Debate has been swirling around assisted suicide and euthanasia for decades, really. Brittany Maynard was the latest lovely face to draw our attention to the issue, but it's nothing new.
The country of Belgium stands as a stark warning against the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. It's a slippery slope, full of abuse, and without end. It's a slippery slope that ends up targeting the disabled, allowing physicians to end the life of depressed people, and murdering innocent children.
Seriously, Belgium has recently legalized euthanasia for children.
A Colorado legislative committee considered a bill on assisted suicide last Friday. In an 8-5 bipartisan vote, the bill was rejected. The legislators – after hearing 11 hours of testimony – realized that abuse and manipulation is simply too rampant. (It's unfortunate they didn't all realize the inherent wrong of assisted suicide itself, but at least they came to the right conclusion for the safety of Colorado's citizens.)
The Denver Post reported:
"Opponents argued the law would be abused by health insurers and others who would stand to gain from a sick person's death. …
From her motorized wheelchair, Carrie Ann Lucas of Windsor cited the high cost of treatment for illnesses such as hers, a form of muscular dystrophy that would be terminal within hours if she lost the use of the ventilator.
If insurance companies choose not to pay for expensive medical equipment or treatments, patients could be coaxed into a 'much cheaper lethal prescription,' she said."
One of the Democrats who decided to vote against the bill had personally experienced a potential abuse of the proposed bill:
"Tearfully telling her colleagues she was a cancer survivor, Democratic Rep. Dianne Primavera recalled how a doctor told her she wouldn't live more than five years.
But she found a doctor who gave her a different opinion.
'And he took me in his care, and I am here today 28 years later,' she said."
Representative Primavera wasn't the only person to share that her terminal diagnosis was, in fact, inaccurate. Another Coloradan testified that her mother had been given only six months to live by one doctor, but was still alive six years later. And yet, these are the kind of people assisted suicide all too often targets and kills.
But policy and ethics aside, why is assisted suicide the wrong choice for Christians? Here are three reasons:
1) It's Not Just About Us
It's essential for Christians to recognize that we are called to speak out for the oppressed. We are called to seek and stand for justice. Assisted suicide silences voices, ends lives, and oppresses the helpless. Statistics prove this out. And, as Christians, this isn't okay. It's our role in society to be the influence – the salt and light – that turns back the tide of oppression, however masked in "good intentions" and catchy phrases it may be.
2) Death is Not Our Deliverance or Our Victory
Assisted suicide treats death as a welcome savior, as the victor over suffering. And yet, death is neither of these. Instead, the Bible asks, "Where, O death, is your victory?" (I Corinthians 15:55) In Hosea, God promises that He will redeem His people from death. Death itself is not the victory or the redemption, and assisted suicide all too often glorifies it as just that.
3) Suffering, to a Christian, is a Gift
To our flesh, this sounds horrible and terribly unfair. But our redeemed inner man can hear the Voice of Christ and feel the Presence of Christ in the midst of the greatest suffering this sinful, fallen world can bring us. Christians are not called to cut our suffering short, but instead, to rejoice in its midst – something that is only possible when we fall into the power and grace of God. Our suffering is beautiful in all its ugliness and powerful in all its pain when it is dedicated to our Lord. One writer put it this way :
"Paul suffered more than most for Jesus' sake. He said this to the Christians at Phillipi: 'For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him' (Philippians 1:2). The word granted here means 'shown favor, given freely as a gift.'"
This column was originally published at Live Action News.