthanasia since they are a burden to their relatives and useless to Society.

    I think these are weak and flawed arguments against the legalisation of euthanasia.

    Why because there is not a mention of God.

    It is in the hands of God when the hour of our death comes. We do not have the “right” to end our own lives – the Church’s traditonal teaching on suicide is valid for the sick and suffering. As the Psalm says “Ipse fecit nos, non ipsi nos” – He made us, we did not make ourselves and therefore we do not own or have rights over our own bodies.

    By arguing against legalising Euthanasia with secular arguments (undue influence etc) and failing to mention God and the Church’s teaching on suicide we are giving up our best arguments. NB I said Best (not our “most popular arguments”.

    I recall years ago attending a meeting of an org called (I think) the Association of Christian Lawyers in London. This is an Evangelical Anglican group. The meeting was on proposed legislation on Living Wills and advanced medical directives. There was not one mention of God during the whole of the two-hour event. Perhaps this was because the event was being recorded for broadcasting?

    Thanks for raising this issue here.

    In caritate Xp.,

    Bryan

    • Morse says:

      “Euthanasia: Life as a Burden”

      You write:

      I think these are weak and flawed arguments against the legalisation of euthanasia.

      Why because there is not a mention of God

      I write:

      Thank goodness for that! your argument would presume that relativism is a valid argument – this is flawed because it is plainly obvious that not all ‘truths’ are equally deserving of each other.

      The plain fact is that here in the U.K we live in a thankfully secular society which recognizes that religious absolutism has no place on the moral agenda of the U.K.

      However; as Dr David Cook (Medical Ethics Oxford) rightly points out the mere definition of ‘euthanasia’ needs to be debated openly and fully without prejudice – here I’m sure we would agree, although we are on differing sides of the argument.

      Argument that we (all faiths and none) should continue in a friendly and open discussion; a better understanding of all sides of the argument has to be an imperative.

      Yours M.

  2. Bryan says:

    Dear Morse,

    Thank you for your reply to my contribution.

    You write:

    “….your argument would presume that relativism is a valid argument – this is flawed because it is plainly obvious that not all ‘truths’ are equally deserving of each other.”

    Far from it. My argument does not presume moral relativism. It is based on Traditional Catholic teaching on the sacredness of life.

    Equally I plainly do not believe that all truths are valid. I am a Catholic and believe that Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church and revealed the truth to the Church. I do not believe that God founded the Anglican Church or the Mormons.

    I regret I am confused about your argument. You wish to have a discussion between all in a friendly manner in order to reach a better understanding of the issue.

    Please explain how this friendly discussion would help a Roman Catholic understand better that euthanasia is gravely sinful and that we do not have the right to end our own lives. We are creatures and it is the role to God to decide when our hour of death should come.

    There are some absolutes here.

    Good wishes,

    Bryan

  3. Morse says:

    Dear Bryan,

    Thank you for your respectful comments and questions, I too will reciprocate.

    Regarding relativism; I feel that to promote the R.C position as an absolute would be to (maybe) presume that R.C supernatural understanding of life and death is of equal validity as say the scientific and psychological understanding of them both. This I simply can not agree.

    For the vast majority of people in the U.K the R.C position is of no relevance and adds nothing to the argument.

    Personally speaking I would invite R.C apologists to the table of discussion because I feel, as we live in a pluralistic society, its right and proper that all opinions are voiced, whilst not all being equal in my opinion.

    In a democracy the majority opinion will win (and currently is..) so better the R.C Church finds a way of living with the current public opinion, just like it has had to do with state and faith based education. Even the R.C Church has the ability to become revisionist in its theology (limbo for example).

    By being dogmatic in its views on euthanasia the R.C Church and any faith for that matter only isolates and confuses its followers who struggle with their faith and teaching on Sunday and living in a secular world on Monday to Saturday – there are no parallels post 18C.

    Kind regards
    M.

  4. happy says:

    Makes me quite happy I am not in the UK!

    If followers are only getting teaching and living in the faith on Sunday morning and then trying to live their life fully secular Monday through Saturday, they already have a big problem. Relationship with our Lord is 24/7.

    There are people who believe euthanasia is OK. There are also people who think abortion is OK. Evil still exists in this world.

  5. Morse says:

    Dear Happy,

    This website is a R.C site and I appreciate my comments are posted and never edited; I think that is most magnanimous of all who run this site.

    I also understand your personal views will be the majority view, I accept that and whilst they (your views) worry me I also accept I’m not going to liberate them as much as I’d like to try.

    I would however challenge you to defend your comments a little more as any absolutist comments need to be supported to be seen as having any validity or adding anything to the conversation.

    To simply brand euthanasia and abortion as evil is to often miss or ignore the human suffering that accompanies these difficult decisions.

    You may disagree with them (and contraception also) as profoundly as I disagree with your views but it how we apply the our beliefs and values to which we lay claim that is of the greatest witness.

    Do you really expect to counsel others with such dogmatism?

    (Even your own priests and archbishops are more sagacious in their comments. Sunday a documentary invited Vincent Nicholls to debate in the U.K on the issues many charge the R.C: Lack of family planning in R.C countries leading to absolute poverty, 1 in 2 diagnosed with HIV due to lack of contraception – babies dying of AIDS etc I need not go on….. Vincent had to admit that to make absolutist comments was unhelpful and that a period of reconciliation and reflection was now needed)

    Back to my main point – Whilst I will not share your supernatural beliefs about Jesus, I understand his teachings as being grounded in humanity and sharing in the suffering of others – the very thing your comments above do not express.

    Could you therefore express a little of the understanding and love displayed by the historical Jesus?

    Yours M.

  6. happy says:

    Oh if you only knew me… I am very loving. Much like my Jesus though… I do know truth. I have supported and counseled for years at a pregnancy center. Prayed with, Prayed for, Lovingly volunteered my time, my families time, my money and my effort. I have seen countless hearts change. I have seen countless people give their lives and hearts to Jesus.(Praise God).

    I love each of these people. I greet them with a smile on my face and a hug. I have cried great buckets of tears with them.

    That doesn’t change the fact that abortion is murder.Do I condone that? No.What do I back that up with? Um, the 10 Commandments. Jesus was loving and understanding, but he stood for truth.
    Not that you are not welcome here, but why waste your time talking about a subject you don’t believe in? I mean I could say I grow pink hair and we could discuss it all day long, but in the end, if you don’t think pink hair is possible then isn’t it a waste of time?

    I am just happy I live in a place where most people agree with this.

    :) Have a Good day
    (btw.. they are not my priests or archbishops. I am not Roman Catholic.)

  7. Morse says:

    Dear Happy,

    How to say without sounding annoyingly patronising; that reads how I imagine you to be…

    Now you rightly charge me to defend my reasoning for accessing your site.

    I have said before and I mean it entirely, it is to your credit (all who finance and run this site) that my comments are not edited, even though they conflict with your ( ) own views to a large extent.

    I enjoy reading the articles but it is the contributions that are of most interest to me.

    Over here I advocate against religious faith based schools and any form of religious doctrine or ‘faith’ entering our education system, other than objective religious education – not instruction.

    Moreover, how people form their views, support their opinions and answer questions; how people are educated (inculcated or not), what age people ‘come to the faith’ and how interests me a great deal?

    Sites like this help me understand where people are ‘coming from’ who have deep religious beliefs. There are other sites adhering to other religious beliefs too of course that I visit.

    Its never to pratronise, it is sometimes to questions and argue (without ever being rude or personal) its mostly to understand.

    You did trip me up with the not R.C comment…….my own pre-suppositions eh.

    Yours
    M.

    PS: Murder = of course not: Abortion = the women’s right in law. oh well.

  8. happy says:

    Morse,

    As I said, you are very welcome here. I understand your interest and that is fine. I just don’t understand how you plan to “ping pong” with a group that believes in “pong” and you don’t.
    Most of our reasoning just isn’t going to resonate with you. :)
    I certainly don’t mean to be rude or personal. You can visit this site as you wish! It isn’t mine! Yes, they do a very good job. I just visit it as I after 42 years of being a devout protestant I am converting to RC because after a lot of studying believe firmly in this faith. :) I get a huge amount of information here.

    Good Day!
    PS I believe it all = Murder(sadly)

  9. Bryan says:

    Dear Morse,

    Just popped back and see you are widening the discussion. Good to see you are still here.

    On 18th August you wrote that branding euthanasia as evil is often to miss or ignore the human suffering that accompanies these difficult decisions. (Permit me to delete your reference to abortion to keep the lines of the discussion clear and clean).

    The traditional Catholic view is clear. Voluntary Euthanasia is a form of suicide and therefore is akin to final despair in God’s mercy (a very serious sin) and also involves another person in helping to procure the voluntary killing of the person (murder) (no-one has mentioned these two angles yet).

    You properly raise the question of suffering of the person considering voluntary euthanasia. I would say that the Church, which is very active in providing hospitals and hospices to those in pain and those dying around the world, does not ignore the suffering of these people. A Catholic response is to provide good Hospices and encourage palliative care. In other words the Church does not ignore the suffering of those in great and almost unbearable pain but works to help them.

    This encouragement of those in great pain and those near to death goes hand-in-hand with the Church’s teaching against volunary euthanasia.

    I will raise a second point with you later.

    Good wishes (and hello to Happy – welcome to the Catholic Church).

    Yours,

    Bryan

  10. happy says:

    Hello Bryan and thanks!

    I am very excited and looking forward to spring 2010.
    I did remind Morse that I am not RC, but honestly, most beliefs differ little on this subject in many Christian Communities what ever the denomination. (In my experience.)

    Best wishes to all.

  11. Bryan says:

    Dear Morse,

    I notice that in your message on 19th August you say that you advocate against religious or faith based schools. But you are interested in how people are educated and “come to faith”.

    I really think you have little to fear from Catholic schools….

    I think it is well known that the Sacrament of Confirmation is known widely as the Sacrament of Exit as 13/14, the age at which Confirmation is conferred, is also the age at which many, very many, young Catholics stop going to Mass and practising their faith in any meaningful way.

    I recall back in the early 1990’s when I was at University bumping into a friend from school (we had gone to a Catholic school) as I was going to Mass one Sunday. Each of us was quite surprised to find that the other was still going to Mass as it was so normal for our school mates to have given up.

    I recall the priests at school repeating in RE lessons that they did not want any of us to claim that they were indoctrinating us. So whenever anyone asked a question like “What does the Church teach on X or Y or Z?” they would shy away from it. So RE was a vague sort-of type of moral philosoophy mish-mash without any real Catholic content. I can assure you there was never any discussion of any moral issue like abortion – the nearest we got to that was a “Why is cannabilism wrong?” attempt at moral philosophy.

    And things do not seem to have improved here since the 1980’s…

    If you doubt that precious few catholic schools teach the Faith then look up what the Bishop of Lancaster wrote in “Fit for Mission – Schools”. There is an interesting article in the trenchant and strident Christian Order article

    http://www.christianorder.com/editorials/editorials_2008/editorials_apr08.html

    Hope this helps you to understand a Catholic view on this matter.

    Good wishes,

    Bryan

    PS: Hello “Happy” thanks for your message – may I recommend that you read anything you can about or by Blessed Charles de Foucault or Blessed Columba Marmion both great 19th Catholics. In caritate Xp., Bryan

  12. Morse says:

    Dear Bryan,

    Thanks for the article – most interesting I’d not come across this before.

    It could sound a little like a confused position I grant you. Advocating against faith based education but interested in how people ‘come to the faith’.

    Through my work, and life in general, it seems is it rarely a decision made in adulthood, but if so, its a returning to the faith.

    Only anecdotal of course, but is seems it one can escape religious persuasion in any form through their first 14 years they are unlikely to become adherers to any believe system.

    I’m not against people trying to find a transcendence (I listen to Wagner and can be taken to somewhere ‘special’ or I can look at the universe in amazement and wonder)

    But it does seem that post enlightenment we have lost the ability to differentiate between the religious ‘logos’ and ‘mythos’

    In other words often people take scripture literally, on faith rather than with historical and theological understanding.

    Warm regards
    Morse.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “I wonder if there are corresponding laws in place indicating that if you assist or pressure someone to commit, suicide, you’re unable to inherit as you’re acting in your own self-interest.”

    Jesus Christ. Last I heard, the choice of euthanasia was solely left to the person in question. Who would ever sit down with their momma and actually try to convince her to die now sooner than later? I don’t believe this is the slippery slope you suggest.

    I’ll be sure to schedule my own hot shot well before the dementia takes hold. But I’d never ask my children to play a part. Unplugging me is an entirely different question. Please, unplug me.

  14. Nan says:

    You’re naive to think that people won’t use influence to get someone to leave them an inheritance now rather than later. Look at all the allegations of undue influence and outright theft from vulnerable adults without legalized euthanasia.

  15. You have done it again. Great read.

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