On assisted dying, government should respect the beliefs of religious hospitals

on assisted dying  government should respect the beliefs of religious hospitals

If, as individuals, we can believe, then why is it so difficult to think that institutions cannot have the same beliefs as their creators? If a group believes that animals are entitled to basic health care, would we be surprised that they would found a hospital based on those beliefs? If that same animal rights group is of the view that it would be morally wrong to end the life of an animal that is depressed, would we be surprised that a policy against euthanasia would be written in the corporate objects or the bylaws of their animal hospital? Of course not. …

Just because government gives money to a religious hospital does not mean that government gets to force what services that hospital will provide.

Read more of my Op-Ed piece in the National Post:  http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/barry-w-bussey-on-assisted-dying-government-should-respect-the-beliefs-of-religious-hospitals


Thoughts on On assisted dying, government should respect the beliefs of religious hospitals

  1. Juan Atencio

    Good read. It sounds like the absolutism presented against Trinity Western University school of law is spilling over other aspects of our society. Is there a philosophical orientation that is driving the way we think as a society?

    1. ccccBarry W. Bussey Post author

      Juan you are correct in your observation. The premise behind the TWU case and this current matter suggests that religious institutions have a limited role in the public square. There is an expectation that religious institutions must conform to the public norm. But notice how quickly public norms change. About a year ago it was a crime for a physician to intentionally cause the death of a patient. Then the Supreme Court of Canada allowed it for the exceptional case – making it a virtual human right. Now the parliamentary committee is suggesting it be expanded further. So at what point along this continuum is the “public norm” – by the time an institution would meet the SCC ruling it would already be out of date with changes coming in Parliament. The point is this: the “public norm” is a fluid concept. Even if the hospitals wanted to keep pace they would have difficulty. However, religious communities with thousands of years of human reason and philosophy and analysis of what it means to be a human are not, nor can they be expected to be, like a wind vane going whichever way public opinion blows.

      1. Juan Atencio

        Thanks for sharing. I must say I don’t fully understand the relation between the Supreme Court of Canada and the Parliement in regards the development of laws. I’ll have to pick up a 101 book on the subject! However, if the “public norm” is shaped by our corporate conscience and this last is trained more and more by government regulated school boards, where are we being led and on what ideological foundation? The humanistic ideas of the 1700 & 1800’s? Or is it based on the ruling party’s ideology?

  2. Debbie McLean

    Thank you Barry for sharing this information about what is happening and the decisions that are being made about assisted suicide. Most Canadians do not realize or care what is being decided in our courts. I was at a ministerial meeting a few weeks ago and basically what you have written here is what was being reported to us during that meeting by someone who attended the hearings. I honestly felt sick to my stomach listening to it. We live in a very messed up world and it only proves to me where we are at in earths history and how desperately we need a Saviour.

    1. ccccBarry W. Bussey Post author

      Thanks so much Debbie for telling us that story. These are difficult times for physicians who cannot, because of conscience, be involved in this. It raises the question of whether our society has room enough for those physicians to continue to practice medicine. Is the physician’s personal conscience that seeks to support life somehow suspect in our age? Yet, while we can sympathize with those who seek to end their own suffering do they have the right to have the state compel another to do it? These are difficult decisions. I have concluded that the state has no business enforcing its moral view on this matter on the physician or on the religious healthcare institution.

  3. Barbara

    Thank-you for sharing, Barry…
    This issue has been very much on my mind. It’s disturbing. I’ve been wanting to make time to write on it myself as well. I continue to be astounded by decisions, such as this one, made by government bodies. As I personally know the darkness of depression and the places it can take you, I see this issue as one that is extremely ‘dicey’. For the person IN that darkness, they don’t want death but they DO want the pain to end. When all avenues for help have been roads that led to nowhere, the depressed run out of hope. At times, I know I did.

    When will mental health receive the attention and respect it deserves? It’s not as sexy as heart health or breast cancer or high blood pressure for that matter. Even the common cold and the flu virus get more respect! And yet, rates for depression are on a major incline with many who suffer in silence due to the ever present stigma associated with it. Where’s the court ruling to mandate further funding toward research and wellness programs for these individuals?! I seriously cannot help but think of this ruling as at least a partial means of population control.

    There’s so much I could say on this. It’s disheartening, to say the least, that rather than dig deeper and implement further programming to offer HELP, HOPE, and a HAND UP, the government would rather say “you’re right, your life sucks, that’s really too bad, allow us to help you end it.”

    1. ccccBarry W. Bussey Post author

      Thanks Barbara for sharing. What you say is very powerful. I do hope that people will listen to what you have to say. Mental health is an area that desperately needs attention! It is another angle to this story that is overlooked.

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