By Ken McLemore
Excuse me while I address an issue that preachers aren’t supposed to address because politicians have labelled it as part of a broader political question.
The moral standards of our society are being defined in the will of the majority, and automatically makes “right” whatever is the will of the majority. That idea is being used to define life and death issues, as reflected in the present health care debate, evidenced by the following point:
“The Clintons’ true goal is the most ambitious of all, a change in the culture of dying. `That’s why Hillary’s talking up living wills and advance directives,’ says an Administration official, `She hopes to spur others to get COMFORTABLE WITH PULLING THE PLUG”‘ (“Pulling the Plug,” Time, Oct. 4, 1993, p.36; emphasis mine, KDM).
Death as a matter of social “choice” rather than moral concern has evolved from the abortion de-bate to its logical consequence in “pulling the plug” as a socio-economic “choice” rather than a moral concern. What is the difference between the “medically-assisted” death of an unborn baby and that of a terminally ill, but not brain dead,adult? Nothing: both are dead. The acceptance of both based upon the fallacy of “choice” is only the first logical consequence in the equation which has planned euthanasia as its ultimate consequence. Whatever can be “chosen” today can be planned for you tomorrow. What began in the minds of many as a social “choice” never has been anything but playing God. If that is not the case, then why all the moral outrage by supporters of “assisted suicide” over the tactics of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, as expressed by columnist Ellen Goodman:
“I regard him too as the failure story of the legal system. If a patient cannot call on a family doctor, he or she must depend on the `kindness’ of strangers. If we don’t wrestle down a reasonable law, people will go to outlaws,” (“Dr. Death should become obsolete,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Nov. 15, 1993, p. 6B)
The problem with the premise of both abortion and “assisted suicide” is the same problem with the premise of “pulling the plug,” that once society rationalizes the morality of the end it seeks to accomplish, the morality of the means to effect that end becomes irrelevant. Regardless of which practice society “chooses” to make legal, somebody innocent of any moral wrong is just as dead. The logical consequence of Ms. Goodman’s point is that she is not outraged so much by “assisted death” as she is outraged by sloppy “assisted death.” She is comfort-able with “pulling the plug.”
The argument for “a change in the culture of dying” seeks to make what one might call the “greater good” the standard for life and death, and demands that the individual be given the right to authorize his/her death for the sake of making life cheaper for the rest of us. The “greater good” is a dollars and cents approach that leaves God out of the point altogether, and that is its contradiction. Society cannot excuse itself from moral accountability to God when government encourages society to “get comfortable with pulling the plug” (Rom. 13:3-4).
“Pulling the plug” is not a moral right even if it becomes a civil right. “Pulling the plug” as a right relies upon two false assumptions: First, it assumes that there are no moral absolutes; and, secondly, it assumes that moral standards may be defined by the majority will. “Choice” as the standard of authority in a society takes the place of moral absolutes when that society accepts the notion that nothing is absolute. For instance, in education, outcome is now considered more important than understanding or achievement, therefore, the student who thinks 2+2=5 is not wrong; he/she is merely “in process” of learning. He/she has “chosen” to arrive at his/ her conclusion despite objective evidence to the contrary, and is not considered “wrong” in that conclusion, but merely on a different learning path to the same objective. (Consider that when the same student mows your yard for 2 hours at $2 per hour and asks for $5.00.) When nothing is wrong for the situation in which it exists, neither euthanasia nor murder is precluded, objective evidence aside. The moral vacuum in which the new concept of “pulling the plug” operates shows an open disdain for the right of God as creator. The design of creation argues for the existence of a creator, and it also gives the designer the argument in Psalms 24:1, when he writes, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” God declared the same point by the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 18:4, saying, “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” When man recognizes the right of the creator to his creation, he is compelled to recognize the authority of the creator’s will. Consequently, in order to become “comfort-able with pulling the plug,” society has to first be convinced to “pull the plug” on God.
Religious denominationalism cannot stem the tide of the new “culture of dying” or any of the other assaults upon morality by the “choice” driven society because religious denominationalism is itself based upon an argument of “choice.” Religious denominationalism argues that gospel truth is denominational rather than absolute, and any voice to the contrary is deemed to be “bigoted.” But, God’s voice is as absolute as is God (Matt. 7:13-14, 21-23; Luke 6:46; John 17:17; Eph. 4:4-6; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9). There are as many truths as there are gods, and there is only one God (Isa. 44:6-8). God has declared his right as creator and his will for his creation, the standard by which God will judge (2 Cor. 5:10; John 5:26-30).
“Choice” is becoming the norm, the rule, the god that its secularist priests and priestesses worship at the altars of abortion, “assisted suicide,” and “pulling the plug.” God’s judgment of them will be just; but, in the mean time, they must be opposed (2 Cor. 10:4-6). And, man cannot oppose them if man has already agreed that divine truth is a matter of “choice” (Jer. 16:10-13; 17:5-8; Isa. 55:8-11).
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 6, p. 1
March 17, 1994