May 10, 2005
Euthanasia: The Power To KillTopics: Commentary
"'Euthanasia' is an act most often practiced on our pets," Ken Concannon begins his column in the Arlington Catholic Herald.
We have them "put down," or "put to sleep," or "euthanized" when they become so ill that there is no likelihood that they will ever get better. We tell ourselves that we deliberately end their lives to end their suffering. And maybe we do, [but] then again, a crippled and incontinent German Shepherd in your house can be incredibly inconvenient. When we end his suffering we also end ours, while telling ourselves we're doing it for him.
In the end, it is a matter of power.
Regardless of whether we euthanize our disabled pets to ease their suffering or to end the inconvenience they cause, we do it because our society recognizes euthanizing pets as acceptable behavior. We do it because the lives of animals are not sacred. We do it because they have no inalienable right to life. We do it because we can.
On the other hand, Concannon continues:
Christian tradition, combined with the awful history of the Nazi euthanasia programs of the last century, has taught us that euthanizing human beings is inherently wrong. Human life is considered sacred. We are consequently held to a higher standard when it comes to caring for the weakest among us. We cannot euthanize the sick and the elderly when they become incontinent and are in pain--even to end their suffering. Euthanasia for human beings is illegal almost everywhere.
On the books, that is—scarce consolation to its growing number of victims, for as Concannon reports, "the efficacy of euthanizing human beings is now discussed in university classrooms, in legislative bodies, and in court rooms."
The euthanasia movement is on the rise. It is now legal in Belgium and the Netherlands. Assisted suicide, a form of passive euthanasia, is legal in Oregon. American courts have lately been siding with what Pope John Paul II called the "culture of death." Our courts have recently thwarted federal efforts to undo Oregon's assisted suicide program, and to save a disabled Florida woman from "right to die" activists.
Terri Schindler Schiavo's "awful death" serves as a testament to the deceit inherent in the Culture of Death that is engulfing the West, Concannon concludes.
While euthanasia activists spin euphemisms about the "quality of life" and the "right to die," they are trying to get us to forget that our lives, unlike those of animals, are sacred.
Alas, they are succeeding.
Cross-posted to Life Matters!
Posted by earl at May 10, 2005 7:59 PM
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