seeking the common good
In this referendum Kiwis are deciding whether the specific End Of Life Choice Act comes immediately into effect.
The debate around euthanasia is incredibly complex and typically draws out passionate stances on both sides of the debate. Fair enough.
The implications of either decision have profound effects on people in their most difficult stage in life. As we engage its important to remember not only to be passionate but compassionate, both to the people with terminal illnesses and their families.
Christians have traditionally been against euthanasia, but times are changing and there are many who are advocating for euthanasia from theological positions. The danger for the church is that we ignore those voices, and unintentionally isolate or ignore the people within our own communities who think differently. Put bluntly, when we assume that all Christians think the same, we risk pushing away our family and friends who think differently but are nervous to say it.
All that to say, in today’s culture, nothing is a given anymore and it's important for us to do the work to listen, learn, and be theologically grounded. So with that, can I encourage you to get informed and process this decision with your families, friends and connect group, that God might lead us towards wise decisions.
Here are some resources to inform your thinking:
Summary of the Bill and FAQ
Here you will find a great summary of the bill; of its aims and restrictions. It's worth remembering that we are voting on this specific bill, as opposed to just the general concept of Euthanasia. This is a great place to start cause it's worth getting your facts straight from the source.
Euthanasia & Theology
While it is a few years old and doesn't interact with this specific bill, this has been one of my favourite reads as it clearly identifies the main theologial arguments for euthanasia. These are arguments from compassion (ie we shouldn’t make people suffer unnecessarily), autonomy (ie the right to choose our own end), and a separation of church and state (ie even if we agree that it’s against our faith, we shouldn’t legislate our beliefs onto others). This is the best resource on how euthanasia interacts with faith.
Why Some Vote Yes
This is an article arguing for its legalisation. It tells the story of a widow whose husband had terminal cancer and ended up taking his own life. It does well to articulate the stakes for some people and gives a compelling argument for compassion.
A Legal Perspective
This article argues that the legal requirements put in place are stringent enough to protect people from coercion as well as prevent future loosening of the law, i.e. a slippery slope. It was co-written by a lawyer who represented Lecretia Seales in her 2015 High Court case where she argued that euthanasia should be legal.
A Hospice Perspective
In this interview, Craig Vernall interviews the leader for Hospice care in the BOP. It does well to articulate some of the weaknesses of the bill while highlighting the incredible job that the hospice team does in giving dignity and pain relief to those near the end of life.