(Boston Globe) Massachusetts religious communities divided over doctor-assisted suicide Measure

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Opposition is not uniform. A few denominations, like the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, with about 22,000 members in Massachusetts, officially support the concept. The Unitarians and other mainline Protestant denominations typically do not take positions on specific state proposals.

And, in an age when many ecclesiastical hierarchies are weakening, in a country where many people are used to filtering religious beliefs through personal and secular lenses, ­individual clergy and congregants do not necessarily follow the lead of church officials.

The national Episcopal Church, for example, officially opposes physician-assisted suicide. But the Rev. Daphne B. Noyes, a deacon at the Church of the Advent in Boston and a hospital chaplain, said her work with dying people and their families has led her to ­believe the option should be available under rigorously limited circumstances that ensure that participation by all parties is voluntary and deliberate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted September 17, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Ryan Danker wrote:

I would like to point out that the Church of the Advent, where Daphne Noyles has been appointed as a deacon, should not be associated with her comments here. The Rector and Assistant to the Rector are staunchly orthodox churchmen of the highest caliber. The church is full of orthodox Christian believers.  It’s sad that the Advent is being put in the public spotlight by these comments from the deacon.

September 17, 1:25 pm | [comment link]
2. stjohnsrector wrote:

Sad to see they have a woman in holy orders.

September 17, 1:59 pm | [comment link]
3. Jim the Puritan wrote:

In our legislature, a lot of this “physician assisted suicide” stuff is pushed by the same anti-Catholic activists who also are for unlimited abortion, forcing the Church to recognize same-sex marriage, forcing Catholic hospitals to dispose contraception and abortifacients, taking away the Church’s tax exemption, and changing the laws to abolish statutes of limitation and allow assertion of clergy abuse claims even though there is no evidence other than the accuser’s statement.  So this is as much an anti-Catholic thing as being supposedly being pro-patient.

September 17, 2:23 pm | [comment link]
4. Nikolaus wrote:

[T]he Rev. Daphne B. Noyes, a deacon at the Church of the Advent in Boston and a hospital chaplain, said her work with dying people and their families has led her to ­believe the option should be available under rigorously limited circumstances that ensure that participation by all parties is voluntary and deliberate.

But, what does her work with Holy Scripture tell her?  Silly question I suppose.

September 17, 10:14 pm | [comment link]
5. R. Eric Sawyer wrote:

My largest concern is that a “right” to die would shortly become a “duty” to die. With the justification of overconsumption of expensive resources. Certainly, in terms of years of “productive” life, $100K spent on a 25 year old accident victim is a far better value than $100K spent on care for a bed-ridden 90 year old. The only things that keep than calculus from ruling is the moral belief that it is wrong to terminate the life of the 90 y.o. in order to preserve resources, to preserve a family from debt, to preserve society from medical costs, to preserve insurance companies from large payments.
If the moral line is broken, for the compassionate reasons that I understand, it will become an acceptable choice. Then an expected choice. Then a selfless choice. Then preserving life will become a selfish choice. Then one which an individual may pay for, but not insurance or society (like cosmetic surgery is not covered).

On a much lower level, remember how cell phones originally gave us the power to be in touch, even when not in the office. Now, they give us the expectation, the duty of being in touch 24/7. The right has become a duty.

I see no reason that assisted, chosen death would not do the same.

September 17, 11:37 pm | [comment link]
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