Life Itself

The newest Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch is the first Episcopalian justice in some time (Justice Stephen Breyer’s daughter Chloe is an Episcopal priest in Manhattan). I have no particular comments on his previous judicial opinions, but I think that his book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia warrants notice by Gorsuch’s fellow Episcopalians.

Gorsuch warns of the slippery slope along which assisted suicide slides into homicide and then murder. If you think that’s extremist, consider that in the Netherlands (the country where euthanasia has been legal the longest), an elderly woman suffering from dementia was held down by her family until a doctor could administer enough drugs to kill her. Also in Holland, a young woman in her twenties was given permission to euthanize herself because she was suffering the traumas of earlier sexual abuse. A new study in Canada advises that the national health care system there could save millions of dollars if people were allowed to kill themselves.

I don’t deny that assisted suicide and mercy killing are complicated issues. I often say that if I become senile or disabled, I want to be put on an ice floe, like the Eskimos. But, still, for Christians, life is a gift of God. Since the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, we should be very careful before we do some of the taking. —J. Douglas Ousley

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