Anglican Diocese of Armidale

The Anglican Diocese of Armidale exists to glorify God by introducing people to Jesus and helping them home to heaven.


In Focus

Euthanasia in a time of COVID

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

I recently heard a man express the view that he would rather vote for a communist dog catcher than for someone who did not respect life. I am not sure about a communist dog catcher but I am sure that a vote for someone who will not defend the sanctity of human life is a vote for a very uncertain future.

Pre-election desire to introduce euthanasia into Queensland by Annastacia Palaszczuk is conspicuous in its timing. While “voluntary”, it has to be said that such a commitment to death during the COVID-19 pandemic is very confusing.

For the past eight months COVID-19 has made the care of the aged and the protections of those in nursing homes of paramount importance. We have been reminded of the vulnerability of those over the age of 60 to this disease. Outbreaks of COVID-19 in age care facilities has attracted significant media attention and struck fear into many families while bringing grief to others. More recently the newspapers have reported on the mental illness accompanying COVID-19 and the spate of suicides that have left communities reeling. None of those reports on people choosing death in preference to life have suggested such actions as a positive thing. Rather, the desire is to get to the bottom of what would cause such decisions and provide help and answers. Suicide is seen rightly as a problem and not as something to legislate in favour of.

I have from time to time wondered why the advocates of euthanasia have been so quiet during COVID-19. COVID-19, it could be argued, provided the perfect opportunity to end the lives of people like you and me with no injection required. A simple infection, not unlike the flu, removing frail lives and the economic drain. Sounds practical! However, the sane person says it sounds terrible or even evil. To be fair, the advocates of euthanasia are thankfully not yet suggesting something involuntary. However, it is not a big step from appreciating someone’s desire to die to not taking the concerns of the vulnerable all that seriously in a pandemic – be it the aged in a nursing home or a youth in depression.

All of this, and Premier Palaszczuk, the gate keeper to Queensland, the warden of the state, the decision maker for the safety of the people of that state, has decided to offer Queensland a commitment to euthanasia. At a time when her compassion credentials have been questioned by many, you would hardly think her offering of death to the people would improve her standing. I think you’d be forgiven for thinking that this decision is quite odd. Whether you are for or against euthanasia, you would have to say her timing is dreadful. But is it politically astute?

If Premier Palaszczuk is of the view that her government will be returned, then to introduce her commitment to euthanasia in the last moments before the election is cunning. Should she be reappointed, she will no doubt play on the vote as support for her ministry of death and this without any formal or proper debate. This may be “premier cunning” but let’s hope the Queensland voter is wise to the potential abuse.

“Imago Dei” is the historic Christian expression and description of humanity and our worth. For those unfamiliar with the expression, it is simply translated the “Image of God”. It is an expression that reminds every human being of the dignity and infinite value God has vested in our creation. It is interesting that our self-destructive actions that deny such dignity and pervert the life given find the same God who created us entering our world to redeem and restore life as intended. In other words, God has invested the “Imago Dei” with hope for life even when death was in prospect. God breathed life into humanity, spared life at the cross on which Jesus Christ was involuntarily euthanized by human sinfulness, offered the hope of life in Christ’s resurrection and called on the living to live exemplary lives toward others while both living and dying.

God intended us for life. When we intend for death, we have become a very upside down world led by very upside down thinking. I pray for better thinking, for my compassion pleads life for us all, not death. In death, my compassion pleads for the hope found in God. With compassion for the Premier of Queensland, I will pray, for her decisions are not insignificant and her accountability eternal.

Rick Lewers