7.25.2005

they used to call it infanticide; now it's "parental choice"

Make some time to read this entire article. It'll take about 10 minutes. Though I really don't know much about the current legal battles being waged over euthanasia and assisted suicide for the disabled, it seems that this issue has already become one of the most important ethical decisions our society will have to make. And I'm not confident that we'll make the right choice. After all, it was a much more conservative, Christianized, Pietist, and "free-market" America that began and supported the overtly racist and classist eugenics programs from 1899 to 1945 (openly--but we now know that eugenics went on in the Western world all the way up until the 1970s). When the Nazis defended their biological and medical ethics against other German critics in the 1930s, they cited doctors and policy makers from the U.S.--many of whom were committed believers that thought they were doing God's will. The American church should be ashamed that atheists are taking more noticable, eloquent stands in defence of the rights of those with disabilities than many Christians. Sure, we are right to rail against abortion, but are we doing anything as a Church or as a society to support those who decided not to kill children who are handicapped? As a Church are we instrumental in helping to provide medical insurance or meaningful labor? Are we helping those that cannot help themselves? Can we really point the finger at "pro-choice liberals" without pointing back at ourselves in condemnation?

6 Comments:

Blogger brian estabrook said...

This sort of thing has bothered me for a long time.

The 'Christian-right' has taken so many stances that are either incomplete or just plain intellectually dishonest.

Take this whole 'pro-life' stance that is so huge.

They stand solidly against any form of abortion (a stand that I share and affirm), but they have a pro-death penalty stance (something which I disagree with) and a completely untalked about stance on this stuff you're talking about.

Not to mention the fact that they're against stem-cell research, yet they have never condemned the process that makes it possible to produce left-over stem-cells - in vitro fertilization.

Oh, I almost forgot the biggest one.

They support WAR. Which, last time I checked, wasn't what we as Christians were supposed to be about. It kind of kills people and shit.

And if you look at the way our churches have handled the war, they have all kinds of memorial services and candlelight vigils for our dead soldiers, but not one goddamn thing for all the innocent Iraqi civilians who have died needlessly.

So, on top of all of this.. they value certain lives more than others.

Oh well, I guess it would be too difficult to form a fully rounded and well-thought out stance on these things..

7/27/2005 10:25 AM  
Blogger e said...

B- I don't know what you're talking about. Who said we were supposed to be meek or poor in spirit or any of that crap? We're supposed to stand up for ourselves against our enemies.... I mean, for our buddies we should bend over backwards--loyalty and all that (plus they might give us something in return)--but our enemies? Screw them.

7/27/2005 12:57 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

I'm not sure Christians can't have differing opinions on some of the issues Brian raised, but I am sure that I agree with one basic principle: many people claim to be pro-life, but their just anti-abortion.

7/27/2005 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

? ???? ??? ????? ????

7/28/2005 1:27 PM  
Blogger e said...

I agree with "anonymous".

But I can also see John's point: these issues are quite grey. The point I think we need to get from issues like this one is that "loving your neighbor" in this case especially means identifying with your disabled neighbor. The follower of utilitarian principles--the founding principles of the United States and the basis of maxims like "God helps those who help themselves"--has little ethical reason to defend those whose lives seem "unhappy" by their standards. The Christian, by contrast, would hopefully be living by different standards and would find utilitarianism shallow, if not repugnant. In fact, we would hope that the Christ-follower actually does something about the connection between utilitarianism and ethics: something like resisting the connection.

But I suppose that John's warning is to be well-taken and that we shouldn't stand in stark opposition to utilitarianism whereever it rears its head.

7/28/2005 11:09 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

BTW,

I meant, of course, to type 'they're,' not 'their.'

Perhaps that contributed to Anon's misunderstanding.

John

7/30/2005 10:03 PM  

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