Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Our Crumbling Civilization: Kill The Helpless Edition

A bioethics panel in England, pondering over the ethics of killing severely disabled babies, asked the state-sanctioned religion of the Anglican Church for its opinion on the matter. Today's Daily Mail reports the response:

In the Church of England's contribution to the inquiry, Bishop Butler wrote: "It may in some circumstances be right to choose to withold or withdraw treatment, knowing it will possibly, probably, or even certainly result in death."

The church stressed that it was not saying some lives were not worth living, but said there were "strong proportionate reasons" for "overriding the presupposition that life should be maintained".

The bishop's submission continued: "There may be occasions where, for a Christian, compassion will override the 'rule' that life should inevitably be preserved.

"Disproportionate treatment for the sake of prolonging life is an example of this.

The church said it would support the potentially fatal withdrawal of treatment only if all alternatives had been considered, "so that the possibly lethal act would only be performed with manifest reluctance."

As I read this, I keep thinking of the threads that tie a social democratic state's health care program to an official state church. Were it not for the cost of deformed babies to the state, would the church be asked to offer an opinion? And as long as cost is at the core of the question, how can morality not be tested? And finally, as long as the Church is sanctioned by the state, how can we know whether it speaks for God or Tony Blair?

The headline over the story offered hope for our civilization: Outrage as Church backs call for severely disabled babies to be killed at birth.

I hope this is nothing more than sloppy reporting, but the outrage came not from other churches, or others within the Anglican Church, or general society, but from spokespersons from organizations representing the disabled.

They are indeed entitled to their view, but they should not be alone. And not just organizations representing the elderly, mind you, but all organizations representing life and the giver of life.

hat-tip: memeorandum
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