Weekly Review

Assisted Suicide, Social Media Ban, the “Disaster Deacon,” and Winston Churchill

Maine Legalizes Assisted Suicide. Maine became the 8th state in the nation to legalize assisted suicide last Wednesday after Gov. Janet Mills signed a law allowing doctors to prescribe fatal doses of medication to the terminally ill. Mills had previously said she was unsure about the bill, which declares the practice does not constitute suicide under state law. She also issued an executive order for the state to analyze how the law’s impact on the state. “It is my hope that this law, while respecting the right to personal liberty, will be used sparingly,” said Mills, a Democrat. Previous versions of the bill failed in the state legislature at least seven times, and critics of the so-called “Death with Dignity Act” said legalization could lead to incentivization—an effect that could be magnified in the state with the oldest median age in the country. “Assisted suicide could now be categorized as a new form of ‘medical treatment’ offered [sic] terminal patients by doctors and insurers in Maine, rather than a more compassionate, expensive medical treatment,” the Maine Right to Life Committee noted in a statement, adding, “‘Choice’ at the end of life could become an illusion to all but the privileged few.” At least 18 other states have considered similar measures this year.

Medical Association Affirms Life. Despite the new Maine law, or perhaps because of it, the American Medical Association reaffirmed opposition to assisted suicide. In a 65-35 percent vote, the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs upheld the association’s current stance. The vote came after a three-year review of the policy. “Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks,” the policy states.

Social Media Ban. Pinterest banned the pro-life activist group Live Action, labeling its content “pornography.” According to WORLD, “The social media platform blocked all of the group’s content, preventing users from pinning Live Action’s photos, videos, or other materials.” The group told BuzzFeed News, “We received a permanent ban without notice or previous contact from Pinterest, and they have not given us any clarification apart from our ban notice claiming that our content causes ‘immediate and detrimental effects on [a Pinterest user’s] health or on public safety.’”

Disaster Deacon Rides Again. When disaster strikes, the mainstream media report on the activities of the National Guard, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), and other government entities. However, they often ignore the vital “first response” work of the church. That’s why a Religion News Service story about the “Disaster Deacon,” 87-year-old Kenneth Hearrell, was so refreshing. His church, Tulsa’s Crosstown Church of Christ, took in Katrina evacuees in 2005, and the church and Hearrell have been in the disaster business ever since, this year serving people who have fled the historic floods of the Arkansas River.  The 300-member congregation houses up to 100 people a night on cots in its fellowship hall. “I do it because I can,” said Hearrell. Also, as a deacon, “they need me here because I know where everything is. I’ve got a key to every part of the building.” You can read more about the “Disaster Deacon,” his church, and other churches serving in flood areas in the Midwest, by clicking here.

Milestones.  Four years ago this week, nine men and women attending a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston were murdered by a white supremacist…. Winston Churchill gave his famous “Finest Hour” speech on this date in 1940, during the Battle of France when World War II was breaking out. In it, Churchill said, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”


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