Christian views “being misrepresented” over assisted dying, says Dignity in Dying
Religious Groups and Church leaders who oppose the Assisted Dying Bill are not representative of Christian opinion says Dignity in Dying, responding to research released today by the British Humanist Association (BHA).
Dignity in Dying Patron, The Rev. Professor Paul Badham said,
“The Archbishop of Canterbury’s advisor, Rev. Professor Robin Gill, acknowledges that 84% of monthly-goers across all denominations support euthanasia, and that even among weekly Church-going Anglicans, two-thirds would like the right to die.”
Rev. Professor Badham suggested that the way some Church spokespersons oppose Assisted Dying today is analogous to the way some nineteenth century clergymen preached against anaesthesia in childbirth on the grounds that the Bible taught that women should bring forth children in pain.
“Suffering in child-birth was seen as a natural part of human life much as some people continue to see the pains of death. Similarly when contraception was introduced it was opposed by much Christian opinion on the grounds that God alone should determine the timing of a new human life.
“Now that almost Churchgoers think it right to seek medical help in the timing of birth and in the avoidance of suffering during birth it is quite natural that the majority of Churchgoers should also wish for medical help in the timing and nature of their dying.”
Dignity in Dying’s Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts added,
“Reverend Professor Badham is more representative of mainstream Christian thought than the Archbishop. When the Church Times asked its readers if they agreed with the Archbishop that a right to die becomes a duty to die, 76% said no. I really think the Church ought to be listening more attentively to the millions of Christians who don’t agree with its hard-hearted theology.”
Dignity in Dying was set up by clergy and doctors and has many members of Christian and other faiths (as well as those with no faith) including over 40 supportive members of the clergy.
In his book Euthanasia and the Churches