Thursday, August 8, 2019
Choosing death. . .
In Ontario there is a population of something like 14.3 million people. According to the Office of the Chief Coroner who released updated data for MAiD (euthanasia and assisted suicide) deaths in Ontario, since legalization (June 17, 2016) there were 3302 euthanasia deaths and 1 assisted suicide death, as of June 30, 2019. Unpacking those statistics, there were 774 reported assisted deaths in the first six months of 2019, 1499 reported assisted deaths in 2018, 841 reported assisted deaths in 2017 and 189 reported assisted deaths in 2016. So the number euthanasia deaths are increasing. So far in 2019, there were 406 reported assisted deaths between April 1 and June 30 and 368 reported assisted deaths in the first three months of the year.
It is sad but true that we live in a culture of death -- death as a choice for infants in the womb and death as a choice for the living whose lives are no longer deemed worth living by others or who make that decision for themselves. In a time in which our technology has shown so much promise for the benefit of healing and for the benefit of life, our culture increasingly uses our freedom to choose to end life when it is inconvenient (nearly 95% of all abortions are simply because the mother has determined a pregnancy is not convenient for her) or when life is being seen by others or the individual as no longer worth living. With the promise of all our technology and medical accomplishments has come the reality that life is even more fragile now than ever. It points even more to the profound relevance the Gospel of Jesus Christ has for a world so filled with pain, anxiety, depression, and uncertainty that death has become a normal and even rational choice.
I do not live in Canada and I am not well acquainted enough with things on the ground to see if that is a place where the circumstances can be turned around but I believe there is still the opportunity to present the choice of life and hope to those here in the US -- though time is ticking away as people become accustomed to the choice of death as normal as the choice for medical treatment and the sustenance of life.
For churches like my own, whose stand for the cause of life is historic and ongoing, this presents a real opportunity to address those around us with the hope that only Christ crucified and risen can bring. I believe that now is a ripe moment for the speaking of the Gospel of Life in Christ with passion, eloquence, and genuine faith. While it certainly happens from pulpits and in church classrooms, it happens even more profoundly when Christian people give evidence of the hope within them to those with whom they live and work.