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UCCtruths

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Clergy Assisted Suicide

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Debate about physician-assisted suicide is making a comeback albeit with a new twist. Short on cash and political capital to make physician-assisted suicide legal, advocates in California with a number of UCC clergy are now promoting an "End of Life Consultation Service". The idea is that clergy and other volunteers would be trained to provide resources for terminally ill patients to take their own lives.

I'm probably not the only one a little weirded out by the idea of clergy taking such an active role in the death of another person. In theory, doctors are voluntarily bound to
the ethical principles embodied in the Hippocratic Oath to not assist in a suicide but clergy have no such constraint outside of their own religious convictions.

The moral and political conflicts are obvious. Having watched three terminally ill family members die naturally before I was 30 years old, I've experienced the anguish that families face as loved ones suffer before death. At one point in my life I callously dismissed advocates for assisted suicide as cowards for finding ways of ducking life's last journey while admiring family members who courageously died naturally and with dignity. As time passes though, I really wonder what honor and dignity there is in suffering.
I've often wondered why medicine hasn't evolved to the point to where doctors can administer drugs that would keep patients unconscious while death happens naturally. There is probably some medical reason it can't done for certain types of patients and I understand that pain management is still evolving.

Still, I couldn't imagine enlisting the services of clergy through this process. I can't think of another profession more poorly equipped to manage this
"End of Life Consultation" except perhaps a Real Estate agent. It's really a reflection of arrogant clergy who hold themselves in such high regard that they are now experts on everything from politics, insurance, physics, geology to economics, biology and diplomacy. I certainly have no desire to spend my last days with someone giving me and my family tips they picked up at a seminar on expediting my departure. I'd just as much prefer the consultation of a formally educated hospice nurse while my minister tends to my family's spiritual needs - which is ultimately what they are trained to do.
posted by UCCtruths, Tuesday, September 18, 2007

2 Comments:

I thought maybe plumbers would be lower on the list, but they have lead pipes. Or the UPS guy, but he drives that big truck. When you stop and think about it though, the minister could preach her/his last 10 sermons back to back, and it would probably do anyone in. Oh, that would be murder, though.
commented by Blogger Steve, 3:29 PM  
I hear Jesus crying.
these people are absolutely NUTS!!!
So, help us God, please.
commented by Anonymous charles stephen, 8:07 PM  

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