Once again in the mind-boggling arena of politics the ugly head of killing old and feeble people is on the agenda. Exodus 23:7 states “Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not; for I will not justify the wicked.”
Euthanasia is, of course, morally and Biblically wrong. As believers we should see to safeguard the God-given right to life, to which every individual is entitled. According to the humanistic philosophy, your life is in danger if you are very old, mentally ill, or severely handicapped. These individuals have God-given life and spiritual desires and should be treated with compassion, dignity and encouragement. Proverbs 6:16-19...”The Lord hates...hands that shed innocent blood and a heart that devises wicked plans.” Those who wish to destroy others because they are “no longer profitable” or “costly” are classified as “wicked.”
I. Historical Aspects of Euthanasia
When Hitler of Germany issued his direct order for euthanasia of the Jews in 1939, all German state institutions were required to report patients who had been ill for at least five years or who were unable to work. The decision of which patients lived or died was based entirely on a brief questionnaire. The Nazi authorities that pronounced their death were professors of psychiatry at major universities in Germany. The never even saw the individuals that they pronounced the death sentence upon.
The first to be killed in the 1940's, during the holocaust, and also in the Middle Ages, were the aged, the infirmed, the senile, the mentally retarded, and “defective” children. The German Nazi power even went so far as to exterminate children with badly modeled ears, epileptic, and bed-wetters.
According to the News Service Publications, “The mass extermination of Germany’s undesirables started with the acceptance of the attitude basic to the euthanasia philosophy, that “there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.” This is the attitude that is being widely debated and accepted today in the abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia movement.
II. Present Day Concept of Euthanasia
Euthanasia is not a mere fear for the future. It has survived and is now present in the American Medical practice. Even today doctors in the United States are debating whether it is better to starve “undesirables” to death or administer fatal injections. “Voices in our government are looking for ways to reduce health care costs,” states Denyse Handlen in her book, Mercy Killing.
Well meaning people are attracted to what might seem to be the beneficial aspects of some form of euthanasia. Americans must not be misled or tranquilized by assurances that this practice is limited to the “terminally ill.” Abortion was once proposed as a last resort to desperate cases, but today is a commonplace procedure. “To say that this subject can be carefully controlled is either naive or deceitful,” The Right To Live, The Right To Die - C. Everett Koop.
Former Governor Richard Land of Colorado shocked the nation in March, 1984, when he told a group of health lawyers that “sick people have a duty to die and get out of the way and let the well society build a reasonable life.”
III. The Biblical Perspective of the Right To Life
I Corinthians 3:16-17 reminds us that our bodies are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in us. That makes life very precious to God. As the movement continues to gather momentum, euthanasia is moving into the spotlight as the great moral issue of the twenty-first century. Turning to the Bible for answers is the only possible guideline. The “Dying with Dignity” movement is worldwide, and its membership is swelling. The Hemlock Society is one of thirty seven organizations of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies in twenty three countries.
The Word encourages life for all ages: Psalms 8:2 - Babies; Psalms 127:3-5 - Children; Matthew 5:21 - Adults.