News of the Week

Just recently the Canadian government tabled legislation that delays the expansion of its MAiD or Medical Assistance in Dying policy. The expansion was set to take effect in March of this year, but is now delayed until at least March of 2024. The expansion would include those suffering from mental health disorders. You can see one article discussing the matter here. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada also has helpful articles on euthanasia and assisted suicide generally and on MAiD specifically.

The first thing I would say is that as Christians we ought to be informed about this policy. What is the policy? Who can seek medical assistance in dying according to Canadian law? What boundaries and guardrails are in place to protect the vulnerable? What about doctors, nurses, and other health care workers? Can they act according to their conscience?

The second matter to consider is the significant impact this policy has and will have on churches, pastors, chaplains, and others offering spiritual support and pastoral care. In addition to the obviously sensitive nature of dealing with those who are suffering and dying, as well as their loved ones, there are ethical concerns that require attention and reflection.

The third aspect of this is how such policy reflects larger, more widespread cultural changes and trajectories. I wrote about one aspect of this in a previous post.

Here are a few questions for reflection as we think about MAiD policy in Canada as followers of Jesus:

  1. What gives life its meaning and purpose?
  2. Does suffering ever have redemptive value?
  3. What does it mean to be human?
  4. Can we see suffering and dying differently in the light of the cross of Christ?

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