Barney Zwarts is a member of the Centre for Religion and Social Policy and a senior fellow of the Centre for Public Christianity. The following is an excerpt from an article posted on The Age, 30 July 2017.
Read the full article here.
The question of assisted dying is raw and emotional, based on a very natural human fear, and there are few ethical questions of our time in which reason and evidence have played such a minor role.
Advocates on both sides are mostly guided by the highest motives, and both can point to horror stories, but I don't want to take that line.
The argument that irks me is that "religion" is denying people the autonomy to choose their own death.
I am a Christian, and I oppose the legislation, but not for religious reasons. I have a high regard for the sanctity of human life, but I can imagine the outrage if I suggested only religious people valued life. And I don't suggest it.
My objections are based on human values which most non-believers share.
Recently I talked to a prominent secularist whose organisation has as one objective "ending religious interference" against euthanasia, and lobbies parliaments.
I asked what sort of interference the group had in mind.
"Lobbying politicians behind closed doors," came the reply.
But wasn't that group doing exactly the same thing?
"That's different!" Ah, of course.
I, too, feel the lure of assisted dying for those in long-term terminal suffering. I, too, fear a prolonged and painful dying. But I still have overwhelming concerns about euthanasia, and can only hope I have the courage of my convictions when the time comes (if it should happen that way).
I can explain my objections only briefly. First, although the proposed legislation is as conservative as it could be, slippery slope arguments are impossible to avoid.