June 5, 2007
Dr. Death Versus Christian Death
Dying well as an argument against assisted suicide.
Jack Kevorkian was released from prison yesterday after spending eight years in jail for killing terminally ill patients. Because of his release, physician-assisted suicide is back in the news.
There are overwhelming arguments against killing people with terminally ill diseases: Doctors are notoriously bad at predicting death. Pain can almost always be treated. There are ways to maintain dignity in people who have lost functionality. Allowing assisted suicide for the terminally ill is ripe for abuse by those who stand to gain financially by offering less medical care at the end of life.
But one of the most compelling arguments is the fact that life's end can hold so many possibilities. David Scholer, a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, is a prime example. Read his story today in the Los Angeles Times.
At the beginning of each course, Scholer announces that he has incurable cancer, but he is so animated when he speaks, it's hard to remember that. The only give-away is that he lectures sitting down - and, when he walks, takes careful steps and uses a cane.
Scholer also has asthma, diabetes and arthritis but stills counts the "wonderful" blessings of his life: Jeannette, his wife of 46 years; two grown daughters, Emily and Abigail; extended family; friends; students; and his calling. He is excited about walking down the aisle with Abigail at her wedding in Pasadena on June 16, the day before Father's Day.
If we Christians intentionally practiced dying well, could we add that to our arguments against assisted-suicide? Write me with your thoughts.