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Survey: Evangelical Leaders Affirm Life 'from Womb to Tomb'

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By Audrey Barrick, Christian Post Reporter
February 4, 2011|1:25 pm

Evangelical leaders almost unanimously oppose euthanasia, or the intentional termination of a dependent human being.

According to the latest survey released Thursday by the National Association of Evangelicals, 94 percent said they would not consent to the termination of their lives.

"This reiterates what we already know about evangelicals: They want to honor life from womb to tomb," Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said in a statement.

The Eden Prairie, Minn., pastor pointed to a recent statement made by renowned evangelist Billy Graham, 92, who told Christianity Today, "God has a reason for keeping us here (even if we don't always understand it), and we need to recover the Bible's understanding of life and longevity as gifts from God – and therefore as something good."

Notably, some did admit to potential wavering if actually faced with extreme pain, Anderson added.

The NAE, which represents more than 45,000 local churches throughout the country, surveys its Board of Directors monthly on various issues. The latest survey on the end-of-life drew a flood of comments from the leaders, particularly on how to handle extreme measures to prolong life, according to Anderson.

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While most agreed to letting God be God when it came to their life's end, 85 percent of the leaders who remarked on extreme measures said they would not want such measures used to prolong their lives.

"God is the author of life and death, and amazing advances in medicine may complicate that decision, but not alter its basic principle," said Ron Boehme, director of Youth with a Mission U.S. Renewal, according to the report.

The issue of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide has long been debated with advocates pushing for the "right to die."

The NAE board passed a resolution in 1997 affirming life as a gift from God and rejecting intentional killing.

"While we firmly believe in mercy and compassion, that belief does not give anyone license to play God," the resolution states. "We believe there is a profound moral distinction between allowing a person to die, on the one hand; and killing on the other (Deut. 5:17). We affirm the ethic 'always to care, never to kill.'"

Most recently, evangelicals affirmed the pro-life stance in a 2009 document titled the Manhattan Declaration. Protestants and Catholics have also signed the document that declares, in part: "The Bible enjoins us to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to speak for those who cannot themselves speak. And so we defend and speak for the unborn, the disabled, and the dependent."

 

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