Posts Tagged ‘Christian response’

sandy hook school shootingThe Apostle Paul was inspired by God to write, “Mourn with those who mourn.”  Following the loss of human life in schools like Newtown, CT., we as fellow citizens and especially as Christians are called to mourn with the families of those who died.  We do well to mourn with few rather than more words.

However, as John Stonestreet brought to my attention, it becomes tempting in this fast-paced, technologically-driven society to Facebook or Twitter our thoughts.  It appears that both Christians and non-Christians took advantage of their “freedom of speech” to make public political or moral comments on the situation.  Many of the comments, it seems, were made with little thought of the families that simply need time to grieve.  As Christians, we are always called upon to respect our fellow human beings.  We are called to a higher standard.  A standard of thoughtful behavior that is reflective of our holiness in Christ.

On Christmas, we celebrate the Incarnation.  God became Man.  The very Creator and Redeemer of all human life came into our messy, depraved, and broken world.  He did more than hand us a book or tell us a story.  He came in the flesh.  He offered Himself.  He sacrificed all that He had… for us.

Evil exists in our world because of sin.  Our sinful flesh becomes a willing instrument of destruction in the hands of Satan.  But, in Jesus Christ, we become new every morning.  This means that we are given opportunity to reflect the God who made us rather than ourselves.  We are equipped to make choices that help others rather than hurt them.  As new people in Christ, we are called to act in a more holy way, wait on the Holy Spirit for His discernment and, when the time is right, speak the Truth in love.

There is a time to speak.  The Christian is not called to silently allow non-believers and those who oppose the Biblical worldview to rule the day.  We are to be well informed and ready to defend the faith.  But, in times of tragedy, we are called first to mourn.  Offer care and compassion.  If given opportunity, we are to serve those who are facing adversity and trial in their lives.   When possible, we can help carry a burden. Then, in whatever conversations crop up, we can help ourselves and others contrast the things of God with the things of this world.  Good and evil are real.  God and Satan daily do battle for our very souls.

It is for this reason that Jesus Christ came to live among us.  He entered into the lives of sinful, broken and hurting people. Everything He said and did directed people away from self to God; away from despair to hope; away from evil to good.  He knew when to speak and, when He did, He spoke The Word.  He also knew when to grieve with those who mourned.

We might learn a valuable lesson from Job’s three friends.  “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place . . . to show him sympathy and comfort him . . . they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven.  And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great” (Job 2:11-13).

Suffering will be great in this world.  But, Job’s friends did harm when they pontificated on what Job had done wrong to cause such suffering.  We, too, do wrong when we place blame or fail to remember that God works in the midst of trouble to lead us to Him or refine our faith.  When we are perplexed in affliction, may we – through the eyes of faith – see Christ, whose affliction saved us from sin and eternal despair.  May we be silenced by the awe of such sacrifice.

But, when asked how to prepare for such evil as a school shooting, may we speak up with the answer:  Tell your children and grandchildren about Jesus.

Only in Christ the Savior can any child — of any age — know victory over evil, suffering or even death.

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Last night, I posted a blog with my personal concerns about the Obama administration’s mandate of “end-of-life-care counseling.  Today, I learned that the administration has agreed to remove the regulation.  Officials cited procedural reasons for the decision, although the New York Times indicates political considerations — the enormous outpouring of opposition — played a role.

A presidential official told the press, “We will amend the regulation to take out voluntary advance care planning.”  According to LifeNews.com, this action followed a “massive pro-life backlash.”  For now, government health care won’t include “death panels.”

We must stay on guard.  Disability rights advocates cite alarming problems, including excessive secrecy about assisted suicide deaths, lack of oversight, and no investigation of patient abuse or coercion in states where assisted suicide is legal.  Health care for the terminally ill has been affected.  Wesley J. Smith, for example, offers the example of two cancer patients who were denied Medicare payment for chemotherapy.  Instead, they offered to pay for these individuals’ assisted suicide.  (Visit the Discovery Institute or International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.)

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You and I were with family and friends on Christmas Day.  We were not reading or listening to the news.  But, on December 25, the New York Times reported the following:


WASHINGTON – When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system.  But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting January 1. (Emphasis mine)

Congress and the American public explicitly rejected government funded consultations regarding end-of-life treatment.  But, very quietly on December 3, the Obama Administration issued a new regulation that authorizes Medicare to pay doctors for “end-of-life-care counseling” during patients’ annual check-ups.

Why am I concerned?  During my years on the LCMS Sanctity of Life Task Force and as president of National Lutherans For Life (LFL), I often alerted fellow Christians to the slippery slope from legalized abortion to legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide.  One of the groups that caught my attention was the Hemlock Society.  A name like that sends a chill up my back.  It must have affected others in the same way because the Hemlock Society and Compassion in Dying merged to form a new group named Compassion and Choices.

Compassion and Choices successfully lobbied for physician assisted suicide (PAS) laws passed in Oregon and Washington.  Montana appears to have followed suit.  Montana’s Supreme Court ruled in December 2009 that PAS is not illegal.  But the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition says that under Montana law assisted suicide is still homicide.

What does Compassion and Choices have to do with “end-of-life-care counseling”?   Compassion and Choices is an aggressive proponent of PAS in the United States even though its pro-suicide agenda meets with resistance.  The group’s director of legal affairs pours over state constitutions, looking for those that do not address assisted suicide.  When she finds a state that does not appear to specifically bar the act in its statutes, she considers that state as allowing assisted suicide and follows up with aggressive lobbying efforts.

Wesley J. Smith, a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow, respected author in the field of euthanasia and assisted suicide, and a frequent speaker at LFL conferences, says the goal of Compassion and Choices is to become “the Planned Parenthood of assisted suicide.”  He believes the group hopes to eventually reap taxpayer funding for end-of-life counseling and facilitiation of assisted suicide.

Leading disability rights groups have been working with state and community advocacy groups to fight the efforts of Compassion and Choice to nationalize assisted suicide.  They say newly disabled individuals who are struggling with the adjustments they must make could easily fall prey to a worldview that assumes they would rather be dead.

Question:  If assisted suicide becomes a socially accepted “treatment” for incontinence or physical weakness, what effect will this have on the training and ethics of medical professionals, health care policy decisions, and insurance coverage?

Compassion and Choices was involved last year in writing section 1233 of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill signed into law March 23,  2010.    That section, questioned by some as promoting so-called “death panels,” was dropped from the bill.  Well, it may have been dropped from the bill, but as the New York Times admits, the Obama Administration has found another way to achieve its “death panel” goal: regulation.

Let me repeat: Starting January 1, 2011, Medicare is authorized to pay doctors for “end-of-life-care counseling” during patients’ annual check-ups.  This regulation inserts the federal government in end-of-life planning — not every five years as originally formulated — but annually.  Please don’t misunderstand.  I believe that every individual should discuss end-of-life decisions with loved ones, a pastor, and/or lawyer.  My husband and I each have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.  We have designated each other or our sons as our voices should we not be able to speak for ourselves.  We believe that God gave us our lives and He alone should take them.

“Even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you.  I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).  “Will you command Me concerning My children and the work of My hands” (45:9-11).

Question: How will Compassion and Choices, a group that promotes assisted suicide, lobby doctors as they provide “end-of-life-care counseling“?

Question: Will groups such as Compassion and Choices pressure doctors to measure their patients’ levels of productivity or practice utilitarian ethics?

Do I have reason for concern?  The New York Times reports that the Obama Administration justifies its regulation to mandate “end-of-life-care counseling” (“death panels?”) by citing British research.  The Brits make no pretense of politically rationed health care.  Under the British health care system, the government decides who should live or die based on what is called the “QALY” — Quality-Adjusted Life Year.  If I celebrate a year of perfect health, I will rate a “1.”  But, if I’m confined to a wheelchair, my life may be valued at less than half.  I’m very uncomfortable with what I’m reading about the British health care system because I don’t believe human life has a price tag.

At least, not one determined by his or her fellow humans.

(Sources: “Mercy Notes” of the LCMS World Relief and Human Care, Breakpoint, and The American Spectator, 12-28-10).  You  may also order my brochure titled “Ventilators, Feeding Tubes, and Other End-of-Life Questions” from Lutherans For Life .)

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