Category : Life Ethics

(The Goodbook) Vaughan Roberts on assisted dying, dignity and dependence

How should Christians bring our perspective into the public debates about assisted dying?

Well for a start, we need to make sure that we are involved in these discussions, even if it’s just closer to home—in our offices, in our communities, among our friends, as well as in the national debate. We’ve got good news to share—so let’s get engaged. So much of this discussion assumes that some lives are just not worth living—and Christians need to say, no, every life has dignity.

Second, we’ve also got something important to say about suffering. Our culture can’t cope with suffering—it wants to reduce suffering as much as possible and at all costs. Christians say suffering is bad—it’s a result of the fall—but God can be wonderfully at work in and through it.

And third, I think one key assumption underlying the argument for assisted suicide is that there’s just nothing worse than being dependent on others. But a Christian worldview says that actually our dependence on God and on one another is fundamental to our humanity. It’s a good thing! Illnesses brings that dependence to the fore, and that can be mutually very uplifting—for the carer and the one being cared for—even in the midst of very hard times. My father found the loss of independence the hardest aspect of his illness to cope with. At the very end of his life he was paralysed and unable to speak. Those last few days were intensely sad and yet also, in a strange way, profoundly beautiful. He had given so much to us and now we in the family had the privilege of caring for him, stroking and kissing him, singing his favourite hymns and praying. Such dependence is not undignified. This is being human.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Books, Children, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Theology

NYT: How one Christian School Dealt with a Teenager who bravely chose to Keep her Baby

Ms. Runkles’s story sheds light on a delicate issue: how Christian schools, which advocate abstinence until marriage, treat pregnant teenagers.

“You have these two competing values,” said Brad Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who directs the National Marriage Project, which conducts research on marriage and families. “On the one hand, the school is seeking to maintain some kind of commitment to what has classically been called chastity — or today might be called abstinence. At the same time, there’s an expectation in many Christian circles that we are doing all that we can to honor life.”

Navigating that balance is exceedingly difficult for Christian educators, and schools respond in various ways, said Rick Kempton, chairman of the board of the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents about 3,000 schools in the United States and many others overseas.

“There’s a biblical term that many Christian schools use, and it is the whole idea of grace: What would Jesus do?” Mr. Kempton said. Of Ms. Runkles, he added: “She’s making the right choice. But you don’t want to create a celebration that makes other young ladies feel like, ‘Well, that seems like a pretty good option.’”

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Uncategorized

(Gallup) Americans Hold Record Liberal Views on Most Moral Issues

Americans continue to express an increasingly liberal outlook on what is morally acceptable, as their views on 10 of 19 moral issues that Gallup measures are the most left-leaning or permissive they have been to date. The percentages of U.S. adults who believe birth control, divorce, sex between unmarried people, gay or lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, doctor-assisted suicide, pornography and polygamy are morally acceptable practices have tied record highs or set new ones this year. At the same time, record lows say the death penalty and medical testing on animals are morally acceptable.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sociology

(NYT) Dutch Fertility Doctor Swapped Donors’ Sperm With His, Lawsuit Claims

Twelve people who were conceived with sperm from a Dutch fertility center have filed a lawsuit asserting that its longtime director is their biological father, and that over several decades, he swapped donors’ sperm with his own.

The 12 people, and 10 mothers who suspect that their children were conceived using the clinic director’s sperm, filed a lawsuit on Friday asking a court in Rotterdam to give them access to the DNA of the clinic director, Dr. Jan Karbaat, who died last month at 89.

“I’m hoping that the judge will allow us to extract the DNA so we can use it to find out if we are his children,” one plaintiff, Moniek Wassenaar, 36, said in an interview. The 12 people are 8 to 36 years old. Some of the 10 mothers in the suit conceived children who are still minors.

From 1980 to 2009, Dr. Karbaat ran a sperm bank in the rear of his stately yellow brick house in the Bijdorp section of Schiedam, near Rotterdam. He became well known in the field of assisted reproduction. About 10,000 children are estimated to have been conceived at the clinic.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, The Netherlands

(CNS) Belgian brothers to allow euthanasia for nonterminal psych patients

A group of psychiatric care centers run by a Catholic religious order in Belgium has announced it will permit doctors to undertake the euthanasia of “nonterminal” mentally ill patients on its premises.

In a nine-page document, the Brothers of Charity Group stated that it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia in any of its 15 centers, which provide care to more than 5,000 patients a year, subject to carefully stipulated criteria.

Br. Rene Stockman, the superior general, has distanced himself from the decision of the group’s largely lay board of directors, however, and has told Belgian media that the policy was a tragedy.

“We cannot accept that euthanasia is carried out within the walls of our institutions,” said Stockman, a specialist in psychiatric care, in an April 27 interview with De Morgen newspaper in Brussels.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Belgium, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Roman Catholic

(Globe+Mail) Sheema Kahn–Cultural sensitivities must never override gender equality

While Canada has legislation against the practice of FGM, there are no laws that prosecute parents who send their daughters abroad to have the procedure done. In contrast, France and the United States have outlawed “FGM tourism.” It is time for Canada to follow their lead.

And while Ottawa has moved to address FGM, our governments have failed to address female feticide. They ignored the call by Dr. Rajendra Kale, in 2012, to ban disclosure of the sex of a fetus until 30 weeks (after which point an abortion is difficult). South Korea banned such disclosures in 1988, helping to reverse gender imbalance.

Finally, there can be no change unless there is opposition within communities. There will be pressure to circle the wagons in wake of negative media coverage. I still remember an Ottawa community leader telling a local congregation, following the “honour killing” of Aqsa Parvez, that the media were trying to make the Muslim community look “bad.” Outrage was not directed at family violence, but at the media for covering that violence.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Violence, Women

(Globe and Mail) Unnatural selection: Babies in the genetic technology age

The notion of tinkering with an embryo’s DNA – let alone creating designer babies – makes many of us recoil. But let us not forget the shock and horror at the news of the first “test-tube baby,” Louise Brown, in 1978.

After her birth, her parents received blood-spattered hate mail (and a tiny plastic fetus). Now we call it IVF, and no one bats an eye.

Technologies that allow parents to pick and choose embryos based on genetic testing are already a quarter of a century old. But the dawn of CRISPR, a technology that can “edit” mutated DNA at the embryo stage, has raised the spectre of Nazi-era eugenics and identikit babies out of a sci-fi thriller.

What if laws were in place to forbid scientists from using technologies to create the superrace we fear? What if we had consensus, and an ethical framework, to decide which embryos should live, and which should die?

Such questions are the beating heart of science journalist Bonnie Rochman’s new book, The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies are Changing the Way We Have Kids – and the Kids We Have, published in February.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology

Ed Stetzer—Being pro-life means caring about all of human life. That includes being pro-refugee

First, evangelicals have been involved with refugee resettlement for a long time and in a lot of churches. Many evangelical leaders have advocated for refugees, from all different faiths, for years. They know the program, and they know the refugees — and they know it’s safe and a good way to show the love of Christ.

Second, evangelical leaders, knowing the facts, are emboldened to speak when alternative facts may be holding sway elsewhere, particularly when those alternative facts are hurting the most vulnerable. In the Christian tradition, we call that speaking prophetically — like prophets in what Christians call the Old Testament, we have to sometimes speak to our own people and remind them of what is right.

Third, many evangelical leaders have had an uneasy connection with the Trump administration. Yes, they know that white evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for President Trump, and many strongly agree with Trump’s stated concerns about religious liberty, the Supreme Court, and more. But they want — and even need — room to disagree with a president who has said and done many things contrary to their beliefs. Speaking up for refugees is one of the areas where many believe they can.

Read it all from Vox.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Immigration, Life Ethics, Uncategorized

(Economist) Gene editing, clones and the science of making babies

It used to be so simple. Girl met boy. Gametes were transferred through plumbing optimised by millions of years of evolution. Then, nine months later, part of that plumbing presented the finished product to the world. Now things are becoming a lot more complicated. A report published on February 14th by America’s National Academy of Sciences gives qualified support to research into gene-editing techniques so precise that genetic diseases like haemophilia and sickle-cell anaemia can be fixed before an embryo even starts to develop. The idea of human cloning triggered a furore when, 20 years ago this week, Dolly the sheep was revealed to the world (see article); much fuss about nothing, some would say, looking back. But other technological advances are making cloning humans steadily more feasible.

Some are horrified at the prospect of people “playing God” with reproduction. Others, whose lives are blighted by childlessness or genetic disease, argue passionately for the right to alleviate suffering. Either way, the science is coming and society will have to work out what it thinks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

The full Text of the Evangelical Alliance Statement–The Reformation, evangelicals+Roman Catholicism

Same-sex relationships and marriage. Drawing especially on the biblical creation narrative (Gen. 2:23-4) and on the teaching of Jesus and Paul (Matt. 19:1-12; Eph. 5:22-3), evangelicals and Catholics have widely co-operated in recent times in the promotion, support and defence of marriage as a one-flesh union of one man and one womanfor life. Marriage in this sense has been presented by both as the foundational institution of human society ”“ a corollary to the common good which delivers better outcomes overall for spouses, children and communities than other forms of co-habitation. Alongside this convictionabout monogamous, heterosexual marriage, evangelicals and Catholics have also agreed in highlighting biblical representations of sexually active same-sex unions as falling outside God’s purposes for human relationships and human society. In more recent times, this has meant widespread joint action to oppose legislation approving same-sex marriage. Where same-sex marriage has been legalised, it has meant working together to protect the rights of churches and their ministers to reaffirm heterosexual marriage, and to retain the right to conduct only heterosexual marriages. At the same time, however, evangelicals and Catholics have worked more closely together on welcoming same-sex attracted people and same-sex couples in the church context, and on dialoguing with LGBTI groups to ensure mutual respect and understanding in this contentious area of Christian ethics, ministry and
pastoral care.

Read it all (8 page pdf).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Evangelicals, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

The Diocese of South Carolina Contingent at the 2017 March for Life

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

South Carolina Rector Shay Gaillard Writes on why he Marched for Life this week


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Friday morning the 20th of January, the Mall in Washington, DC, was the sight of the much-publicized Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America. One week later on January 27, the Mall will once again be the sight of an important event to protest prayerfully a legal decision in the United States known as Roe v. Wade from January 22, 1973. This event on the Mall will receive far less coverage than the Inauguration but is every bit as important. This year, I will make the trip to be a part of the March for Life with the contingent from Anglicans for Life and bishops from the Anglican Church in North America.

I have long protested the act of protesting. In fact, I ironically responded to the request to be a part of a “March for Jesus” in the 90’s by saying “I do not march.” Well it turns out God has other plans. So why would I leave family and home in a busy week in January? Why would I go somewhere colder than Beaufort? Simply, why march? I want to offer three main reasons:

I am marching because I am convinced that the Bible requires me to speak up for the voiceless and defenseless in our culture. No one has less power in our world than the unborn.
I am marching because I believe that the Life issue is not political but scriptural. I believe it is intrinsic to our faith, not optional.
I am marching because I want to bear witness to these truths with other Brothers and Sisters as well as other co-belligerents. I want to feel the strength of the pro-life movement in this country. Most polls show this country at about 50% pro-life but that strength is not often represented in the media.

This Sunday, we will celebrate Sanctity of Life Sunday at St. Helena’s, and there will be a bulletin insert from Anglicans for Life. I will be teaching about the sanctity of human life from a biblical perspective during the Rector’s Forum. We also will have information about the Radiance Women’s Center here in Beaufort. My hope is that many of you will feel called to join me in starting an Anglicans for Life chapter here at St. Helena’s. I believe there is much for us to do in our church and in the community to uphold the cause of life.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Blessings,

(The Rev) Shay Gaillard, rector, Saint Helena’s, Beaufort, SC

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NR) Huge, Diverse Crowd Marches for Life in the Nation’s Capital

“We are the pro-life generation,” the crowd chanted, voices building to an overwhelming crescendo with each repetition of the line. Packed onto the National Mall across the street from the White House Friday, the revelers deafened one another with their joyful shouts, tens of thousands gathered just across the street from President Donald Trump’s new home, smiling and laughing and breaking into spontaneous cheers.

Such was the scene at the 44th annual March for Life, first held here on January 22, 1974, one year to the day after the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide. In good weather and in bad ”” given Washington’s bitter Januaries, it’s usually the latter ”” crowds swarm the Mall every year to protest against the country’s abortion laws and to advocate for the protection of unborn life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Washington Post's Live coverage of the March for Life

Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Media, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Women from around the nation ready to trek to the March for Life

Rebecca Cooper spent 27 hours on a charter bus on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last year full of teens and Christian youth leaders from West Michigan when she attended the March for Life in 2016.

Despite being stranded in two feet of snow, the then 18-year-old Michigander from Grand Rapids said their group was resilient; two members hiked across the field from the Turnpike to the home of a farmer, who then took them to a grocery store to get food. They also found creative ways to stay warm, including using prayer and song to keep them from letting the cold and confining circumstances get the best of them.

“It was an experience that made me even more devoted to attending this year’s march as opposed to discouraging me,” she said.

Read it all. You can find the website here and you can follow the twitter hashtag #marchforlife.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women