Doctors seek consensus on physician-assisted suicide
THE British Medical Association annual conference has decided to hold an extra conference within the next twelve months to reach a consensus view on physician-assisted suicide. It was stated in the debate that recent research suggests that some doctors now see a greater moral acceptability in physician-assisted suicide (when the patient is in control), compared with euthanasia (when the doctor or another person is in control, even if the patient has agreed to it).
The Chairman of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee, Michael Wilks, stressed that both physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal and criminal. He added, “I know that when my turn comes I want a doctor to give me a lot of assistance.” He recalled that in 1968 the BMA had decided that abortion was unethical. Four years later, he said, the BMA changed its mind. He then implied that perhaps the young go-ahead doctors of today may lead the way in favouring physician-assisted suicide. It was a motion on the subject from junior doctors which led to the debate in conference.
It is ominous that a person in Dr Wilks’ position speaks in terms which convey the impression that he himself favours physician-assisted suicide. As Biblical Christianity and morality diminish, so the divine prohibition against unlawful killing, whether assisted suicide or euthanasia, is increasingly lost sight of. We fear that the BMA is not far away from doing an about-turn, as it did in 1972.
The membership of the so-called Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) has expanded dramatically from one million to ten million in the 40 years from 1957. One estimate has it that by the year 2080 the number of Mormons across the world will increase to the tremendous figure of 267 million. Such an estimate, however, for a time so far into the future, is highly unlikely to be at all accurate. Besides, it must be pointed out that infants are counted as members as soon as they are taken to a Mormon meeting, and adults who stop attending may also be counted.
There is no denying that, with a public image generated by the well-groomed young representatives who go out two by two to make converts, many find Mormonism attractive. Also, in an age when so many religious bodies seem to allow their clergy to believe anything, or nothing at all, the definite beliefs of the Mormons are appealing appealing but false. No one should be in any doubt; their beliefs are heretical, even bizarre. In the words of one ex-Mormon: “Its theology is as close to Christianity as Hinduism”. The Bible is put to one side; only the Book of Mormon is deemed infallible. Yet, because the Mormons’ leader is treated as a prophet, he is believed to have the authority to modify existing doctrines. Most famously when, in 1890, they altered their official position on polygamy.
But what, in fact, will the next 82 years bring about? Who can tell? What is clear is that we desperately need days of the right hand of the Son of Man, when truth will replace error, days when the Word of God will be powerfully applied by the Holy Spirit. Then, instead of continuing to grow dramatically, Mormonism will wither away, along with many other systems of false religion which are at present deceiving multitudes of souls for eternity.
The age of homosexual consent
In voting for the age of consent to be reduced to 16 the House of Commons showed itself disdainful of the views of the public. According to opinion polls, 70 per cent of the population are against reducing the age. When the Commons is determined to foist its own brand of morality, or rather immorality, on the nation, it is good to hear that the House of Lords is likely to overturn the Commons decision. An all-party coalition of peers is mobilising to block the proposal, and the signs at the time of writing are that a sufficient number will vote against the measure on Wednesday, 22nd July. We hope and pray that they will be successful.
Already, homosexual campaigners fear defeat, and no doubt, if the Commons decision is overturned by the House of Lords there will be a strident and ferocious reaction from this vociferous minority. Their hostile pronouncements show that they view as sheer bigotry any criticism, whether religious or medical, of the lifestyle of practising homosexuals. When a group of Christians recently placed an advert in The New York Times in which a former homosexual testified that she was enabled by God to overcome this sinful perversion, a so-called gay rights spokesman stated, “The bigotry, hatred and intolerance that this ad represents is the real perversion.” However much these perverted people misrepresent the Biblical view of sodomy, God’s Word does not cease to condemn it; nor does it cease to call such sinners to repentance.
Free Church Plenary Assembly
AT its General Assembly the Free Church considered some Overtures which had in view the ending of the division which plagues the Church and to effect “an honourable reconciliation”. A modified proposal to set up a Special Commission and to begin a process which might lead to a Plenary Assembly was finally agreed to. Such an Assembly cannot be called unless a majority of presbyteries agree. Early indications are that “Free Church presbyteries are moving towards calling a plenary Assembly”, according to a press report. So far, two of the 11 presbyteries are in favour of a plenary Assembly, said the Clerk of the Assembly, Professor John Mackay, with none so far opposed.
It seems that tensions between the conservative wing and the liberal wing, with Professor Macleod as its standard-bearer, are still at a height. Whether or not the special Assembly (if it meets) will result in a lasting peace remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that a sifting process is going on in the Church.