Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Liberal 'christians' Praise Montana Euthanasia Ruling

Montana Supreme Court clears path for third state to allow physician-assisted suicide, to the satisfaction of local 'church' leaders

-- From "Doctor-Assisted Suicide Gets OK in Montana" Associated Press 12/31/09

Patients and doctors had been waiting for the state's high court to step in after a lower court decided a year ago that constitutional rights to privacy and dignity protect the right to die.

The Montana Supreme Court opinion will now give doctors in the state the freedom to prescribe the necessary drugs to mentally competent, terminally ill patients without fear of being prosecuted, advocates said.

Oregon and Washington state allow assisted suicides for terminally ill patients, with Oregon adopting America's first "death with dignity" law in 1997. [Kathryn L. Tucker, the legal affairs director for Compassion and Choices,] said Montana doctors should now feel comfortable adopting procedures that doctors in the other two states use.

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From "Baxter v. Montana: euthanasia finds support among Pro-Right-to-Die Christian Authority Figures" by Mariya Starchevsky, Newark Religious Issues Examiner 1/4/10

The moral stigma of suicide dates back to Christianity’s proliferation through Europe. Although the Bible does not condemn suicide explicitly, the view of “committing” suicide as a legal crime and a moral sin was adopted from St. Augustine and later by St. Thomas Aquinas. Pages 4-5. In history, suicide was a spiritual offense, because it was thought to mess with the Almighty’s plans.

. . . [The case included an amicus brief filed by religious groups and representatives.] Making their plead for a right to die from a religious point of view were Rev. Canon Gary Waddingham (Episcopal Priest) Rev. Steve Oreskovich (Episcopal Priest), Rev. Meg Hatch (M. Div, UCC) Chuck Heath (M. Div. LCPC, Chaplain), Reverend John C. Board (Episcopal Deacon) Rev. Jean Collins, (Episcopal Priest), Rev. John R. Payne, Journey BE (Disciples of Christ) and Dr. L.A. Kemmerer (Professor). These authorities then list approximately 70 other religious figures from the United Church of Christ, the Church of England, the Unitarian Universalists Association of Congregations, the Methodist Church, etc., all who support euthanasia when concerning competent, terminally ill adults.

These religious amici stress that end-of-life decisions are deeply personal.

“Those who do not share in the religious beliefs and doctrines of groups opposed to aid in dying see this as an unwanted intrusion into what should be a private decision making process between patient and physician." - Deric Weiss, M.D.,Billings, Montana.

“An overriding theme in the [Bible] is ‘free will.’ That is, the reasonable belief that God granted human beings the ability to distinguish between good and evil and to make choices concerning both. - Rev. John C. Board, Episcopal Deacon.

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