The world is being very dishonestly misled into thinking that the subject of Voluntary Euthanasia is full of controversy and is in need of endless debate. Those directly responsible for this unfortunate state of affairs are a small collection of vociferous religious people, hell-bent on keeping control over life and death, no-matter what the cost.

The loudness of their “arguments” and not the opposing reasoning are absorbed by politicians and medical associations who themselves are afflicted by the thought stopping religious gene.

It may be understandable if the religious kept to themselves their arguments at the level of infantile thinking that they live with on a day to day basis, but to embellish the anti-Voluntary Euthanasia case with false statistics, omissions, fear mongering and lies, is not acceptable practice in a democracy. Of course, religions are not democratic, instead, they are tyrannies working within democracies, and to them the end justifies the means.

The definition of Voluntary is acting at one’s own choice. Euthanasia means a good death.

Theoretically, a system could be initiated that would quite adequately and safely alleviate the suffering of those in need. There is nothing involved that humans cannot handle as with other problems faced by our species.

To our good fortune, theory has already been put into practice in the Netherlands and is working as planned. The religious leaders have distorted official findings concerning this to their advantage. That they lie to their own members shows they know they can, and get away with it, because of the unwarranted respect their positions bring.

The “slippery-slope” argument is put forward ad nauseam, even with the evidence clearly showing that countries without lawful Voluntary Euthanasia are illegally killing far more people than those with it.

With consistent surveys of around 70% in favour of legal Voluntary Euthanasia, and no firm and credible reasons against its initiation, should have it up and running in at least all Western style democracies. Why not so?

Religions have always, either subtly or overtly, enhanced our natural uneasiness with the ideas we have regarding our own demise. When it comes to thinking about death, this inevitable process is pushed to the back of our mind. We selfishly discount that others are facing it right now, and some, in a desperately awful manner.

Politicians and medical organisations understand this apathy, as they have it themselves. Couple this with their own religious hopes and fears of heaven and hell and they react as if they do not have a moral obligation to anyone but themselves. This selfishness has been inculcated into them and they are made stupid and uncaring because of it.

An extremely bad consequence of religious influence and apathetic public behaviour is that end-of-life decisions are left up to medical staff and practitioners. They are in the unenviable position of having to break existing inadequate laws for the sake of the suffering of patients. This is most unfair on them and it is unfair on the patients that are left lingering at deaths painful door for lack of across-the-board response by the medical profession.

Religion stands condemned of gross crimes against humanity. Its feeble minded excuse of waiting for the perfect system before they agree to Voluntary Euthanasia is an outright lie. They will never agree to people taking control of their own deaths, not ever. Apart from promoting this falsehood, they know there is not a system introduced by humans that is perfect. This we live with, with the normal mature thinking that allows us to get on aeroplanes, drive in cars and eat food that is mass produced etc. The case study of Voluntary Euthanasia in The Netherlands comes very near the perfect system and it should be copied world-wide.

On behalf of all those that are suffering or have suffered without the respite of a legally sanctioned Voluntary death, let it be known that we who have escaped the mind-numbing effects of religious mumbo-jumbo, hold all those blocking the introduction of Legal Voluntary Euthanasia in absolute contempt.

We deplore their lack of compassion and thoughtlessness to real human beings in desperate circumstance and who have not the power or the means to end it.

We despise their self-righteous attitude where the favour of saving their “immortal souls” outweighs rightful duty to others.

They have lost the entitlement of being classed as humane persons and if there were to be a hell then they would rot in it forever as just punishment for allowing their fellow travellers in life to suffer their hell right here and right now.

“Wake up and take notice of the mammoth mistake you are making on behalf of your brainwashed childhood.”

Legal Voluntary Euthanasia is a personal right of everyone in need, the most important and final right that any of us may one day have to call upon.

 


From The VE Bulletin July 2003

CHURCH AND STATE

‘The place of religion in the parliament of a multicultural, secular, democracy’

The letter reproduced below was sent by Mary Gallnor,(1) in a personal capacity, to all state and federal parliamentarians. It is particularly relevant to the issue of voluntary euthanasia, as politicians will be afforded a “conscience vote” or a “free vote” on the Dignity in Dying Bill.

I am not a Christian, but having been brought up in strict Irish Catholicism in Protestant England, I do acknowledge that some people get comfort from a belief in a supernatural being. That is incomprehensible to me but, as a humanist and a liberal, I respect the rights of everyone to follow a chosen path. However, when they impinge on the rights of others then I believe I have the right to speak out. I refer to an edict from the Pope sent to members of parliament by Archbishop Wilson in January. In this document all Catholics, world wide, are instructed to follow Catholic teaching and I agree they are free to obey the Pope in their personal lives. What I take objection to is that there is a special message to all Catholic politicians instructing them to take the Catholic dogma on to the floor of parliament; in other words into our lives. In effect the Vatican has laid down its own legislative agenda to be followed by the whole world and I find this frightening, dangerous and very offensive.

We live in a multicultural secular country which is not Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Catholic. Surely we expect anyone who chooses to enter parliament to leave religious dogma at the door and instead to apply critical, rational thinking to their chosen work as lawmakers. Bertrand Russell wrote “what we need is not the will to believe but the will to find out”. Well the way to find out is to research both sides of the argument using clearly verifiable evidence and then to balance the harm and the good to society of passing any bill, irrespective of personal preference. Let us be clear, religious dogma cannot be proved and if a belief in the dogma of their church forbids it then they should abstain from voting on that particular bill.

During her excellent contribution to the embryo stem cell research, Senator Amanda Vanstone gave her opinion on the place of religion in a secular democracy when she stated

Your religion is your business and no one else’s. It follows that I attach very little importance or interest in arguments over religious dogma. My personal view is that when you make your religion an issue, you drag it into the political domain and you tarnish it.

Further she maintained

You are entitled to follow your religious beliefs but you are not entitled to demand by legislation that everybody else does the same.

Amanda also quoted Clarence Darrow in the infamous Scopes “Monkey Trial” who argued that

The realm of religion is where knowledge leaves off, and where faith begins, and it has never needed the arm of the state for support, and wherever it has received it, it has harmed both the public and the religion it would pretend to serve.

Our Founding Fathers were obviously concerned about this as is shown by article 116 of The Constitution, but up to now members of parliament have been getting away with doing it with impunity. Some even cite their religious dogma as reason for opposing social justice issues.

I suggest that it is high time that we stopped referring to a “conscience vote” which is a euphemism for “cop out” and call it instead a non aligned vote or, as in the UK, a free vote. I put it to you that it is also time for us to restate vigorously and often, that there is no place for religious dogma in the parliament of a secular, democratic country.

1. Vice-President SA Voluntary Euthanasia Society
Past President World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies

By David Nicholls

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