“With other faith leaders”

The archbishop of Canterbury has written a typically (typically for the office rather than the person – I have no idea what’s typical of Justin Welby the person, nor do I care) dishonest and bullying piece about an assisted dying bill that Parliament will be debating.

With other faith leaders, I have joined in writing to members of parliament, urging them to oppose Rob Marris’s assisted dying bill.

We have written, not in an attempt to push “the religious” viewpoint on others but because we are concerned that a change in the current law on assisted suicide would have detrimental effects both on individuals and on our society.

There’s the first dishonest bit right there – of course it’s an attempt to push “the religious” viewpoint on others. What the fuck else would it be? Notice that four words into his piece he tells us he and his fellow clerics are “leaders” – that’s very loaded, manipulative, dishonest language.

While some individual religious voices, including that of my distinguished predecessor, Lord Carey, have called for a change in the law, the faith leaders’ letter represents the considered opinion of our communities that have analysed, discussed and debated the issue over many years. Their response springs from philosophical and theological reflections as well as from a vast range of pastoral experience and a profound sense of compassion.

Bully bully bully, it’s all bullying. It’s all loaded language meant to shame and pressure everyone into agreeing with the nice pious compassionate man and his nice pious compassionate friends. “Religious voices”; “distinguished”; “faith leaders”; “our communities”; “theological reflections”; “vast range of pastoral experience”; “profound sense of compassion.” It’s eyewash, it’s flapdoodle; it’s bullshit.

What there is of the substance:

While it is not a crime in the UK for someone to take his or her own life, we recognise that it is a tragedy and we, rightly, do all that we can to prevent suicide.

Not always. If there are ways to help the person planning suicide such that suicide would no longer be desirable, we do all we can to do that. If there are no ways to help – that’s a different story. Clearly some people will still do all they can to interfere, but the claim the archbish is resisting is that they shouldn’t.

At present, we can show love, care and compassion to those who at all ages and stages of life are contemplating suicide. We can try to intervene, to support them to embrace life once more. We can do all in our power to surround those who are terminally ill with the best possible palliative care, including physical, emotional and spiritual support. We can redouble our efforts to alleviate suffering.

We can still do that, with assisted dying in place. Assisted dying would not prevent that. It’s not up to other people to decide what level of suffering anyone has to bear. If X says thank you for all your efforts but you can’t alleviate the suffering and I want to check out now, it’s not the job of “faith leaders” to bar the door.

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