Those who have embraced the culture of death had much to celebrate during 2008. By "culture of death," I'm referring to those movements which would advance euthanasia, assisted suicide, abortion, fetal experimentation, and even population control.
Let's take a quick look at the year gone by. I think you'll see what I mean.
In the U.S., voters in Washington state approved the grotesquely named "Death with Dignity Act," which will allow physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to their terminally ill patients. Washington joins Oregon as the only states (for now) that have legalized assisted suicide. Two down, 48 to go.
Of course there was other significant news in the other Washington, Washington, DC, where the new administration began to set up shop in the White House—an administration that promised during the campaign to enact the "Freedom of Choice Act," or FOCA.
FOCA will, in essence, eliminate most restrictions on abortion. Parental notification, informed consent, conscientious objection on behalf of healthcare providers, restrictions on late-term abortions, could well be things of the past. Not for nothing did the Catholic Bishops describe FOCA as "the most radical and extreme abortion legislation ever considered in the United States."
And, of course, the new administration will do all that it can to promote the use of human embryos for stem cell research.
On the other side of the pond, legislators in the small nation of Luxembourg decided that the "right to death" was so important, that they stripped Grand Duke Henri of his constitutional right to veto legislation. Why? Because he dared to oppose a new euthanasia law. Well, I guess that's better than what Europeans used to do when they didn't like their monarch.
But it's not enough that individuals can now legally find ways to kill themselves. No, now people can share their final moments with millions of onlookers. Britain's Sky Network aired a documentary that showed the final minutes of the life of Craig Ewert, an American who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. Ewert paid the Swiss assisted suicide group Dignitas 3,000 pounds to help him die. He had to travel to the little Alpine nation because Switzerland is the only country that opens the maw of death—excuse me—that opens its arms to foreigners who want to kill themselves.
And then there's the horrible case of the 19-year-old Florida man who committed suicide while some 1,500 viewers watched online. The video spread all over the Web like wildfire.
Is this where we've really come to? When in the course of human events have so many made death their reason for living?
As Scripture says, God has set before us life and death. And our culture is choosing death.
As we begin 2009, the Church must renew its commitment to protecting the life and true dignity of every human—from natural conception until natural death.
But despite the euphemisms of euthanasia law and suicide organizations, true human dignity is not found in death (except in cases of great self-sacrifice). It is found in life! And in Him who is the author of all life.