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Voting As a Christian: The Social Issues
The Protection of Life: Other Issues (Part 1)
Besides abortion, there are many other issues that threaten our nation’s protection of lives. The first issue that this chapter targets is the problem that arises from euthanasia. Euthanasia derives from a Greek words “eu” meaning good and “thanatos”, which means death; this term “good death” is what one would call a mercy killing. Grudem points out how this term is misleading because it gives such a negative act a positive name. This issue often comes into play when terminally ill patients face chronic pain and no longer wants to live. The question is if this should be seen as a legal act, or should this act be outlawed? In this part of the summary we will discuss the biblical teaching we receive against murder.
Exodus 20:13 tells its reader’s “You shall not murder”, this commandment is simply put, there is no exceptions. The author writes: “Just as the command against murder prohibits abortion in the very early stages of human life, so the command against murder also prohibits intentionally taking the life of a person in the final stages of human life.” In 2 Samuel 1:1-16 we read of the death of Saul. A man from Saul’s camp came to David after the third day of Saul’s death. This man who was a Amalekite messenger claimed to have killed Saul, after being ordered to do so by Saul following a failed suicide attempt. After telling this story, and handing Saul’s crown to David, this man was sentenced to death for David claimed this man had killed God’s anointed. Grudem writes, “David condemns him based on his own confession of guilt. And thus the narrative of Scripture portrays the decision of this wise king, a man after God’s own heart, as an appropriate and morally right judgment on the man who has carried out euthanasia.” It is clear from this passage that there is a difference between killing a person and letting them die.
There are some ways euthanasia could be applied. One is that Saul was terminally ill with no hope of recovery. Secondly, it could be said that the Saul was in extreme pain and had he not died, then he would have faced more suffering. Third is the fact that Saul actively requested to be put to death. Fourthly, Saul was still head of the government at this time making the messenger subject to Saul’s authority. This doesn’t mean that we should just let people die; we are to help as much as we can if there is hope for recovery. Christ says “So whatever you wish that others would will do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Though there are many who argue for euthanasia, this is biblically wrong. The first objection stems from the “value of protecting human freedom” and secondly from “the need to alleviate pain and frustration felt by the terminally ill patient.” The third objection for euthanasia is if “money and medical resources are limited.” These objections are still not enough to validate euthanasia in any matter.
Until this day most of the United States prohibits euthanasia, although in Oregon the “Death with Dignity Act” was passed in 1994, this is what one would call “physician-assisted suicide. This act was later upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the 9th circuit in 1997, and in 2008 legalized by Washington State. In close, euthanasia, if accepted by the majority will place a lower value on life. As a nation we will begin to lack the compassion necessary for life decisions and begin to lose our morality. Grudem writes, “In societies where physician-assisted suicide becomes legal, this will set the stage for a further erosion of the protection of human life.” Our country is in need of resurgence in morality when it comes to the passing of these types of laws. In part 2 of chapter three we will further elaborate on objections in regards to capital punishment.
1) What does “euthanasia” mean?
2) What does Exodus 20:13 tell us? How does this help us in the argument in regards to abortion?
3) In what ways can euthanasia be applied?
4) What is the “Death of Dignity Act”? Does this go against Christian beliefs?