Election 2004 Part 4 - An Analysis of the Rise of Evangelical Religion

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 1 December 2004 0 Comments
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I basically agree with your position on physician-assisted suicide relative to the final physical deterioration of body, health and quality of life. However, you did not address the question about the individual who takes his or her own life while still young and healthy physically (maybe not emotionally) out of depression or due to a catastrophic and devastating event that the individual has experienced, i.e., loss of a loved one or loss of financial or other status. In other words, is it morally right to take one's own life due to what could be a temporary experience of psychic pain or fear of facing the consequences of one's actions or circumstances?


I think that when one votes to terminate meaningless life or unrelievable pain due to an incurable illness, it represents the affirmation of life. But when one votes to terminate life for a situation that, however difficult, is still transitory or curable that is quite different. It is a denial of life and a refusal to seek help. I think suicide under these circumstances represents failure and despair. The failure can be both in the individual and the community in which that individual lives. We are the keepers of our brothers and sisters and we need to be aware of depression among those we love. People who contemplate suicide are crying out for help not making a statement about the value of life. I believe we must seek to save those lives.

-- John Shelby Spong




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