It's always worth remembering that the worldview of the left is not, in fact, ultimately kind and gentle and loving. In particular, idealistic young Christians who are, shall we say, trying to learn from the left should remember this fact. What fellowship has light with darkness? The left has identified itself squarely with the murder of the helpless again and again, and this is no accident. It is the logical conclusion of an ethical worldview that devalues human life.
Some links that bring that fact home. In Switzerland, the Salvation Army runs a nursing home. They have been told that they will lose "charitable status" if they do not have the killing of their elderly residents (you know, "assisted suicide") carried out on-site. I don't know all the legal and financial ramifications of the loss of charitable status in Switzerland. Presumably it means the loss of any government funding. In the U.S. such a loss would also mean that donations are not tax deductible, that in-take of money is taxable, and (at a local level) that the property can have heavy property taxes levied. This would drive many charities out of business, precisely because they really are charities rather than for-profit entities and cannot afford to operate as the latter. Similarly, Quebec requires all hospitals and nursing homes, including those with a Christian identity, to offer euthanasia.
Ethical health professionals are thus faced with a devil's alternative--go out of business and leave the field to those with no qualms about murder, or participate in the killing. The only tertium quid is quiet, secret civil disobedience. But it is unlikely that that would be allowed for long. Any institution that refused a family's request for euthanasia for an elderly relative would doubtless be "outed" quite quickly and the "wrong" put right.
I believe that suicide and assisted suicide are wrong even for the person in his right mind (otherwise). But the murderous program of the left doesn't stop there. Did you think it would?
In California (yes, here we Americans can't be shaking our heads at those Canadians and Swiss anymore) the new euthanasia law expressly makes provision for the killing of the mentally ill, including those who are so mentally ill that they have had to be institutionalized to prevent them from...er...killing themselves. See also here. Wesley J. Smith also tells in detail about a case in Oregon (where people were told all about the wonderful "safeguards" on the suicide law) where a man named Michael Freeland was hospitalized for, inter alia, suicidal ideation. He had cancer and already had a lethal prescription at home, given to him by a suicide activist doctor. But evidently he went to get help for his depression rather than taking it. Wesley Smith quotes a cool chart note about Freeland when he was sent home from the hospital.
[A] January 24 chart notation noted that Freeman "does have his life-ending medications that he states he may or may not use, so that [in-home care] may or may not be a moot point."
Well, that would make things convenient, wouldn't it? In the end, Freeland did not commit suicide but died naturally, surrounded by friends who were willing to help him rather than encourage him to kill himself.
What all this makes clear is that, in both Oregon and California, assisted suicide is for those who are considered better off dead. Rational choice is in the picture only in a distant, hypothetical sense. See this post on the philosophy of Ronald Dworkin for more on that point.
So much for "rational suicide."
Let's move beyond suicide to the killing of those who have never been able to have any wishes on the matter--the unborn. The Danes are moving towards eliminating Down Syndrome by murdering all unborn infants with Down Syndrome before they see the light of day. And one opinion poll found 70 percent of Danish men and 50 percent of Danish women believe that it is a good thing that fewer children with Down Syndrome are being born. (Side note to misogynists who like to use statistics: In this particular case, the men seem more ruthless than the women. Then again, we don't know if the Danes in the survey fully realized that fewer children with Down Syndrome are being born because they are being killed.) (HT to colleague Sage for the story.)
Big picture moment: Recently I saw a discussion of how we can do the most good to help the world with our time and talent. Heinous philosopher Peter Singer has, as it happens, a book called The Most Good You Can Do, and I found that this book was being blandly cited as a part of the "literature" (even by Christians) on "effective altruism," as though Singer were an authority on how we can do the most good in this world. In one passage, Singer makes the (pretty trivial) point that sometimes we can do more good by working on some issue that might seem less urgent than another, if it is an area that is understaffed, as it were. Singer's example? His own decision to work in the area of animal rights for his philosophical career. Let's remember that this is the area where Singer has developed the word "speciesism" in order explicitly to reduce the notion of human exceptionalism to the level of racist bigotry. This is the area where Singer has explicitly attempted to tear down any notion of the imago dei. This is the area where Singer has explicitly elevated animals at the expense of humans by popularizing "personhood theory" according to which some humans (notably newborns and the seriously cognitively disabled) are not actually persons (that is, they are untermenschen) while some animals with high animal intelligence actually are persons. And all of this is nicely integrated with Singer's murderous overall utilitarianism that justifies, e.g., parents' killing a disabled newborn infant in order to "replace" him with a healthier child they give birth to later.
That's Peter Singer. But if you go into ethics, you'll be expected to treat him as an authority on how you and I can do the most good in this sad, sorry world. While he congratulates himself on developing his wicked theories as an instance of an effective use of one's time and talents to do the most good. Arguably, the world would be a better place if Professor Singer had instead spent all of his time on something relatively frivolous like, I dunno, yacht racing.
The worldview that holds that human beings are special and each uniquely valuable and that deliberately killing an innocent human being is always wrong is completely at odds with the worldview of the Dworkinses and Singers. They are bound to come to radically different conclusions about a whole host of morally urgent issues, issues that are on the table today, issues that will affect the lives of all healthcare professionals, caregivers, and of the most vulnerable among us. If we're tone-deaf to this and attempt to make our peace with the utilitarian ethicists of our day, because they sound so concerned for the poor (for example), we will sell our souls.
So let's not do that.