Monday, 12 March 2012

A response to euthanansia stories

One of the most-read posts on my blog is "7 reasons why I'm against euthanasia". This makes me slightly nervous, as I wonder whether any of the things I wrote will be seen as insensitive and ignorant, and indeed whether I myself will come to disagree with any points made previously.

What also worries me is that there is a propensity among religious people (including myself sadly) to jump headlong into any debate with their opinion of what's right and wrong. When it comes to euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage or whatever the first question we want to ask is "are you for or against?", which can be summarised in various ways: "are you right or wrong?" and "are you on my side or on their side?" being two prime examples.

As Adlai Stevenson shrewdly observed, some people approach every problem with an open mouth.

The tragedy then, is that when we hear another news story about someone with a debilitating illness asking for the right to have their life ended we call it a story about euthanasia, and we pronounce our judgement. To some people, though, this is not a story about euthanasia, it's a story about Tony Nicklinson. He is a real person (not a 'case') who is suffering, and who needs compassion more than he needs to hear seven reasons why I disagree with euthanasia.

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