“We can’t make it rain. But we can ensure that farming families and their communities get all the support they need to get through the drought, recover and get back on their feet” the government said in a statement’.
They are only examples of two bits and pieces (euthanasia, abortion) in Australia. The bigger picture is what Francis A Schaeffer described as the inevitable consequences that follow for any nation that follows this world view:
Those who hold the material-energy, chance concept of reality, whether they are Marxist or non-Marxist, not only do not know the truth of the final reality, God, they do not know who Man is. Their concept of Man is what Man is not, just as their concept of the final reality is what final reality is not. Since their concept of Man is mistaken, their concept of society and of law is mistaken, and they have no sufficient base for either society or law.
They have reduced Man to even less than his natural finiteness by seeing him only as a complex arrangement of molecules, made complex by blind chance. Instead of seeing him as something great who is significant even in his sinning, they see Man in his essence only as an intrinsically competitive animal, that has no other basic operating principle than natural selection brought about by the strongest, the fittest, ending on top. And they see Man as acting in this way both individually and collectively as society (Francis A Schaeffer 1981:25-26).
WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established.
Where is God in the media, marketplace of ideas, government and education? Labelling Australia as a ‘secular’ (nonreligious) nation demonstrates how secularists don’t understand the consequences of a secular-humanist world view. We see the consequences in Australia today.
 Francis A Schaeffer 1981. A Christian Manifesto. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books. The chapter from which this citation is drawn, ‘The Abolition of Truth and Morality’ is available from The Highway at: https://www.the-highway.com/articleOct01.html (Accessed 28 May 2019).
Many farmers are struggling to find or buy feed to keep their stock alive in Australia (Photo supplied: Edwina Robertson)
The big dry: See us, hear us, help us’
That was the headline of an ABC News: Rural (2018) article online.But something was missing from that headline. I don’t expect to get the missing link from ABC News or current affairs’ programs these days. What is absent?
ABC Rural reported again:
Farmers across New South Wales and Queensland are calling it the worst drought in living memory. Many are facing ruin and say it is time for their city cousins to acknowledge the disaster (ABC News Rural: regional reporters 2018).
This story pointed to the situation as seen by the farmers:
I’d really like people in the city to remember us, see us, hear us, know that we’re still here.
Thin cattle search for food near Coonabarabran in north-western New South Wales(ABC News: Rural, 2018: Luke Wong)
In the Fairfax Brisbane Times, 14 August 2018, it was reported that Vaughan Johnson (resident of Longreach and former LNP politician) and Mark O’Brien, [as] newly appointed drought commissioners said ‘the “critical” situation facing farmers is the worst that Johnson has seen in his 71 years.
The drought commissioners were appointed to advise the State government on the best way to spend the $9 million drought relief package that was fast-tracked in August 2018.
“I have never seen such a depressed economy, such depressed people as we are witnessing now,” Johnson told ABC radio on 14 August 2018. He said it was worse than critical as the feed situation in the central west was ‘zilch’ and they were now into the seventh year of drought. He ‘urged anybody wanting to help to donate cash, or visit affected towns’”. (Flatley 2018).
1. Desperate help for farmers
I enthusiastically support the efforts of governments and people of Australia to help drought-stricken farmers outback in giving money, sending stock feed or visiting these outback towns and farms.
ABC News Rural covered this story and told of Genevieve Hawkins who runs a cattle station near Aramac, western Qld. There, ‘2017 was the driest year in 38 years of records’. Ms Hawkins appeal was: ‘It’s just relentless, you don’t sleep because you can’t stop thinking about it…. I’d really like people in the city to remember us, see us, hear us, know that we’re still here’ (ABC News: Rural, regional reporters 2018).
I consider there is a critical factor missing from this analysis. I don’t expect the mass media to deal with it because it concerns values and goes against the grain of our secular society.
Peter Westmore in News Weekly (August 2018) raised the issue of one missing dynamic. He referred to farmers producing the wheat, wool, cotton and beef we eat who actually work for nothing. This would be ‘utterly intolerable’ in any other part of society. However, it is ‘apparently acceptable for rural Australia.
Westmore’s assessment is that it is not discussed in city media and rarely heard on country radio or TV programs. The media highlight the lower income levels in rural areas and high levels of psychiatric illness and suicides. However, ‘the deeper causes are never examined’, says Westmore.
What were the ‘deeper causes’ Westmore spoke about? He pointed to government financial support and helping strategies from the banking sector. He linked the financial pressure to psychiatric illnesses in farming families that no amount of money for counselling will solve (Westmore 2018).
I agree with these initiatives, but they still miss a strong factor linked to droughts and other disasters in Australia.
This is how the Darling Anabranch (lower Murray-Darling basin) in far western NSW looked from the air during the big drought in 2018.
(The Great Darling Anabranch in flood, December 2010, courtesy Wikipedia)
2. One sheep farmer made a priceless observation
I’m not sure he knew he was so close to hitting the target of dealing with the grim need for farmers, their animals and produce during this ghastly drought.
ABC News: Rural reported this in an interview:
In the lower Darling region …, [a] sheep farmer … scratches his head when asked where he will get his next lot of feed.
“We’ve purchased about $100,000 worth of hay but I don’t know if I can buy any more because it’s too dear and it could be another $40,000 for freight on top of that,” he said.
(Photo courtesy ABC News: Rural 2018)
The sheep farmer pointed to the needed solution, but his statement had one word too many. His words were as close as a cricket ball that nearly got the edge of the bat and a nick to the keeper or the slips. ABC News: Rural (2018) reported:
[This sheep farmer] has had to significantly de-stock, while watching ewes abandon lambs.
“The poor little fellas have been trampled,” he says.
(Photo courtesy ABC News: Rural 2018)
“But there’s not much we can do about it.”
He says money for bores would be handy, as the wait for rain and for the Darling River to fill drags on.
Really? In my view, there is one word too many in that statement. Which single word needs to be removed?
Get rid of ‘not’. There IS something we can do if we are God-fearing people. There is MUCH, MUCH more that can be done.
4. Something fundamental is missing in the mass media and Australian government analyses!
What should we add to the excellent ABC News: Rural (2018) headline?
The big dry: ‘See us, hear us, help us’
That’s a cry for city cousins to dig deep to help people during the big drought. I’m 100% behind that cry for help and have given to the drought appeal. But there’s an essential component absent from that plea.
I ask some essential questions that I hope will open you to what we Australians can do about the drought, floods and fires. I’m not talking only of food and water for the animals and financial and mental health support for the farmers and their families.
I warn you. What I’m about to say is not politically correct news and there could be journalists in the mass media who will scoff at my analysis of the cause and solution of the drought crisis.
 ‘News Weekly has been published continuously by the National Civic Council since 1941, and was originally called Freedom. The National Civic Council (NCC) is an organisation which seeks to shape public policy on cultural, family, social, political, economic and international issues of concern to Australia’. Available at: http://newsweekly.com.au/about.php (Accessed 1 October 2018).
If this is not fixed, the rot will continue to infest Australia. The politically correct, left-wing agitators will blame it on ‘climate change’. Insurance Business Australia had this headline on its website:
Climate change-driven flood risk could make Townsville homes “uninsurable”
The reasons for the disasters in Australia are much more detailed than that.
The late Francis Schaeffer, evangelical theologian, philosopher and pastor who founded the L’Abri Community in Switzerland, warned of the ‘spiritual collapse of the West’.
Is Australia on a national ‘Airbus’ path to destruction?
The following are only a few examples that point to where Australia is heading.
1. The diseases in the churches of Australia
You heard me correctly. This nation’s problems, including the droughts, fires and floods, will not be rectified until the churches – the Christians – are brought back to health. Healing for this land will start with the churches returning to their first love.
National repentance begins with God’s people who have sinned. How do I know? The Scriptures teach us. There is a direct link between the health of the people of God
and the shape of a nation’s culture.
’If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land’ (2 Chron 7:14 NLT).
While this is an OT passage dealing with God’s people among the Israelites, the principle can be applied to any nation: If any nation is going to be restored from whatever is afflicting it (e.g. drought and floods in Australia in 2019), God’s people must humbly seek God in prayer AND turn from their wicked ways.
This OT message of the need for God’s people to repent is found in the NT at 1 Peter 4:14-17 (NIRV),
14 Suppose people say bad things about you because you believe in Christ. Then you are blessed, because God’s Spirit rests on you. He is the Spirit of glory. 15 If you suffer, it shouldn’t be because you are a murderer. It shouldn’t be because you are a thief or someone who does evil things. It shouldn’t be because you interfere with other people’s business. 16 But suppose you suffer for being a Christian. Then don’t be ashamed. Instead, praise God because you are known by the name of Christ. 17
IT IS TIME FOR JUDGMENT TO BEGIN WITH THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD. AND SINCE IT BEGINS WITH US, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T OBEY GOD’S GOOD NEWS?
Which wicked ways are in the churches?
Do I need to remind you of the child sexual abuse in churches and church institutions uncovered in the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse report of 2017? Don’t forget some of the church cover-ups. This was atrocious behaviour. See:
The Report into Anglican Diocese of Newcastle released, 7 December 2017
The Report into Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne released, 5 December 2017
I know of one evangelical Christian church that has had 3 pastors who committed adultery. In 2 other churches I know of adultery happening – a pastor’s adultery with a church member.
As a long-term family counsellor, I know from clients that adultery is almost always accompanied by lies and deceit, all of which break God’s laws.
We could go down the list of the other commands in the 10 commandments and New Testament and find sinful violations in churches.
What about denominations and churches that now ordain homosexuals and marry homosexuals when Scriptures clearly proclaim heterosexuality in both OT (Gen 2:24) and in the words of Jesus, ‘a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ (Matt 19:5).
I haven’t dealt with some churches’ support of euthanasia, murder of children in the womb through abortion, claiming that miracles cannot take place, and challenging the authority of Scripture, concluding it cannot be trusted as a book of truthful documents.
Jesus’ warning: ‘’Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act….’ (Matt 7:15-16a).
Gossip in the churches. Prov 20:19 (NLT) states: ‘A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers’.
A return to ministry to the orphans, widows, elderly, homeless, the poor and other needy people. All denominations need to do it. I thank God for the Salvos, but ALL churches need to minister to those in need. Some do it through the social services division of the denomination. What about the local church taking this need on board? I know of some local churches that distribute food hampers to the needy, including children who go to school having had no breakfast.
The local church should be a defender and provider of hope for the hopeless and needy.
Where are the local churches that stand against the immorality flooding the nation? Our voices must not be silenced.
James 1:27: ‘Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you’.
Prov 14:31: ‘Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him’.
But there’s more and this has to do with what is preached from the pulpit. There are preachers who don’t believe the Bible and its miracles. They destroy the biblical message with their historical-critical methods.
They deny the virgin birth of Jesus, redefine his bodily resurrection to make an apparition or fable, and reject literal interpretation and replace with modernist and postmodernist interpretations. If you want to see which churches are preaching these kinds of doctrines, go along to your local mainline church that has dwindling numbers of older people.
For the ruin of Australia to be stopped in its tracks, the solution starts with the churches and individuals in the churches repenting of their sins and returning to their first love of God.
2. This is the call to Australia as a nation.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov 14:34 NASB). To put it another way,
‘Righteousness raises a people to greatness; to pursue wrong degrades a nation’ (REB). Or,
‘Doing what is right lifts people up. But sin brings judgment to any nation’ (NIRV).
‘Doing what is right makes a nation great. But sin will bring disgrace to any people’ (IEB).
‘Doing what is right’ does not refer to what people think is right, but to God’s standard of right, called righteousness and justice.
This verse does NOT state, ‘Righteousness exalts the Israelite nation, but sin is a disgrace to the Jews’. It is a proverb of God’s will for ALL nations, without exception. Israel is not excluded, but neither is Australia.
In measuring the greatness of Australia, we can be tempted to consider the area of land in the country, the population of 25 million, whether it has a strong defence force, democracy, the intellectual vigour of the culture, how civilised the nation is, its wealth, natural resources, technology and history.
God has a very different set of standards. This is what represents true greatness for any country. The most important criterion is its relationship to God. Are Australian laws and the people’s actions directed by God’s will?
This is God’s standard: His righteousness, his justice.
Where do we find that standard? It’s in the book of Scripture!
2.1 Laws and practices that are righteous
This is the most searching test for all policies legislated at federal, state, territory and local government levels that will lead to success by the Australian people.
What righteousness will exalt Australia? The proverb is not addressing material things that will make any nation great, but it is language of morality as the rest of the verse indicates with its converse, ‘Sin is a disgrace to any people’.
A similar message for any nation is given in Proverbs 16:12b, ‘a throne [of a king] is established through righteousness’ (NIV).
What ethical legislation will make Australia great? These are but a few examples:
Human beings are made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), so they must not be treated like animals.
Are we caring for the persecuted, widows, orphans, poor and homeless people among us and overseas?
Respect life from conception to natural death. Leave conception to God and the union of two people (that can include IVF) and do not end life prematurely.
The human family consists of mother, father and children. Let all legislation pursue this end.
Do not murder children in the womb or murder for any other reason through euthanasia and assisted suicide.
We must address sexuality issues from God’s standards about marriage, divorce, defacto relationships, promiscuity, homosexuality, etc.
2.1.1 Wait a minute!
You might say, ‘That’s a terribly narrow view of society and culture. That’s Christian indoctrination to say following God’s law makes a nation great’.
How does the Australian Constitution of 1900 begin?
(image Constitution of Australia Coat of Arms, courtesy of KissPNG)
WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established.
So, calling on the Almighty God of the Judeo-Christian world view is relying on the foundation of our nation.
Is following human-created laws regarding life and death, democracy, law and order, crime and punishment preferred to God’s ways?
All of us support one-way principles in many areas of life.
In Australia, we drive one-way on one-side of the road (unless otherwise indicated). Driving on the left-hand side of the road is a one-way example.
When we use the Google search engine on the Internet, we are narrow-minded. We accept the one-way Google algorithm that makes it such a powerful search engine.
Hit a cricket ball into the air or kick a football into the air. It doesn’t keep going and going into space. It comes back to earth because of the one-way pressure on it called gravity. That’s gravity that God has created on earth.
God’s one way is for all people to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen so both people and plants can coexist. It is God’s one-way principle for survival on the earth.
The Muslims do it in praying 5 times a day to Allah and facing Mecca and these are the 5 Pillars of Islam for a follower of Islam.
What will put Australia on a pedestal? It will not come from secular, government legislation. It will be when it legislates holistically according to God’s standards of justice and righteousness.
What will devastate Australia? Proverbs 14:34 gives the second part what wrecks any nation.
2.2 ‘Sin is a disgrace to any people’
What sins have been legislated by Australia to make them LEGAL for people to practise? What sins are legal in Australia that the Scriptures call a ‘disgrace’ and sins against God?
The KJV and NKJV translate ‘disgrace’ as ‘a wicked thing’. Remember these wicked things are sins – immoral actions by people against God – and all approved by the Australian nation, i.e. the parliaments and councils.
Which Australian legislation is against God’s laws?
We should not commit fornication / sexual immorality (1 Cor 10:8) – but we call it prostitution, defacto relationships, and sex outside of marriage;
We murder unborn babies in the name of abortion. God says ‘You shall not murder’ (Ex 20:13; Matt 5:21).
In the three decades from 1984-2014, when abortion was illegal in Queensland, Medicare statistics reported that there were 388,220 alleged ‘legal’ abortions in this State (Johnston 2015). When we consider the number of abortions across Australia in the last century, that makes Hitler’s massacre of 10 million Jews and other persecuted people in the World War 2 look like a blip on the radar.
Reporting for abortions is incomplete; reported abortions include only Medicare abortions, and these figures are incomplete for 2010-2011. Abortion figures are for calendar years, some figures are interpolated from fiscal year figures (Johnston 2015).
What would the number of abortions be in Queensland in a given year if 100% of them were statistically recorded?
There is no gentle way to describe what is happening in Queensland than to say we already have a catastrophic, destructive, devastating annihilation of human life in the womb. In defiance of the law, abortions continued to take place before abortion was decriminalised, with federal government financial assistance through Medicare.
‘Abortion [was] legalised in Queensland after historic vote in Parliament’, 18 October 2018.
Murdering adult human beings through euthanasia and assisted suicide in Victoria (Ex 20:13; Matt 5:21) and having inquiries into similar legislation in Queensland and Western Australia;
No fault, easy divorce (endorsing adultery in many cases) – Ex 20:14; Matt 5:27;
God’s standard, according to both OT and Jesus, is: ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:5; Eph 5:31). What has Australia done? It legalised same-sex marriage, a sin which is ‘a disgrace to any people’ and 1 Cor 6:9-11 (NIV) puts it among the sins that prevent people from entering the kingdom of God.
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And THAT IS WHAT SOME OF YOU WERE. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Note that God does not speak of a sexual orientation of homosexuality caused by genetics but of sexual behaviour (wrongdoers): sexual immorality, adulterers, and homosexual men. This behaviour is included among other ‘wrongdoers’ such as: idolaters, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.
God’s view is that ‘some of you were’ idolaters, thieves and adulterers, but change is possible through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
There is a resistance to this teaching in secular Australia. I refer you to the article, ‘”Treatments” as torture: gay conversion therapy’s deep roots in Australia’, The Conversation, 3 May 2018. This article also appeared on ABC News, Brisbane Qld.
There is another issue that has to be addressed with God’s standards in Australia and that is freedom of religion. Will ALL Australians be able to meet openly and preach from the Bible, Qur’an, Hindu Bhagavad Gita and Agamas, Humanist Manifesto, or will there be censorship of some topics?
There must not be discrimination against certain people, including God’s people. God says, ‘If you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law’ (James 2:9).
They are only a few examples of the immoral decisions Australian governments have made that bring disgrace on the nation.
 Some suggestions by C F Keil & E Delitzsch n d: Commentary on the Old Testament: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, vol 6. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (vol 6, p. 314).
Really? In my view, there is one word too many in that statement. Which single word needs to be removed?
Get rid of ‘not’. There IS something we can do if we are God-fearing people.
2. Something fundamental is missing in the mass media and Australian government analyses!
What should we add to the excellent ABC News: Rural (2018) headline?
The big dry: ‘See us, hear us, help us’
That’s a cry for city cousins to dig deep to help people during the big drought. I’m 100% behind that cry for help and have given to the drought appeal. But there’s an essential component absent from that plea.
I ask some essential questions that I hope will open you to what we Australians can do about the drought, floods and fires. I’m not talking only of food and water for the animals and financial and mental health support for the farmers and their families.
I warn you. What I’m about to say is not politically correct news and there could be journalists in the mass media who will scoff at my analysis of the cause and solution of the drought crisis.
One drought-stricken farmer said,‘I’m sick of this damn drought’(ABC News: Rural 2018).
That comment leads …
2.1 Towards a solution: Who or what sends and stops the rain?
Is the rain generated by some NASA space agency lab? Can we create rain to meet the needs in Aramac and Charleville in Qld and Broken Hill and Nyngan in NSW? Will cloud seeding do it when there are few clouds?
Is it global warming that stops the rain from falling in outback Australia and causes the regular droughts?
That misses the point: Who creates the clouds and blue skies in the first place and who continues to keep them going day after day?
The gifts of clouds and rain are made for the benefit of good and bad people. Water is essential to all of life. This view of the origin of rain comes from the Judeo-Christian world view on which the Australian nation was built from 1788 onwards..
It is a clear sign of God’s mercy when he sends rain. He and He alone sends the rain. Damning the drought is really damning God for not doing what we damned well want him to do. We don’t like settling for what God wants.
‘Then you will be children of your Father who is in heaven. He causes his sun to shine on evil people and good people. He sends rain on those who do right and those who don’t(Matthew 5:45 NIRV).
I smiled when I read how Baron Charles Bowen, a British judge of the 19th century, put it:
The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust hath the just’s umbrella.
God Almighty sends the sun and the rain – and so the drought and the flood – on BOTH moral and immoral people – those who do right and those who don’t.. Where is God in what has become a secular Australian society? Secular means non-religious and worldly. In Australia, it tends towards meaning godless.
How long is it since you fell to your knees and confessed that you have sinned against God in so many ways, one of which is your failure to seek him diligently every day to send rain? Have you pleaded for God’s forgiveness for all of Australia’s wrongs committed?
This is not a word only for those suffering drought in the outback. It is for the whole nation.
Where are the prayer meetings in towns or suburbs to cry out to God for rain? Are you praying in your homes daily for God to open the skies with drought-breaking rain?
I haven’t heard the current Prime Minister call for a day or week of Prayer and Repentance for Australia.
Where are these kinds of mass media headlines?
“Drought brings farmers to their knees”
“The call to Australians to pray for the drought to break”
“Australia must repent of its moral depravity”
“Godliness exalts a nation”
“Drought and Australia’s spiritual condition”
On 6 September 2018, The Sydney Morning Herald reported:
“It’s great to see it raining here in Albury today,” [Prime Minister Scott Morrison] said, roaming the stage with a hand-held microphone.
“I pray for that rain everywhere else around the country. And I do pray for that rain.
“And I’d encourage others who believe in the power of prayer to pray for that rain and to pray for our farmers. Please do that.”
And in case there were those in the audience who weren’t God-fearing, Morrison included them, too.
“It all starts with the individual. I love Australia. Who loves Australia? Everyone. We all love Australia … Do we love all Australians? We’ve got to,” said Scott Morrison in his first major address as prime minister.
“And everyone else who doesn’t like to do that, you just say, ‘Good on you, guys. You go well’. Think good thoughts for them. Or whatever you do”.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s article title was:
‘Scott Morrison’s Sermon on the Murray. Love: It’s for Australians’
Our PM encouraged those who believed in the power of prayer to PRAY for rain for the farmers. For others, ‘Good on you, guys. You go well’. Think good thoughts for them. Or whatever you do”.
Then came this Opinion piece from ABC Religion & Ethics by Byron Smith (14 September 2018).
‘Faith without works: Why the Prime Minister’s call to pray for rain is offensive’
Why is the call to prayer for rain ‘offensive’? Byron Smith gave 3 reasons:
Firstly: Atheists. It’s an offensive gesture from national leader because it’s talking to the ‘sky fairy, embracing and promoting irrational superstition’. Some responded with ‘angry mockery’.
Secondly, ‘As a Christian’, Byron Smith found the comment offensive because of ‘the profound disconnect between his professed prayers and the pro-coal – and thus anti-farmer – agenda of his government’.
Thirdly, ‘When the government Morrison leads has spent many years doing little or nothing about the root causes of the warming that is worsening such extreme weather, then inviting the nation to pray in response is somewhat galling. The Coalition does not have a climate policy’.
Dr Byron Smith is currently Assistant Pastor at St. George’s Anglican Church, Paddington NSW in the Evangelical Anglican Diocese of Sysney.
Let’s not kid ourselves about the ‘root causes’ of the drought. It’s beyond the global warming issues to something more profound. Bryson Smith should know this as he’s a minister in the evangelical Anglican diocese of Sydney NSW.
How many of you can remember as far back as April 2007?
There you might have seen this headline in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 2007:
Prime Minister John Howard has urged Australians to pray for rain as hard-hit agricultural regions face zero water allocations due to drought.
Mr Howard warned last week that farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin faced having no water for the coming irrigation year unless heavy rain fell in the next six to eight weeks.
On Sunday he said he intended to meet irrigators over coming weeks to discuss the grim situation.
Meanwhile, he encouraged people to seek divine intervention.
“It’s very serious, it’s unprecedented in my lifetime and I really feel very deeply for the people affected,” Mr Howard told ABC Television.
“So we should all, literally and without any irony, pray for rain over the next six to eight weeks.”
Why isn’t Scott Morrison calling on local ministers’ associations across the nation to organise churches in every suburb and town to pray for drought-breaking rain?
2.1.2 South African political response to drought
Colin Newman of South Africa recalled that after his Christian conversion in 1977, South Africa experienced severe drought. The President called for a National Day of repentance and humiliation before God.
As a new Christian he was impressed with the masses of people who poured from workplaces to fill churches during lunch hours. Churches overflowed with people, praying for God to break the drought. However, these people poured out their prayers to God for repentance. When the rains came a few days later he was awestruck by God’s response to these prayers.
In 2012, Newman said since that time there have been serious droughts over 15 years but none of the previous three Presidents of South Africa called the people to prayer and repentance (Newman 2012).
 In Brandreth, G 2013. Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. Oxford University Press, p. 314. This citation is available HERE.
 Oxford Dictionaries Online (2019. s.v. secular) gives the meaning as, ‘Not connected with religious or spiritual matters’. Collins Dictionary (2019. s.v. secular) provides the meaning ‘to describe things that have no connection with religion’. To gain an understanding of how some secular Australians think and the values they esteem, see the policies and aims of The Secular Party of Australia at: https://www.secular.org.au/ (Accessed 8 January 2019).
Is it possible for human beings to discern good versus evil moral actions? What is the standard by which a person or nation decides if behaviour is pleasing or evil?
The Christian is clear as to what is evil because Scripture declares it:
‘If there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character”’ (I Cor 15:32-33 NLT).
They know the deeper problem: ‘
“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
“I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds (Jer 17:9-10 NLT).
As for the godless, secularist, I’d like you to meet Allan. This is my online interchange with him. He pursued a few different topics.
Allan: He agreed with Dan: ‘We [human beings] are indeed fallen angels’.
Spencer: Instead of believing Dan, why don’t you obtain your understanding from Scripture? We are human beings, created in the image of God. Adam corrupted that and we would have done the same (Gen 1-3; Rom 5).
Allan: ‘Personally, I believe it [heaven] is some sort of reunification with a larger whole that is one unified field of energy, but still many individual conscious self-aware personalities. Experiencing unbelievable all consuming euphoria and overwhelming pure love’.
Spencer: When you invent ‘I believe’ personally, you are off into presupposition land.
Allan: ‘Heaven, therefore, is probably not a place, but rather a state of being?’
Even though your statement ends with a question mark, there is no need to hypothesise like this. Jesus was clear: ‘My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?’ (John 14:2 NIV). Heaven is definitely a place, so says the Messiah.
Allan: ‘But instead, quote chapter and verse to justify any position however awful, inherently evil, depraved indefensible or untenable?’
The apostle Paul could call himself ‘the worst of sinners’. In spite of the sinful actions of many within the church, this I know; ‘”Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I (the apostle Paul) am the worst of them all’ (1 Tim 1:15). I apply Paul’s description to me, the chief of sinners, but God’s grace reaches beyond our sin through repentance, forgiveness and faith.
Allan: ‘Even as Herr Goebbels and co turned up at their church each Sunday morning and sang Christian hymns and recited Christian prayers from a Christian prayer book.
‘Without question, they were hypocrites pure and simple as are those who protect, forgive and succour paedophilia and paedophiles’.
(photo Joseph Goebbels, Chancellor of Germany, propaganda minister, World War 2, courtesy Wikipedia)
Spencer: We can point fingers at Hitler, Goebbels, church child abuse, etc (and we should), but when God examines me, His conclusion is, ‘The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve’ (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
We are all not fallen angels but wicked human beings, from the inside out. That’s God’s assessment, not my invention.
Allan: ‘I think we know good from evil if never ever having read a bible or holy scripture’.
Spencer: Without God’s moral absolutes in Scripture (e.g. 10 commandments, the Sermon on the Mount – Matt 5-7), each person does what he/she believes is right. Lenin chose the Gulag, Hitler’s Holocaust wiped out about 6 million Jews – 1 million being children – some men rape women and children, others commit terrorist acts, while some in the banking industry cheat customers.
Allan: ‘Good as we know and understand it has its foundations on love’.
Spencer: Yep, sexual love of children, erotic love of porn and prostitution, promiscuous love of many leading to HIV (AIDS), syphilis, gonorrhoea and other STDs. ‘Love’, however it has been defined, has led to much damage and illness children and adults.
Allan: ‘The Christian Bible and the lessons as espoused by the Rabbi Jesus, was very-very different from the one reinvented, revised and massively edited by the cronies of Constantine … at the first synod, around 350 AD?’
Spencer: Are you an historical theologian and professor of Bibliology (the doctrine of the written Word) who knows the development of the Bible to write that kind of postmodern deconstruction?
Allan: ‘And relied on mainly four, non-eyewitness, plagiarised and systematically embellished gospels, for its Alleged authority?’
Spencer: Are you talking about the 4 Gospels? Luke’s Gospel differs from your deconstruction where he obtained his information from those who handed down eye-witness accounts (Luke 1:1-4).
You don’t like the idea of the sacramental confessional. Neither do I. However, Jesus’ exhorted us to seek Him for forgiveness: ‘Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us’ (Matt 6:11). This is not an appeal to father confessor but to Jesus himself.
Allan: ‘Then do something real inside your political organisations to clean out the evil at its very heart. The time for covering it up/excusing/justifying it? Is well and truly over!’
Spencer: Do you really mean that? It was you who stated: ‘Evil produced at all levels by similar if converse levels of hate?’
What is your cure for getting rid of the evil in the human person, political establishment and terrorists?
What are the holes in Whitaker’s arguments against Court and Court’s support for heterosexual marriage over Whitaker’s backing of modern Christian families that include gay couples? Here is what I found (In some places, I’ll address Dr Whitaker as ‘you’ and ‘your’).
Hole 1: It starts with Whitaker’s title that the Bible is not meant to be understood as literally as Margaret Court reads it.
Then she does exactly what she told Margaret not to do. She literally accept the fact that there are 66 books in the Bible; Abraham fathered children with his concubine as well as his wife.
Her literal interpretation continued: She accepted that David and Solomon had entire palaces full of wives and concubines and that polygamy was common. Slaves were used for concubines. There was no hint in her article that these were supposed to be interpreted metaphorically or symbolically.
Whitaker made self-defeating statements with her examples. She failed to meet her own standard of the Bible being read too literally. The article cannot live up to the criteria she set in the title.
So her self-refuting statements are of necessity false. She violated the law of non-contradiction. This states that A and non-A cannot be true at the same time and in the same sense. This promoted a contradiction when she accused Margaret Court of reading the Bible “that literally” when she did exactly the same with your reading of the Bible.
Hole 2: What is literal interpretation? She assumed we knew. When I was in high school in Qld, I learned that to understand a document literally meant to accept the plain meaning of the text. This includes the use of figures of speech and symbols.
My seminary text for biblical interpretation was Berkeley Mickelsen’s , Interpreting the Bible. He wrote that “literal” means the customarily acknowledged meaning of an expression in its particular context. For example, when Christ declared that he was the door, the metaphorical meaning of “door” would be obvious. Although metaphorical, this evident meaning is included in the literal interpretation.
Therefore, “by literal meaning the writer refers to the usual or customary sense conveyed by words or expressions” (Mickelsen 1963:17). So when I read Whitaker’s article online, I assumed that figures of speech were included in the literal meaning. That’s how I understood her statement that David’s and Solomon’s wives and concubines “served as symbols of their power and status”.
The Cambridge Dictionary (2018. s.v. literal) states the adjectival meaning of literal is, ‘having exactly the same meaning as the basic or original meaning of a word or expression’. e.g. a literal interpretation of the Australian Constitution.
Iain Provan summarised his view of ‘literal’. It harmonises with The Cambridge Dictionary definition: Literally means that Scripture is read with “its apparent communicative intentions as a collection of texts from the past, whether in respect to smaller or larger sections of text”.
This means readers “take full account of the nature of the language in which these intentions are embedded and revealed as components of Scripture’s unfolding covenantal Story – doing justice to such realities as literary convention, idiom, metaphor, and typology or figuration”.
To read Scripture (or any literature) literally is to try to understand “what Scripture is saying to us in just the ways in which we seek to understand what other people are saying to us – taking into account … their age, culture, customs, and language, as well as the verbal context within which individuals words and sentences are located. This is what it means to read “literally,” in pursuit of the communicative intent of God – in search of what to believe, how to live, and what to hope for” (Provan 2017:105).
I would be in strife if I didn’t read Whitaker’s “Note to Margaret Court” literally. Or, should I put a postmodern or allegorical spin on it and make it mean whatever I, the reader, determine?
Hole 3: You claim that Margaret Court was wrong in her open letter to Qantas and on Channel Ten’s “The Project” because she stated that the Bible confirms that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.
Which standard did you use to judge that Mrs Court’s analysis was wrong and yours was correct? Your article concluded that the Bible describes family life that is ancient, different, reflecting patriarchal structures or arranged marriages in early Christianity and is not for today.
In addition, you seem to have brought into your new concept of marriage something that you oppose – “culturally bound ideology”. For you, it includes gay couples and “Christian values of love, justice and inclusion found throughout the Bible and is why so many Christians support marriage equality”.
It is you who has promoted that last statement in your politically correct support of homosexual marriage. Again you make a self-defeating statement. You oppose the “culturally bound ideology” of the Bible’s structure of family life, but you promote your own culturally bound contemporary ideology of marriage equality and modern Christian families including gay couples.
If you were to agree with the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, you would have the same opinion as he had regarding marriage: “’A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:5-6).
Jesus was an enthusiastic supporter of heterosexual marriage. He did not state that a man should leave his parents and be joined with his male partner and become one flesh with him.
Margaret Court’s conclusion agrees with that of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t harmonise with your belief that progressives do not offend contemporary political sensibilities, including sexual orientation.
Therefore, your view is contrary to that of Jesus. Margaret Court’s stance on marriage agrees with that of the Saviour and yours is the one at odds with the Bible and the Master.
Hole 4: You have committed an historian’s fallacy in your claims against Margaret Court. This is how you promoted this fallacy:
1. Mrs Court claimed that in the Bible in the past, marriage was a union between a man and a woman.
2. Mrs Court, who makes this claim, did not take into consideration marriage equality that was not taught in biblical times.
3. Therefore, Margaret Court is wrong to claim that the Bible supports heterosexual marriage.
One of the problems with this erroneous reasoning is that it does not deal with the issues at hand, issues such as these:
The foundation of the Judeo-Christian worldview is based on Old and New Testament Scriptures.
God decided who should be joined together in the beginning of time: ‘A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Heterosexuality was God’s design.
Jesus Christ confirmed this position (Matthew 19:5),
As did the apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:31).
Your support of marriage equality over heterosexual marriage is a politically correct line of reasoning and is fallacious because it doesn’t deal with a range of issues biblically, including the Scripture’s perspective on homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and the Bible’s support of heterosexual marriage in both Old and New Testaments. It also has been called a political correctness fallacy.
Hole 5: Margaret Court “is even more wrong” to suggest she is being persecuted for her views, you stated. The situation is more serious. She has been bullied. To bully is to “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something” (Oxford Dictionary online 2017. s v bully). Mrs Court has been bullied and intimidated by the threat of tennis players to boycott Margaret Court Arena at the 2018 Australian Open Grand Slam tournament.
She has been bullied by the threat that the arena named in her honour at Melbourne Park should be changed for the 2018 Australian Open.
Then there was the ridicule by tennis super-brat and now commentator, John McEnroe, after Mrs Court’s statement that “tennis is full of lesbians”. McEnroe fired back, “This is true and who gives a f***? This is not true and who should give a f***? This is half true and should we really give a f***?” (AAP 2017)
Open lesbian and tennis great, Martina Navratilova, engaged in emotional abuse of Mrs Court in her “open letter from Martina Navratilova to Margaret Court Arena” when she stated:
“It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe. Her vitriol is not just an opinion. She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too). She is demonising trans kids and trans adults everywhere.
“And now, linking LGBT to Nazis, communists, the devil? This is not OK. This is in fact sick and it is dangerous. Kids will suffer more because of this continuous bashing and stigmatising of our LGBT community” (Navratilova 2017).
Navratilova supported the change of name of Margaret Court Arena: “I think the Evonne Goolagong Arena has a great ring to it”. Would you endorse this?
Does Whitaker consider the former Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, should have had a name change between 2009-2018? It was sponsored by Etihad Airways, the national airline of the Islamic country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is now known as Docklands’ Stadium.
Was she an advocate to change name of Etihad Stadium during its sponsorship of the stadium?
What is the Islamic view on homosexuality? The Muslim commentary on the Quran, Hadith, states in al-Tirmidhi, Sunan 1:152: [Muhammad said] “Whoever is found conducting himself in the manner of the people of Lot, kill the doer and the receiver”. Another statement from the Hadith is: “Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done’ (Sunan Abu Dawud 38:4447).
Thus, Islam requires capital punishment for both the perpetrator and recipient of what the people of Sodom did.
What did the “people of Lot” do? Lot’s (Lut in Arabic) life is explained in Genesis, chapters 11-14, and 19. He lived in Sodom, a city of open homosexuality (see Genesis 19:4-9). What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Greg Koukl examined the options in depth and concluded:
We know the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexual, “both young and old, all the people from every quarter” (19:4), to the point of disregarding available women (19:5-8). After they were struck sightless they still persisted (19:11). These men were totally given over to an overwhelming passion that did not abate even when they were supernaturally blinded by angels.
Homosexuality fits the biblical details. It was the sin that epitomized the gross wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah—the “grave,” “ungodly,” “lawless,” “sensual conduct of unprincipled men” that tormented Lot as he “saw and heard” it “day after day,” the “corrupt desire” of those that went after “strange flesh.”
Islam’s punishment for homosexuality is an extreme treatment compared with what Margaret Court advocated.
It seems inconsistent to me that she wanted to downgrade Mrs Court’s persecution and abuse for her statements on homosexuality but avoid dealing with a Muslim country’s airline’s sponsorship of Etihad Stadium in Australia.
Margaret Court has put up with persecution, abuse and ridicule from the tennis community, mass media, and now pro-LGBTIQ+ bias from Dr Whitaker, a woman representing the Christian community.
Hole 6: You cherry pick a Bible verse without bringing contextual understanding to try to oppose Mrs Court’s teaching ministry as a woman at Victory Life Centre, Perth.
You claim that if the literalism that Mrs Court applied to Genesis on marriage were applied to 1 Timothy 2:12, she would be in hot water because it forbids women to teach or have authority over men.
The facts are that “I am not permitting a woman to teach” focussed especially on the church where Timothy was located at Ephesus. However, in other churches women could prophesy (1 Corinthians 11:5), give a teaching on occasions (1 Corinthians 14:26). Women were not excluded from teaching in Colossians 3:16, ‘Let the message about Christ live among you like a rich treasure. Teach and correct one another wisely’ (NIRV), and the older women were to be good teachers of the younger women (Titus 2:3-4). One of the spiritual gifts is that of teachers (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28). Nothing in these verses indicates the teaching gift is exclusively for men to minister to a mixed gathering.
As a female teacher of males in a church college and university at which you work, and your affiliation with the Uniting Church, you should know that literal interpretation includes examining the use of plain language, figures of speech, literary context, and the cultural context. It is hypocritical, in my view, for you to challenge Margaret Court’s teaching as a minister while you are involved in a related kind of ministry as a female teacher.
Therefore, Margaret Court is not out of order by being a Christian teacher. Interpreting the Bible literally and in context does not lead to your conclusion of Mrs Court being in “hot water” as a female teacher. Rather, she is in the hot seat of being one of God’s gifts to the church and stating publicly exactly what Jesus taught in support of heterosexual marriage and thus rejecting homosexual relationships.
God’s grace as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection extends to all sinners as Paul illustrated, “Some of you used to do those things. But your sins were washed away. You were made holy. You were made right with God. All of this was done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was also done by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Corinthians 6:12). What they “used to do” included those who “practised homosexuality” and other sins.
Through Christ’s salvation there is hope for change among those who used to practise homosexuality and other sins.
Please be consistent with your biblical interpretation. You were the one who quoted Galatians 3:28 to affirm that there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female because “all of you are one in Christ Jesus”. That teaching is profoundly troublesome for your statement against Mrs Court as a Christian teacher.
Hole 7: There are holey Bible arguments in what you excluded as much as what you included. Your claim is that polygamy was common in the Old Testament (which is true) and that you don’t hear anyone advocating this as a “biblical view” of marriage.
That is only partially true. A cult group such as the Mormons historically practised polygamy. You fail to mention that this polygamy in the Old Testament was between a man and women and not male to male. It was heterosexual polygamy.
Hole 8: What was God’s view of polygamy? His original plan was one man for one woman from the beginning with Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:27; 2:21-25).
That changed when sin entered the human race (Genesis 3) and Lamech had wives (Genesis 4:23). The Law of Moses was clear for the Israelites: “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray” (Deuteronomy 17:17).
Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). In that same chapter, there is a warning of the consequences of polygamy:
The Lord had warned Israel about women from other nations. He had said, ‘You must not marry them. If you do, you can be sure they will turn your hearts toward their gods.’ But Solomon continued to love them anyway. He wouldn’t give them up (1 Kings 11:2).
Hole 9: You declare the traditional nuclear family can be found in the Bible if we look for it, but it’s not the dominant model. The information given above makes it clear that the nuclear family (with aberrations such as polygamy) was found in the Bible in both New and Old Testaments.
You stated that the Bible doesn’t condemn “what we understand to be loving, mutual LGBTQI relationships today”. This is an imposition on the biblical text which states,
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, emphasis added).
Another translation of “men who have sex with men” is “male prostitutes, sodomites”.
Those who practise homosexuality are prevented from entering the kingdom of God – along with wrongdoers, deceivers, the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.
The New Testament does not allow or stress homosexual relationships. Its statement is clear nonetheless: “Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). It’s a serious violation of Scripture when you want to harmonise a verse like this with ”loving, mutual LGBTQI relationships today”.
Hole 10: You make a case for faith being what makes a person a Christian and not family structures or sexuality. That is not what Jesus taught: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). By the fruit of homosexual relationships, will you recognize Christians? The biblical evidence says, “No”.
Yes, faith in Christ alone for salvation is the primary requisite. However, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 declares the people with certain kinds of behaviour will not enter God’s kingdom. Homosexuality is one such activity. Faith needs to be demonstrated through God’s kind of works, not works defined by political correctness (see James 2).
Hole 11: You stated that Mrs Court’s “culturally bound ideology” is rejected by “biblical scholars and mainstream Christian churches”. Here you have committed the Appeal to Common Belief fallacy.
When you claim that a particular group of people – biblical scholars and mainstream Christian churches – accept the anti-literal interpretation as true, you have not presented evidence for the claim. It is erroneous reasoning.
This is careless thinking and is a dangerous way to accept information.
This is your faulty reasoning:
Many people (scholars and mainstream Church people) believe in a non-literal interpretation of what Margaret Court accepts literally.
Therefore, the non-literal interpretation is correct.
Hole 12: Your statement that “in the New Testament, Jesus said nothing about homosexual relationships or marriage, except that people should not divorce” is a diversion.
There was no need for Jesus to affirm same-sex relationships because his definition of marriage excluded them. He was not silent but defined the marriage union as between a man and a woman (Matthew 19:5).
Hole 13: Your assertion that many Christians are not represented by the views of Margaret Court or the “so-called Australian Christian Lobby”. This commits a Hasty Generalisation fallacy, also known as argument from small numbers. Ask Australian rugby union star, Israel Folau, about that!
You have drawn a conclusion from a small sample size (your estimate of “many Christians”), rather than examining statistics that are in line with the average situation. Your debunking of Mrs Court’s view and that of the Australian Christian Lobby because they do not line up with your “many Christians” of another view is deceptive reasoning.
A better solution would be to examine the statistics for the mainline churches versus the evangelical churches, including Pentecostal churches.
USA church growth expert, Ed Stetzer, has a particular interest in what is happening in the Australian church. He has analysed the Australian church scene and reported in the Bible Society Live Light, (12 May 2015) that too many churches are stagnant.
His observation of the Western world, including the Australian outlook, is that “mainline Protestantism” in the USA and its counterparts in the rest of the English speaking world are “rapidly declining”. He used the Uniting Church of Australia as a representative example, but this could be applied to other members of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCC). He expects this trend of progressive Protestant decline to continue.
By contrast, evangelicalism (represented by Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby) is growing in Australia. His view is that some of this may be partly related to those moving from NCC churches.
Stetzer said that the majority of Protestant Australians who attend church go to a conservative church. It may not call itself evangelical but is influenced by that movement.
A survey of 1,015 adults at Easter 2015 found that “just over half (52%) of Australian’s believe that God exists as the creator of the universe and Supreme Being. These findings have yielded similar results to the same question asked of the Australian public 6 years ago” (McCrindle Research).
According to the 2016 National Church Life Survey, the Pentecostals have overtaken Anglicans as Australia’s second largest religious group by attendance, behind the Catholic Church (https://wwrn.org/articles/46227/).
This should account for Stetzer’s comment that the large numbers of Protestant Australians attending church are conservative. He considered this represented the majority of Australian Protestants. I consider that a better assessment would be to state that a significant number of Protestant Australians attend conservative churches.
Therefore, Dr Whitaker, to dumb down the views of Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby on homosexuality as “not representative” of “many Christians” is to commit the Appeal to Popularity fallacy. This fallacy invokes the popularity of a proposition to provide evidence of its truthfulness.
Here you have committed this fallacy:
Many Christians promote modern Christian families that include gay couples and are not represented by Mrs Court’s or the Australian Christian Lobby’s views.
Therefore, the truth is that the modern Christian family includes gay couples.
This is invalid reasoning because it does not engage with a contextual interpretation of the biblical texts and the statistical divide between mainline Protestants and evangelical churches.
Hole 14: It is acceptable to send a player of rugby league, rugby union, ice hockey and basketball to the “sin bin” for certain offences against the rules of the games.
One of the largest holes in your agenda, Dr Whitaker, is your avoidance of the key factor – yes, the key factor – that has screwed up our worldviews. This is the problem of sin that has infiltrated every human being and our culture. “God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18).
Sin entered the world through Adam (Romans 5:12) but this sin not only screwed up human beings and their relationships, it also contaminated the universe.
God told Adam that because he listened to his wife (not his male partner) and ate from the tree from which God commanded him not to eat, then, “Cursed is the ground because of you” (Genesis 3:17).
However, you have been negligent in eliminating the problem of sin and its influence in Old Testament polygamy and other aberrations of marriage, including homosexual marriage, heterosexual adultery, and promiscuity (sleeping around).
The teaching on sin is central to Christianity. Sin consists of acts of offence against God and breaking his laws. “There is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-12).
However, the contamination of sin in relationships was missing from your article. There is no point in Jesus’ death and resurrection for redemption if there is no need to be liberated from the guilt of sin. Jesus Christ “gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:14).
There was no need to be freed from the sin of homosexuality or polygamy in your presentation. The sin problem left a big hole in your argument.
There’s a huge gap between Dr Margaret Court’s holy Bible and Dr Robyn Whitaker’s holey Bible on the authority of Scripture that contains teaching on homosexuality, gay couples, marriage equality, polygamy, heterosexuality and sexual purity..
I found 14 holes in Dr Whitaker’s case against Dr Court. There are possibly more. It is a serious situation when Whitaker castigates Court’s views when heterosexual and not homosexual relationships are supported by Jesus Himself.
You have bought into the contemporary, pro-homosexual, politically correct agenda that receives vast mass media coverage. Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby have promoted the biblical mandate of heterosexual marriage, which was supported by Jesus, the apostle Paul and has been the norm since the beginning of time.
I recommend that you make an apology to Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby for promoting your own views over those endorsed by Scripture – all in the name of your being a representative of Christianity.
Over the years I’ve read some interesting, provocative, and even strange reasons, for supporting euthanasia and assisted suicide. This one took the cake:
1. Decriminalising assisted suicide will only save lives
The full statement was:
Decriminalising assisted suicide will only save lives: old but healthy people will no longer decide to fly to Switzerland or jump off a cliff while they can, because they could be assured by someone who loves them that if in future they are in great pain or disability then they could be “helped to die” within Australia.
This is one of the weirdest statements from this person. How should I respond?
That’s strange logic – killing someone through assisted suicide will save lives!
1.1 Who has the right to give and take life?
According to Acts 17:24-25 (NIRV), “He is the God who made the world. He also made everything in it. He is the Lord of heaven and earth…. He himself gives life and breath to all people”.
That’s clear enough. The Lord God gives life and breath to all people. He does not use euthanasia to “save lives”. Human beings use assisted suicide.
First Timothy 6:13 states, “God gives life to everything”. Therefore, whose right is it to end life? It does not belong to the Dr to euthanise people. Let them die a ‘natural’ death and allow the sovereign God to deal with the time of death.
I’ve just sat with a wife at hospital beside her dying aged husband. The Drs thought he would die on Tuesday but God’s timing was Thursday morning. Nobody else has the right to end life. It is God’s right to give life to everyone and it is his right to determine the time of death.
I’m saddened that this person justified assisted suicide which is against the rights of the Lord God Almighty.
One of God’s rights is found in His omniscience (His attribute) – He’s knows everything about all human beings and the universe. The Lord God’s “eyes saw my body even before it was formed. You planned how many days I would live. You wrote down the number of them in your book before I had lived through even one of them” (Psalm 139:16).
Therefore, it is God’s right to give and to take life 
2. Why do people advocate euthanasia and assisted suicide?
Verywellhealth lists these as reasons to support the right-to-die with dignity movement:
A patient’s death brings him or her the end of pain and suffering.
Patients have an opportunity to die with dignity, without fear that they will lose their physical or mental capacities.
The overall healthcare financial burden on the family is reduced.
Patients can arrange for final goodbyes with loved ones.
If planned for in advance, organs can be harvested and donated.
With physician assistance, patients have a better chance of experiencing a painless and less traumatic death (death with dignity).
Patients can end pain and suffering when there is no hope for relief.
Some say assisted death with dignity is against the Hippocratic Oath, however, the statement “first do no harm” can also apply to helping a patient find the ultimate relief from pain through death.
Medical advances have enabled life beyond what nature might have allowed, but that is not always in the best interest of the suffering patient with no hope of recovery.
A living will, considered a guiding document for a patient’s healthcare wishes, can provide clear evidence of a patient’s decisions regarding end-of-life care (Torrey 2018).
All of the above points provide support for human autonomy at the time of death.
This is not the expression of a godly, Christian worldview but a secular, agnostic perspective. God is not mentioned in this list. There is not even a nod to the teaching by Elkanah’s wife, Hannah, in the OT: ‘The Lord is a God who knows everything. He judges everything people do…. The Lord causes people to die. He also gives people life. He brings people down to the grave. He also brings people up from death (1 Sam 2: 3b, 6).
The Christian way of death is summarised by John Piper:
Jesus put it this way: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground” — meaning, die — “apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of much more value than the sparrows” (Matthew 10:29–31). Now, what is the point? The point is, if the time for the death of a tiny bird in a remote forest is of a concern to God and determined by God, how much more will our days be numbered and determined by God with great care and wisdom. In fact, the psalmist says to God, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). Which means, [that] the days that God has allotted for [you and me] are already written in a book. They are decided. There aren’t any extra ones outside the book that slip up on God (Piper 2017).
3. There are good reasons to reject euthanasia and assisted suicide
There are sound reasons to discard voluntary, active euthanasia or assisted suicide legislation through the repeal of the Australian Territories’ legislation.
In my understanding, the case for euthanasia is based on the following:
Intentionally killing or assisting in the killing of innocent human beings. Repudiation of the doctor-patient relationship that is meant to promote life. It flies in the face of the medical advances made in the treatment of pain and is at odds with compassionate methods of care. It does not fully consider the historical examples that show euthanasia cannot be legislatively controlled (e.g. Holland, Belgium). It rests on presuppositions that do not respect human life. It plays God. Only God has the right to give and take life. Human beings are not animals, but unique beings made in the image of God. Ethically, it rests on self-defeating assertions, i.e. it can introduce dishonesty and deception into the doctor-patient relationship. Is the doctor one who kills or one who facilitates life? It is not in the patient’s or society’s best interests. It eliminates the sufferer rather than treating the suffering.
Effective palliative care is available in the home and the hospital.
Opinion polls are an unreliable indicator of support for euthanasia.
For an exposition of these points, see my submission on the 2008 Bill, number 386,
This discussion has moved from support for assisted suicide, ‘Decriminalising assisted suicide will only save lives’, to giving human beings the autonomous right to decide how they will die.
Reasons were given why secular, pro-death people support euthanasia and assisted suicide through promoting autonomy of the individual. By contrast, those who reject euthanasia and assisted suicide see the dangers of this legislation (based on historical precedent) and refuse to play God.
This is a reply to Peter FitzSimons, ‘David Goodall leads the way with choice we should all get to have’ (Brisbane Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 May 2018).
What a way to start an article! Where are the pro-lifers and fierce opponents of euthanasia?
Peter, we are in the cities, towns and streets across the nation. The mass media generally don’t seek us out to give the reasons why we oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia. Our views don’t get much air-play. They’re not accepted in an Australian culture where people do what is right in their own eyes.
FitzSimons promoted his pro-euthanasia view triumphantly, asking if Dr David Goodall got it right or wrong and whether we are on a slippery slope in our culture.‘David Goodall ended his life at 104 with a final powerful statement on euthanasia’.
If I accept this reasoning, I should have quit counselling suicidal youth and others through 30 years of counselling. Many considered life was pointless and they could be aged 14, 44 or 84.
I should have forgotten about my suicide awareness training programmes. Disregard referring suicidal people to Lifeline (ph 13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (ph 1300 22 4636) for counselling.
Why bother with trying to show there are better alternatives and providing compassionate support in making those decisions? Getting assistance in killing oneself is better! Right?
If they wanted to kill themselves, my advice should have been, ‘Go ahead and do it ASAP. That’s your choice. Good luck!’
Dr Goodall and those who promote assisted suicide set dangerous precedents. They place life and death decisions on the level of everyday choices.
Think of the ramifications!
FitzSimons asked: Where is the problem in any of the Swiss procedures and the way Goodall died?
Many! I will address only four of them:
1. World views make a world of difference
Worldviews have consequences.
FitzSimons promotes moral relativism. In his words, ‘It’s not your choice (opponents of the right-to-die). It’s our choice (euthanasia supporters)’.
What is a world view?
A world view is a way of viewing or interpreting all of reality…. A world view is really a world and life view. That is, it includes within it value indicators or principles by which one makes value judgments…. One set of world view “glasses” can be exchanged for a different world view. In science this kind of major change is called a “paradigm shift.” In religion it is called a “conversion” (Geisler & Watkins 1984:11-12).
Fitzsimons’ reasons to support euthanasia provide an example of the world view of moral relativism in action. Ethical decisions and choices of right and wrong are determined by individuals or group choices in this world view.
2. The logical consequences of moral relativism
What are the logical consequences of such a view?
Dr Goodall and Exit International consider that euthanasia ‘supports an individual of sound mind’s right to choose and implement a peaceful death at a time of their choosing’.
The late Labor MLC of the NSW upper house, Paul O’Grady, maintained ‘voluntary euthanasia is a question of basic human rights. It is about the right of individuals to choose for themselves the quality of life they want and when they no longer enjoy that quality of life’. Should such a view be applied to people of any age, including teenagers who claim life has no meaning?
The University of Southern Queensland (Toowoomba) published, ‘Business Ethics: boardroom pressures in an age of moral relativism’, affirming this world view in Australia.
Outside of the life/death sphere, history and contemporary experiences tell us that moral relativism has had serious or deadly repercussions, such as paedophilia, terrorism, the Nazi holocaust, Port Arthur massacre, alleged bribery and fraud of the financial sector, mayors unfit for office, cricket ball-tampering, etc.
3. There is a better way
Some will call this better way a choice because it is not forced on anybody. Australia was built on the moral ethics and government has its foundations in the absolutes of the Judeo-Christian world view.
Why do we need absolute standards of right or wrong in the euthanasia debate? Imagine living in an Australia where murdering anyone either voluntarily or involuntarily was considered right for the country.
We need standards that are beyond fickle human decisions. This does not require us to toe the line of the Judeo-Christian world view. It invites us to participate in upholding the absolute standards of all human beings who are made in the image of God.
So to kill such a person is to take over the sovereign God’s authority in life and death decisions. It is an attack on God’s sovereignty, in the name of human freedom.
John Piper summarised God’s view of life and death and whose right it is to take human life. ‘It seemed to him that in the euthanasia discussion, ‘Human life, which is distinct from all other earthly life in being created in the image of God and designed to exist forever, is the gift of God. And he owns it and may do with it as he please, take it any time he please without wronging anyone, and this is his unique prerogative’.
These verses of Scripture (from the ESV) support that view:
1 Tim 6:13, ‘[He] gives life to all things’.
Deut 32:39, ‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god besides me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand’.
1 Sam 2:6, ‘The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up’.
James 4:15, ‘Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’.
He gained the understanding from these passages of Scripture ‘that giving and taking life is ultimately God’s right. Human life in its fullest sense is a miracle that only he can create and only he has the right to take, unless he has given the state the right to use the sword in various settings to take life. But as far as medical things are concerned, I think it is clear that God’s rights are at stake here and we dare not intrude on what he alone has the right to do’ (Piper 2016).
Why invoke the commands of the Deity, the Lord God? Put simply, it’s because He tells the truth about life and death decisions. The New Testament use of ‘truth’ not only means the difference between true and false facts, but also that which conforms to reality, as opposed to mere reality.
Read the Scriptures and see the diagnosis of truth (reality) for Australia. They fit like a hand in a glove. You will find the cause of the problems of sin, evil and disease (Genesis 3), the impact on creation and on human beings all around us. From where do crime and violence come? The solution to the moral madness is found through God’s absolute moral standards (10 commandments, Exodus 20; the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7).
TThe solution to the human sin dilemma for individuals is found through Jesus Christ’s salvation (John 3:16; Acts 4:12) and the ultimate end of the wretched condition on earth will come at Jesus Christ’s second coming (Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 1:7).
What about the diseases inflicted on human beings, the deformity in vegetation, and animals who suffer?
Chantal Sébire is an example of a beautiful looking French woman who became a picture of gross facial deformity when a cancer from her left eye spread to engulf her face. This could be used as an emotional example to support assisted suicide. However by doing that, I would commit an ‘Argument by Emotive Language’ (see below) and it is false reasoning. Why? It does not provide evidence of the benefits and disadvantages of assisted suicide in any society. I do not provide this example as a reason to promote euthanasia, but it is the type of example used to persuade people and governments to legalise assisted suicide. I oppose such irrational thinking.
‘Chantal Sébire was a French schoolteacher who developed a rare form of cancer which severely disfigured her eye-sockets and face. She also lost her senses of sight, taste and smell’. She died in 2008 from a drug overdose when the French government would not grant her the right to euthanasia’ (courtesy Ranker).
In the euthanasia debate, the Christian world view lays out the reality of life and death decisions, as opposed to mere appearances. It declares the truth of reality.
That’s not how euthanasia promoter, Philip Nitschke, sees it. He remonstrated with this insulting attack on religious freedom, ‘Just bugger off christian lobby’.
Our nation was built on the Judeo-Christian foundation of the 10 commandments and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. But euthanasia takes life and death decisions and places them in autonomous hands.
Former medical practitioner and now Presbyterian minister, Neil Chambers’ Christian response to euthanasia got to the more foundational issue: ‘Who rules: God or [people]? Who has the right to determine who lives and who dies?’
His assessment rocks the foundations of human freedom: ‘The euthanasia proposals being discussed in Australia and other parts of the world today seek to give to one group of humans—doctors—the right to end human life. They do this without reference to God, or to the circumstances under which God has said human life may be taken’.
They justify the morality of euthanasia by giving human beings ultimate authority and freedom, ‘accountable only to themselves and thus free to do as they wish with their own lives’ (Neil Chambers).
In a Quora forum, Ken Creten gave a typical objection to moral absolutes: ‘I agree with others here that there are no absolute moral values’. What did he do? He created his own absolute in trying to deny absolutes. This new absolute is, ‘There are no absolute moral values’. That is a self-defeating argument.
Where would Australia be if we stuck to God’s sovereign and absolute standards of right and wrong in life and death decisions?
4. Appeal to the use of emotive language is a fallacy
FitzSimons’ choice to promote euthanasia by an appeal to a 104-year-old scientist who considered life had no meaning, commits an ‘Argument by Emotive Language’.
It is faulty reasoning when he used an emotive example of an aged man euthanised in Switzerland and emotional language such as, ‘So where are you now, you fierce opponents of euthanasia and the right-to-die? How many of you, honestly, can look at the triumphant -you heard me – passing of the 104-year-old … and say that he got it wrong, that society is on a slippery slope, et cetera?’ .
This argument provided no logical reasons to support or reject euthanasia. He replaced reason with emotion to try to win the argument. ‘It is a type of manipulation used in place of valid logic’ (Dr Bo Bennett).
We know from countries with legal euthanasia, no matter the safeguards, they have moved from voluntary to involuntary euthanasia and many cases are not reported in the data.
FitzSimons asked what my choice would be regarding death and my farewell hymn. This article should make that obvious. I have asked my children to sing these songs at my funeral service: ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus’ (Jim Reeves), and ‘What a Day That Will Be’ (Jim Hill, the song’s composer).
Legalising euthanasia in Australia would have ramifications way beyond the apparent ‘goodness’ of such decisions.
Arndt, W F & Gingrich, F W 1957. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (limited edition licensed to Zondervan Publishing House).
Geisler, N L & Watkins, W 1984. Perspectives: Understanding and Evaluating Today’s World Views. San Bernardino, California: Here’s Life, Publishers, Inc.
If you wanted to euthanise someone with a drug or provide a drug for self-administered suicide, which drug would you recommend?
Pentobarbital (trade name Nembutal) is the lethal drug recommended and made available through Australia’s Dr Philip Nitschke of Exit International for euthanasia or assisted suicide. Nitschke is a former medical doctor who also has a PhD in laser physics.
What would you do if your national TV network, funded by tax payers’ dollars to the tune of approximately $1 billion Australian annually, deliberately promoted only one side of a highly emotional contemporary issue? ABC TV’s 7.30 programme in Australia did just that on Thursday, 20 October 2016, with its advocacy for assisted suicide. How could one possibly describe it other than pursuing the role of an activist promoter?
What did it do? It provided video of euthanasia advocate, Max Bromson’s, giving himself a lethal dose of Nembutal, obtained from Philip Nitschke’s Exit International, to end his life. This was from video that the family filmed of his taking this lethal dose and then released to the ABC and the public.
The ABC gave only one side of the euthanasia controversy (with a small exception). It was grossly imbalanced in its coverage.
Therefore, I considered the place to begin was to …
1. Lodged a complaint with the ABC
This was my online complaint sent on 21 October 2016:
I viewed your story in support of euthanasia on the 7.30 programme, Thursday 20 October 2016. The story is titled, Family releases video of euthanasia advocate’s final moments, available at: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2016/s4560443.htm. It includes video and transcript. This shows the dark side of what Philip Nitschke will do illegally.
I protest at the way 7.30 did not provide balance in this story. As a $1 billion tax payer-funded broadcaster, we deserve balance in programming. That is not what I viewed last night.
In this entire story, the only words against euthanasia were from South Australian Labor MP, Tom Kenyon:
TOM KENYON, SA LABOR MP: Some of us are Christians in this Parliament and we have views that are formed and informed by our Christian upbringing and our faith.
There’s nothing wrong with that….
TOM KENYON: The idea that the state should assist in the deaths of people, to contribute financially through resources, the allocation of resources to the deaths of people, is not something I’m prepared to counter [the video said ‘countenance’].
This was an emotionally charged story to support euthanasia, even though it is illegal in Australia. There was not a word on issues such as:
These are the possible deleterious consequences for a nation that legalises the killing of people under any circumstances and assists in their suicides.
All human beings have a right to life and palliative care during their painful sicknesses and dying years.
The medical profession’s role is to help control the pain and not organise the death or killing.
Reasons why killing of human beings should not be legislated.
What a death culture of euthanasia and assisted suicide will do to the culture of the nation.
I am not writing as a theoretician. My wife is dying of leukaemia. I have two severe disabilities.
What will you do to bring balance to the 7.30 programme’s advocacy for euthanasia that was evident last night?
Spencer Gear PhD
I asked for a response via email but my experience with the ABC in the past is not to be hopeful of any lasting change in journalistic policy in obtaining balance in reporting. Unless the government demands such balance for funding and signs a contract with the ABC and SBS to that effect, it will not happen.
2. The mass media jumped on board with this story
Herald Sun front page 12 December 2005, reporting on the 2005 Cronulla riots (image courtesy Wikipedia).
Especially the News Corp media took the opportunity to challenge the content of this story. The Herald Sun on 21 October 2016 published, ‘ABC criticised for showing final moments of euthanasia advocate Max Bromson’s life. The article stated that its original edition was published as ‘ABC accused of “death voyeurism”’. ‘Death voyeurism’ was a term used by former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, in responding to the ABC story.
This Herald Sun article made these points:
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton accused the ABC of being “taken over” by political activists.
Tony Abbott: ‘Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there have to be standards of reporting. This is death voyeurism, not journalism’.
Neil Mitchell: ‘I strongly support voluntary euthanasia, but this was a blatant and irresponsible piece of attention-seeking by the ABC,’ the 3AW Mornings host said. He also called it ‘self-serving, self-indulgent journalism’.
(photo Philip Nitschke 2016, courtesy Wikipedia)
Bromson, a passionate and outspoken supporter of voluntary euthanasia, wanted to end his life his own way so he went to Philip Nitschke’s euthanasia advocacy group, Exit International, and secretly obtained the illegal euthanasia drug, Nembutal. Then at his chosen time when his bone cancer was severe, he asked family to take him to a motel room where he took the dose of Nembutal while his family filmed his last moments.
There are two bills before the South Australian parliament seeking to introduce voluntary euthanasia. This kind of political manoeuvring has been going on for two decades.
‘The latest bid for change was launched on Thursday with the 15th bill since 1995 put before the lower house by advocate and Liberal MP Duncan McFetridge…. Dr McFetridge said his Choices and Dignity at the End of Life bill had embraced previous concerns from many MPs, making voluntary euthanasia only available to people with a terminal illness whose suffering had become intolerable’.
McFetridge claimed of his euthanasia legislation that ‘it also provided for seven clear steps before voluntary euthanasia would become available and barred people with a disability or mental illness from seeking euthanasia on those grounds’.
‘This is a choice that is wanted by those few people for whom palliative care does not work,’ Dr McFetridge said.
The Sun Herald article continued: ‘Let’s give those people the democratic right to make the decision about how they leave this life’.
‘Labor MP Steph Key, who introduced the 14th bill [into the South Australian parliament] in February, said the new measures had tightened the eligibility and assessment processes. “We have continued to consult widely on the proposed voluntary euthanasia laws and this new Bill will encompass all the checks and safeguards sought by our colleagues,” she said’.
3. Responding to secular arguments favouring euthanasia
The Herald Sun’s article included a poll, ‘Should the ABC have shown footage of a euthanasia advocate ending their own life?’ Here it provided opportunity for comments. Two supporters of euthanasia responded:
3.1 Human beings compared with animals
This person compared euthanasia of human beings with what the RSPCA would do with animals that were suffering in a similar way. She compared animals found in poor state with people being prosecuted for euthanasia. However, we allow human beings to suffer, she said.
Those offended by the ABC 7.30 video should understand that ‘YOUR level of discomfort is nothing compared to what they are inflicting on these poor people. We need to stop and think for a minute about this. Making assisted suicide legal is different to making it compulsory! If YOU find the thought unpalatable, FINE don’t do it’.
She went down the standard line that ‘you do not have the right to impose your beliefs onto another human being. Making it legal will NOT result in more people dying, it will just help them die with dignity. We, collectively, as a society need to get OUR bloody noses out of other people’s business.
3.2 Pray to your mythical god
This fellow was in agreement with the animal comparison by Pat but he took the opportunity to give God a secular slam in the religious gut:
I agree with Pat. If Max was a animal his carers would be prosecuted. As for the Liberal Senator Knoll, you can pray to your mythical god and suffer if he wishes you to me. I will die with dignity at my own hand where I want and when I want.
3.3 I chose not to be silent
This support for euthanasia and assistance in suicide, comparing with animals, needs a response. This is how I countered:
The difference is that we are not animals. We are human beings. Promoting the killing of anyone is endorsing a mighty cultural shift.
There are important issues that need to be addressed before becoming gung-ho advocates of killing and assisted killing:
What are the possible deleterious consequences for a nation that legalises the killing of people under any circumstances and assists in their suicides? All human beings have a right to life and palliative care during their painful sicknesses and dying years. The medical profession’s role is to help control the pain and not organise the death. We need much more detailed discussion on the reasons why killing of human beings should not be legalised. What would a death culture of euthanasia and assisted suicide do to the culture of Australia, especially for those who are vulnerable?
I do not write as a theoretician. My wife is dying of leukaemia and I have 2 severe disabilities. I would never ever place my wife and me in the category of being animals that are so diseased and need to be put down. Life is given by God and he determines when our end should be.
Job 1:21 (NLT) reminds us: ‘He (Job) said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!”’ Psalm 139:16 (NIV) confirms that ‘Your (God’s) eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’.
Ronald, in shaking your fist at God and declaring that ‘you can pray to your mythical god’ you have committed an appeal to ridicule logical fallacy. We cannot have a logical discussion on such an important topic as end of life issues when you resort to this fallacious reasoning.
3.4 We choose what is right for each other
It was interesting to see how a non-Christian, relativist and secularist would respond to my challenge. She came back with a predictable promotion of autonomous reason:
She understood ‘exactly’ what I said. Her point was ‘that your choices are right for you under your circumstances’. However, living in our ‘wonderful democracy’ means I have the right to make my choice and others have the right not to share my ideals and beliefs.
They have as much right to an opinion and choice as I do.
There is ‘a difference between making something legal and making it compulsory’.
If I’m opposed to assisted suicide, she was confident that ‘nothing will change if it is made legal’.
She is not optimistic about the level of palliative care in hour health care for pensioners, veterans and terminally ill.
Who’s at fault? The politicians drop the ball as there are not enough votes in them. We can’t rely on good care being available for these people.
She wished me well in dealing with the personal tribulations of my wife and me.
In spite of my opposition, she will remain steadfast in her beliefs as stated.
4. Logical consequences of ‘it’s right for you and not right for me’
What are the consequences of accepting Pat’s worldview and its values on euthanasia? This was my assessment of her use of autonomous reason in our democracy.
I also understand what Pat says and the values driving her statements. It means that since we live in this wonderful Australian democracy we can make choices that are right for you and right for me. What’s the logical conclusion of this worldview driven by autonomous reason?
Why stop with Pat choosing euthanasia and my opposing it because of choices in our democracy? There is no reason you can stop people making the right decision for them to break into your property and flog whatever they want. I don’t share that value, but who am I to stop them in a democratic society that allows choices?
Let’s press her worldview to another logical conclusion: Who am I to say that people should not murder human beings and lie about what they did when they are the choices they make? You may disagree in a democracy but neither of us should be forced to agree that stealing and murder are wrong if democratic values are maintained. Neither of us would have to agree that paedophilia and the rape of children is wrong. If it’s good for him to do that, who are we to oppose that value.
However, why are murder, theft, lying and rape illegal as absolute values in Australia? It’s because they are wrong, based on God’s transcendent standards in, say, the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20:1-17 NIV; Matthew 5-7 NIV). There are those who disagree and break the law in our democracy but they suffer just consequences.
She said, ‘If you are opposed to the concept of assisted suicide, then nothing will change if it is made legal.’ This is a false premise. Introducing voluntary killing of another person into our culture will change the very fabric of our society. There will be fear for the elderly, severely injured and others to enter hospital.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at what is happening in the Netherlands right now following legalisation in 2002. It started with Drs who could euthanise patients if they were competent, conscious, repeatedly asked for euthanasia, and were suffering unbearably as a result of an incurable disorder. What are they up to now? According to Reuters’ news agency of 12 October 2016, the Dutch government is drafting legislation to legalise assisted suicide for people who sense they have ‘completed life’ (the elderly) [Sterling 2016].
I agree that more money needs to be spent on palliative care. That is one value on which Pat and I agree. However, autonomous reason in a democracy leads to chaos because no reigns can be placed on any moral values. It’s the natural outcome of relativism in action.
What is relativism? ‘The term “ethical relativism” encompasses a number of different beliefs, but they all agree that there are no universal, permanent criteria to determine what may or may not be an ethical act. God granted no divine command, and human nature displays no common law. Consequences have no bearing because each person or society may interpret the “rightness” of each consequence differently. Ethical relativism teaches that a society’s ethics evolve over time and change to fit circumstances’ (Got Questions 2002-2016).
We need absolute standards of right and wrong: It is wrong to steal, kill and tell lies. God provides those standards in Scripture (see Ex 20:1-17; Matt 5-7). Without God’s unchanging standards, there is no way to objectively determine if murder is anything different to euthanasia. The Canadian Law Reform Commission got it right in 1983 when it concluded that mercy killing (euthanasia) should not be made a separate category to homicide (reference below).
5. Other issues from the secularists’ responses
The secular responses from Pat and Don raise some other disturbing concerns about euthanasia.
5.1 Dying with dignity at my own hand
Don stated: ‘I will die with dignity at my own hand where I want and when I want’.
As retired anaesthetist, Dr. Brian Pollard indicates, (see below), safe voluntary euthanasia is a myth. That Don wants to die with dignity at his own hand when he wants is a pleasing objective for a person using his or her autonomous reason. However, I have some questions:
(a) How does he know he will have a disease that will allow him to die with dignity at the end of life?
(b) History demonstrates that not all Drs can be trusted to implement the wishes of the patient.
(c) We know from the history of humanity that laws against murder, theft, rape and lying do not prevent those crimes from being committed. Therefore, to die with dignity could fall into the category of the Drs who lie about maintaining the law to euthanise human beings who voluntarily decide when they do it, without permission.
(d) A greater issue than the human side of dying is what lies beyond death. God has told us what that will be: ‘Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment’ (Hebrews 9:27 NIV).
Don as a secularist wants to give God a kick out of his life by assigning him to this place of imagination: ‘You can pray to your mythical god’. One minute after his last breath he will know he is dead wrong. How do I know? Truth is that which matches reality. I take Scripture and examine its description of what is happening in our contemporary world and I see an exact description of reality. Truth is that which matches reality. God’s truth in Scripture lines up with the reality of human experience in our contemporary world.
It demonstrates why doctors and human beings in general want to violate God’s way of life. Romans 1:18 (NLT) states it clearly: ‘God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness’. In practical terms in the euthanasia discussion, God will show his anger towards all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth about whose responsibility it is to take life. They suppress this truth because of their practices of wickedness – sinful actions that violate God’s truthful rule in people’s lives and in our society.
I recommend to Don that he deals with something more serious than ‘dying with dignity’ and choosing the time, place and manner of his own death.
Pat wrote some of the most provocative comments in her/his support of euthanasia. Here is another one:
Pat: ‘Anyone who took offense at the video should realize that YOUR level of discomfort is nothing compared to what they are inflicting on these poor people’.
Let’s get something clear. My opposition to euthanasia and my offense at the ABC 7.30 programme’s support of euthanasia with the film of Max Bromson’s death by assisted suicide, has zero to do with inflicting suffering on poor people in their distress.
Who gives and takes life – God – and that role should not be usurped by autonomous people who reason that killing or assistance in the killing of people is appropriate for a democratic culture. ‘The LORD gives both death and life; he brings some down to the grave but raises others up’ (1 Sam 2:6 NLT).
Many doctors cannot be trusted with obeying the euthanasia law (see below).
5.3 You don’t have right to impose your beliefs
Pat: ‘But you do not have the right to impose your beliefs onto another human being. Making it legal will NOT result in more people dying, it will just help them die with dignity’.
Notice the hypocrisy in this statement. I don’t have the right to impose my pro-life beliefs on another human being. What is she doing? She is imposing her pro-euthanasia views on Australian society and I am included. It is paradoxical that someone doesn’t want my values but is brazen enough to push her values on me without seeing the hypocrisy.
I have as much right to oppose euthanasia in this democracy as I have to oppose murder, theft, rape and lying. I have every right to uphold God’s absolute standards of justice for a just society. For the Old Testament people of Israel, moral standards were contained in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17 (NIV). Since the time of Christ, they have been the commandments of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7 NIV). I have every right to promote the Sermon on the Mount as God’s absolutes for a society that brings justice.
It is a furphy (untrue or absurd) statement to say that I don’t have the right to ‘impose’ beliefs. A better way to put it would be: In this democracy, I have the right to demonstrate that adhering to God’s absolute laws of right and wrong leads to a society where justice is practised.
There is a further dimension: ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people’ (Proverbs 14:34 NIV). For the Hebrews, ‘righteousness’ was synonymous for ‘justice’. God’s justice will exalt Australia and breaking God’s law by sinning against his righteous standards will condemn Australia to chaos and destruction. If Australia legislates in favour of euthanasia, it will be promoting injustice and condemning the country to God’s punishments.
Pat’s view was that making euthanasia ‘legal will NOT result in more people dying; it will just help them die with dignity’. This has been demonstrated to be false in the Netherlands. Will that also happen in Canada which also legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2016?
5.4 Keep OUR bloody noses out of another person’s business
Pat: ‘We, collectively, as a society need to get OUR bloody noses out of other people’s business’.
She writes with some anger with his capitalisation of OUR. There are many good reasons why people should have their noses in other people’s businesses. That’s the responsibility of living in a caring, compassionate society. If my neighbour’s house is on fire, I’ll stick my nose into his business and call 000. If a thief breaks into the house, I’ll go to help him and do the best I can to catch the thief and hold him down.
To my dying day I’ll violate Pat’s command. Why? It IS my business if somebody is being murdered, raped, assaulted, or theft is taking place on anyone’s property that I know about. I have a duty of care and love for my neighbour, based on my Christian worldview: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12:31 NIV). Therefore, rejecting the deliberate killing or assistance in killing of another person through euthanasia for assisted suicide IS my business. I’ll stand up for life and not for murder. The right to life is one of God’s absolutes. It is His responsibility to take like when He is ready and not when autonomous reason says so.
Counselling people has been my business for 34 years (until retirement). I will not change my language from, ‘I’ll be available to help you with your depression or suicidal ideation’ to ‘I’ll be here to assist you to know that life is not worth living and I’ll refer you to a euthanasia doctor’. That changes the ethics of a caring professional. I will not buy into butchering ethics in that manner.
The Canadians got it correct in their 1983 Law Reform Commission on euthanasia. It concluded, following an inquiry, that ‘the Commission recommends that mercy killing not be made an offence separate from homicide and that there be no formal provision for special modes of sentencing for this type of homicide other than what is already provided for homicide’ (Parliament of Canada 1995, emphasis added).
5.5 Lack of good palliative care
Pat: ‘As for your reference to palliative care, I, sadly, do not share your optimistic view. In a perfect world, we would have excellent health care for our pensioners, veterans and terminally ill. The sad reality of it is, we do not. Our politicians continually drop the ball on these issues, guess there just aren’t many votes in it for them, so we cannot rely on the fact that good care will be readily available’.
This is one area where I agree with Pat. If politicians continue to oppose euthanasia (and I pray that they will), I ask them to pump more medical dollars into better palliative care and hospices for the suffering and dying.
6. We cannot trust all doctors to obey euthanasia laws
If we cannot accept that Australians will abide by laws against murder, lies and theft, why should we expect doctors to obey the parameters of euthanasia in any legislation that is passed into law?
I do not reject euthanasia because of the results it is likely to cause. We have international evidence that doctors cannot be trusted to abide by a euthanasia law.
Steven Pleiter is the director of the Levenseindekliniek – End of Life clinic – in The Hague, The Netherlands. Angela Neustatter (2015) reported for The Guardian that in spite of his Christian upbringing, he wished he could have helped his mother to die after she suffered a stroke. He’s aware of the arguments that people need to be protected from the chance they may improve in the future. However, to those who are really suffering and want help to die, he considers it morally right to give help in that situation.
Where does this lead? Neustatter (2015) reported that this kind of thinking extends to anyone over the age of 18 who fits the criteria. Pleiter told of a 22-year-old male who was paralysed from the neck down in a sporting accident and considered life unbearable as he began to go blind. ‘At this point, he was adamant he did not want to go on. We agreed to help and his parents were utterly supportive’. However, it was more controversial when a 47-year-old woman with incurable tinnitus (like train brakes constantly shrieking in her head) who convinced the clinic ‘her suffering was unbearable’.
The Levenseindekliniek clinic does not charge because it receives funding from the Holland government’s health system. Pleiter acknowledged that ‘we go to the borders of the law, but never outside. We are a professional organisation but one that believes you look at the fact that some people want to die as enabling them to accept responsibility for their choice. It is about using compassion to give them the dignity to go when they wish’ (Neustatter 2015).
Luke Gormally, director of London’s Linacre Bio-Ethics Centre (now called Anscombe Bioethics Centre), when in Australia warned of the message sent to youth with legalisation of euthanasia:
Legalizing euthanasia in Australia would send a ‘wholly negative message’ to young people and might even encourage teenagers to consider suicide, a British bioethics expert warned. Luke Gormally, director of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics in London, told a Sydney news conference Friday night that new research has shown that lobbying to legalize euthanasia generally occurs during economic slumps. The government of Northern Territory has already legalized euthanasia, and Australian philosophers Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse have called for the legalization of so-called mercy killing. Gormally said Singer and Kuhse had ‘no coherent concept of justice,’ and said the underlying philosophical reason for legalizing euthanasia is the judgment that certain lives were not worthwhile. ‘Not only is that concept subversive of the foundations of justice in society, but it would be an educational message of the kind Australian society just does not need,’ he said. He said legalizing euthanasia would send young people the message that suicide is an acceptable solution to problems. ‘Now it seems to me that a society that, through the law, is underwriting the notion that certain lives are not worthwhile is positively validating a perception that young people can lapse into at critical moments in their lives,’ he said. ‘It’s sending a wholly negative message about human life and human worth,’ Gormally said. He added, ‘I gather that the rate of teenage suicide in Australia is rather high,’ although he did not provide statistics. Gormally, in Australia to give public lectures in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, said a study by U.S. researchers had shown that calls to legalize euthanasia increase during times of economic depression (Anderson 1995).
The British Medical Association’s report against legalising euthanasia has been reviewed by Luke Gormally. These are the main points he makes (Gormally n d):
Euthanasia must not be supported because of the value of the individual;
It is important to have an unambiguous rule against euthanasia’s killing in order to maintain the true character of the doctor’s commitment to patient care.
The insensitivity of euthanasia needs to be acknowledged.
Which human beings are of `inestimable value’ and why are they?
What counts as intentional killing?
It creates limits of the duty to treat.
We know that when we support voluntary euthanasia, it can go beyond the person’s choice. Holland is the most evident, contemporary example for which we have clear evidence. That country has permitted voluntary, active euthanasia as far back as 1973 and made it legal in 2002.
Dutch medical doctor, Dr. Karel Gunning, on his 1992 visit to Australia said: ‘Holland has indeed become a very dangerous country, as patients may have their lives ended without their request and without knowledge of the authorities. The doctor thus has become a powerful man, able to decide on life or death’. Dr Gunning wrote that ‘whatever our own position, we have to admit that euthanasia in the Netherlands is completely out of control. If you define euthanasia, as the Dutch Physicians’ League does, as “Consciously causing a patient’s death,” then it occurred in some 20,000 cases in the Netherlands in one year. Of a total annual mortality of 129,000, this amounts to over 15 percent of all deaths’ (Gunning n.d.).
[Photograph of 91-one-year old, Nel Bolten, showing her tattoo on her chest that says: ‘Do not reanimate, I am 91+’. It was taken on Nov. 15, 2014 in The Hague, The Netherlands (Ross 2015)].
At a special presentation, Dr Gunning stated:
The government-installed Remmelink Committee, which issued a report on the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands in the year 1991, speaks of 2,300 cases of euthanasia, that is 1.8 percent of all deaths! They used another definition of euthanasia, to wit “life-ending treatment at the patient’s explicit request.”
Using our own definition we have to include, besides the 2,300 cases called euthanasia by the Committee, the 400 cases of assisted suicide and the 1,000 cases of ending a patient’s life without his request, also mentioned in the report. That makes together nearly 4,000 cases. But the report speaks also of cases where high doses of medicine for pain and symptom control were given or where treatment was omitted with the implied or explicit intention to hasten the patient’s death. And these cases are called “normal medical practice”. That is most frightening. Refraining from treatment which burdens the patient and cannot prevent his death is, of course, very good medical practice. But if it is done with the intention to end life, then it is not medical practice at all, but consciously causing a patient’s death, which we call euthanasia. On the basis of the numbers given in the Remmelink report the Dutch Physicians’ League had estimated the number of these cases at 16,000. Together, the League estimated the number of cases where the doctor had the intention (implied or explicit) to end the patient’s life at nearly 20,000 per year, that is over 15 percent of all deaths. These are huge numbers.
Now these conclusions and estimates of the Physicians’ League have been hotly contested. But in a recent letter to the editor of Medisch Contact (MC, April 29,1994), the official organ of the Royal Dutch Medical Association, the investigators of the Remmelink Committee themselves say that abstaining from treatment was done with the explicit intention to hasten the end of life in 11,000 cases. And high doses for pain and symptom control were given with the implied or explicit intention to hasten the end of a patient’s life in 6,500 cases. So, according to their estimates there must have been over 21,000 cases where the doctor had the intention (implied or explicit) to end the patient’s life, which is over 16.4 percent of all deaths, even more than the estimates of the Physicians’ League.
I mention these facts as a warning, because they show that we have no reason at all to tell the world to follow our example. They show how rapidly the Netherlands has slipped down the slippery slope. They show that, once you accept killing as a solution for one problem, you soon find a hundred problems for which killing can be regarded as a solution. First you kill at the patient’s request, then without request, a comatose patient or a handicapped newborn baby, then you help a healthy but depressed person to commit suicide, etc. (Gunning n.d.).
Dr K F Gunning is president of the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life; Board Nederlands Artsenverbond – Dutch Physicians’ League (Gunning n.d.).
Of Holland, ‘We have no reason at all to tell the world to follow our example. They show how rapidly the Netherlands has slipped down the slippery slope’.
The New Scientist magazine (20 June 1992) confirmed this alarming situation in an article titled, ‘The Dutch way of death’ (Rachel Nowak). It stated that ‘doctors and nurses in the Netherlands can practise euthanasia if they stick to certain guidelines. Yet many patients receive lethal injections without giving their consent’. It went on to say:
In some hospitals, doctors routinely approach patients who are terminally ill, offering to inject them with lethal doses of barbiturates and curare. But Dutch euthanasia has its sinister side, too. Involuntary euthanasia of sick and elderly people is commonplace in the Netherlands, and that when patients do opt for euthanasia, it is frequently out of fear of being a nuisance rather than to avoid unnecessary physical suffering.
The details are alarming. At least a third of the 5000 or so Dutch patients who each year receive lethal doses of drugs from their doctors do not give their unequivocal consent. About 400 of these patients never even raise the issue of euthanasia with their doctors. Moreover, of those who willingly opt for euthanasia, only about 5 per cent do so solely because of unbearable pain.
New Scientist concluded that ‘these revelations strike a blow at the two central canons of the worldwide euthanasia lobby: that euthanasia should be used only as a means to end pointless physical suffering, and that the patient alone should make the decision’. As one Dutch doctor put it: ‘Everywhere doctors are terminating lives. The only difference in Holland is that here we talk about it’.
6.1 Latest news out of Europe
As I was writing this article on 22 October 2016, , I was alerted to an article in The Washington Post of 19 October 2016 (Lane 2016). Its title was, ‘Europe’s morality crisis: Euthanizing the mentally ill’, and contained this disturbing information:
Once prohibited — indeed, unthinkable — the euthanasia of people with mental illnesses or cognitive disorders, including dementia, is now a common occurrence in Belgium and the Netherlands.
This profoundly troubling fact of modern European life is confirmed by the latest biennial report from Belgium’s Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia, presented to Parliament on Oct. 7.
Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for patients suffering “unbearably” from any “untreatable” medical condition, terminal or non-terminal, including psychiatric ones.
In the 2014-2015 period, the report says, 124 of the 3,950 euthanasia cases in Belgium involved persons diagnosed with a “mental and behavioral disorder,” four more than in the previous two years. Tiny Belgium’s population is 11.4 million; 124 euthanasias over two years there is the equivalent of about 3,500 in the United States.
The figure represents 3.1 percent of all 2014-2015 euthanasia cases — and a remarkable 20.8 percent of the (also remarkable) 594 non-terminal patients to whom Belgian doctors administered lethal injections in that period.
What’s a bit different about this Belgian report, however, is that it’s the first to appear since journalists and psychiatric professionals, inside Belgium and outside, began to take notice of what’s going on — and to raise questions about it.
Recent newspaper articles and documentaries focused on cases in which psychiatrists euthanized or offered to euthanize people with mental illnesses, some still in their 20s or 30s, under dubious circumstances.
Seemingly stung by these criticisms, the commission spends two of its report’s pages defending the system, explaining that all is well and that no one is being euthanized except in strict accordance with the law (Lane 2016).
This article again confirms the slippery slop with euthanasia legislation and how voluntary eventually becomes involuntary with euthanasia – even to killing young people with mental illnesses.
7. Why voluntary euthanasia cannot be controlled: Dr Brian Pollard speaks
Dr Brian Pollard is a retired Australian anaesthetist and palliative care physician, who founded and directed the first full-time palliative care service in a teaching hospital in Sydney at Concord Hospital in 1982 and directed it for five years. He is author of The Challenge of Euthanasia (Pollard 1994). In this article, Pollard demonstrates why ‘every law to permit euthanasia will be inherently and unavoidably unsafe’ (Pollard 2011). These are some of his reasons:
‘I believe that MPs, who have sole responsibility for making safe laws, should direct their attention to ensuring that draft euthanasia bills cannot imperil the lives of innocent people who do not wish to die’
‘A common feature of those who advocate euthanasia bills is their touching faith that certain things will happen, just because the draft prescribes them. If that were true, no crime would ever be committed because all crime is currently forbidden by some law’.
He cited Yale Kamisar, an American professor of law in this field, who wrote a ‘seminal paper’ in 1958 in which ‘he listed these basic difficulties [with euthanasia laws]: ensuring that the person’s choice was free and adequately informed; physician error or abuse; difficult relationships between patients and their families and between doctors and their patients; difficulty in quarantining voluntary euthanasia from non-voluntary; and risks resulting from this overt breach of the traditional universal law protecting all innocent human life’.
Pollard observed that all of these problems ‘still exist and others have been added, such as the critical role of depression in decision-making and the evolution in the moral basis for requesting death from the relief of severe suffering in the terminally ill to reliance on respect for personal autonomy’.
Pollard observed that definitions are often vague or at odds with ordinary meanings. What about pain and suffering? He rightly pointed out that ‘both highly subjective experiences; neither can be measured or compared between persons’. He added that according to draft euthanasia bills, they ‘have to be simply accepted as the person describes them, even when this may raise serious doubt. And, as most now allow, if the symptoms are said to make life “intolerable”, even though it is recognised that what one person finds intolerable others can bear’,
There are many other factors he raises that need to be taken on board by legislators.
Voluntary euthanasia cannot be practised with integrity (my word) because:
‘Wherever voluntary euthanasia is practised, legally or not, non-voluntary is also found, including in Australia. Many find this difficult to credit because, whatever their failings, doctors surely would not take life without any request. In fact, they do it because it seems logical’.
This happened in Holland. See my comments now on the Dutch Remmelink Report of 1991.
8. Doctors killing without explicit request in Holland: The Remmelink Report
What has been happening in The Netherlands where euthanasia has been practised since 1973 but only legal since 2002?
By eliminating the prosecutorial review of all cases, the government hopes to lessen doctors’ fears of possible prosecutions and encourage more doctors to actually report induced deaths. Reporting noncompliance is a major problem for the government. A Dutch study, published in 1996, found that the majority of Dutch doctors (59%) do not report voluntary euthanasia and assisted-suicide deaths, and cases of involuntary euthanasia (without patients’ knowledge or consent) are rarely if ever reported. [van der Wal et al., “Evaluation of the Notification Procedure for Physician-Assisted Death in the Netherlands,” New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), 11/28/96:1706-1707]….
In a more recent Dutch study, researchers found that 55% of the Dutch doctors interviewed in 1995 indicated that “they had ended a patient’s life without his or her explicit request” or “they had never done so but that they could conceive of a situation in which they would.” [van der Maas et al., “Euthanasia, Physician-Assisted Suicide, and Other Medical Practices Involving the End of Life in the Netherlands, 1990-1995,” NEJM, 11/28/96:1701] (Patients Rights Council 2013).
An earlier official Dutch Government report (The Remmelink Report, 1991) gave conclusive evidence of abuse. The report showed clearly that doctors are killing without the explicit request of the patient. Doctors have violated the ‘strict medical guidelines’ provided by the Dutch courts (in Fleming 1992). See also Fleming (2003), ‘Euthanasia by omission in Australia: What the parliament does not allow, the courts allow’.
8.1 EUTHANASIA IN HOLLAND: CRITERIA LAID DOWN BY THE COURTS
(Although officially illegal at the time of the Remmelink Report in 1991), the courts provided these criteria:
1. The request for euthanasia must come only from the patient and must be entirely free and voluntary.
2. The patient’s request must be well considered, durable and persistent.
3. The patient must be experiencing intolerable (not necessarily physical) suffering, with no prospect of improvement.
4. Euthanasia must be a last resort. Other alternatives to alleviate the patient’s situation must have been considered and found wanting.
5. Euthanasia must be performed by a physician.
6. The physician must consult with an independent physician colleague who has experience in the field.
8.2 BUT WHAT WERE THE RESULTS IN HOLLAND?
The Dutch report in the British medical journal, The Lancet, stated that ‘in cases of euthanasia the physician often declares that the patient died a natural death” (p. 669). This report indicated that 0.8% of the 38.0% of all deaths involving euthanasia were ‘life-terminating acts without explicit and persistent request’ (p. 670) [van der Maas, et al 1991:669). The abstract of this article stated that it:
presents the first results of the Dutch nationwide study on euthanasia and other medical decisions concerning the end of life (MDEL). The study was done at the request of the Dutch government in preparation for a discussion about legislation on euthanasia. Three studies were undertaken: detailed interviews with 405 physicians, the mailing of questionnaires to the physicians of a sample of 7000 deceased persons, and the collecting of information about 2250 deaths by a prospective survey among the respondents to the interviews. The alleviation of pain and symptoms with such high dosages of opioids that the patient’s life might be shortened was the most important MDEL in 17·5% of all deaths. In another 17·5% a non-treatment decision was the most important MDEL. Euthanasia by administering lethal drugs at the patient’s request seems to have been done in 1 ·8% of all deaths. Since MDEL were taken in 38% of all deaths (and in 54% of all non-acute deaths) we conclude that these decisions are common medical practice and should get more attention in research, teaching, and public debate (van der Maas et al 1991:669).
This means that the deaths of about 1,000 Dutch people in a single year were caused by a doctor who hastened the death of a patient without the patient’s explicit request and consent.
But there is more. Another assessment is that the real number of physician assisted deaths, estimated by the Remmelink Committee Report is, in reality 25,306 which is made up of (they’re on the overhead projector for you to see):
2,300 euthanasia on request (Remmelink Report, 13),
400 assisted suicide (ibid.15),
1,000 life-ending treatments without explicit request (ibid.),
4,756 died after request for non-treatment or the cessation of treatment with the intention to accelerate the end of life. cf, ibid, 15; there were 5,800 such cases but only 82% (i.e. 4,756) of these patients actually died. (cf Dutch Euthanasia Survey Report, 63ff).
8,750 life prolonging treatment was withdrawn or withheld without the request of the patient either with the implicit intention (4,750) or with the explicit intention (4,000) to terminate life.[ibid., 69; There were 25,000 such cases but only 35% (i.e. 8,750) were done with the intention to terminate life. Cf ibid., 72; cf also Remmelink Report, 16).
8,100 morphine overdose with the implicit intention (6,750) or explicit intention (1,350) to terminate life. Of these, 61% were carried out without consultation with the patient, i.e. non-voluntary euthanasia.
There were 22,500 patients who received overdoses of morphine, [cf Remmelink Report, 16. 36% were done with the intention to terminate life, cf Dutch Euthanasia Survey Report, 58. See ibid., 61, Tabel 7.7 (“Besluit niet besproken”)].
8.3 THIS TOTAL OF 25,306 PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED DEATHS AMOUNTED TO 19.61% OF TOTAL DEATHS [129,000] IN THE NETHERLANDS IN 1990.
‘To this should be added the unspecified numbers of handicapped newborns, sick children, psychiatric patients, and patients with AIDS whose lives were terminated by doctors according to the Remmelink Report’ (pp. 17-19).
The Dutch programme of euthanasia has moved quickly to go beyond the adult parameters of the law and legalisation. In fact, while there was no legislation but legal protocol for adult euthanasia, killing of children was happening.
This demonstrates that, like with laws against murder, theft, lying and rape, no legislation can curtail the boundaries when autonomous human reason, freedom, and sinful human beings are involved in determining the values of a culture.
‘For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard’ (Rom 3:23 NLT). What is sin? ‘Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God’’ (1 John 3:4 NLT). So anyone who breaks God’s law, ‘You shall not murder’ (Ex 20:13: Matt 5:21 NIV) is sinning. This latter verse states, ‘You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment’’’. God’s view is that anyone who commits murder through euthanasia is violating His law and also will be subject to God’s judgment. We are not told explicitly in this verse what that will be but warning about judgment from God should be given to everyone promoting euthanasia. They may not believe in God but will come under his judgment whether they accept it or not, just as a person will face judgment in Australia for breaking the law against perjury.
The following is an example of euthanasia of infants in Holland. It was done at what was formerly the Academic Hospital, Groningen, but is now associated with The University Medical Center, Groningen:The Weekly Standard report stated:
IN 2004, Groningen University Medical Center [The Netherlands] made international headlines when it admitted to permitting pediatric euthanasia and published the “Groningen Protocol,” infanticide guidelines the hospital followed when killing 22 disabled newborns between 1997 and 2004. The media reacted as if killing disabled babies in the Netherlands was something new. But Dutch doctors have engaged in infanticide for more than 15 years. (A Dutch government-supported documentary justifying infant euthanasia played on PBS [Public Broadcasting System USA] in 1993. Moreover, a study published in 1997 in the Lancet determined that in 1995, about 8 percent of all infants who died in the Netherlands—some 80 babies—were euthanized by doctors, and not all with parental consent; this figure was reproduced in a subsequent study covering the year 2001.)
As far back as 1990, the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) published a report intended to govern “life-terminating actions” taken against incompetent patients, including severely disabled newborns. The KNMG approved of pediatric euthanasia if the baby is deemed to have an “unlivable life,” a concept disturbingly close to Binding and Hoche’s “life unworthy of life” (Smith 2006).
In 1984 the Dutch Supreme Court ruled voluntary euthanasia was acceptable, provided doctors followed strict guidelines. But, under Dutch criminal law, physicians could still face prosecution.
In 2002, the Dutch parliament voted to formally legalise the practice, making the Netherlands the first nation in the world to do so. Belgium did it in that year as well. However, examine what has happened in the Netherlands:
Originally when The Netherlands legalised euthanasia , it was for adults. Doctors could kill a patient if that person ‘was competent and conscious, had repeatedly asked for euthanasia, and was suffering unbearably as a result of an incurable disorder’ (Murray 2016).
Although Belgium had legalised euthanasia in 2002,‘in 2014, the Belgian parliament passed a bill that allows the euthanizing of children, no matter how young, so long as they are terminally ill. In Holland, the lower age limit for euthanasia is currently twelve with parental consent, though euthanasia advocates are pushing to eliminate any age limit’ (Murray 2016).
‘In Holland today, it is accepted that people who are suffering unbearably from mental illness may be killed’ (Murray 2016).
On October 12, 2016, Reuters newsagency reported: ‘The Dutch government intends to draft a law that would legalize assisted suicide for people who feel they have “completed life,” but are not necessarily terminally ill, it said on Wednesday (12 October 2016)…. Health Minister Edith Schippers wrote in the letter that “because the wish for a self-chosen end of life primarily occurs in the elderly, the new system will be limited to” them. She did not define a threshold age’ (Sterling 2016).
The slippery slope has happened in Holland. Euthanasia and assisted suicide cannot be contained.
10. Case studies of euthanasia
A Belgian physician and euthanasia activist, Wim Distelmans, has released details of what he has done in Belgium:
In September , the 60-year-old physician gave a lethal injection to Nathan Verhelst, 44, depressed over a failed sex-change operation. Last year , he oversaw the double euthanasia of Marc and Eddy Verbessem, 45-year-old deaf twins who chose to die after learning they would lose their eyesight. Also last year , he euthanized a despondent Godelieva De Troyer, 64, whose children learned of her death after the fact. And he acknowledges there are many more “borderline” cases that the public never hears about.
To some, Dr. Distelmans has come to embody the dangers of legalized euthanasia. “What is he? Is he God or something?” Ms. De Troyer’s son, Tom Mortier, asked in a recent interview (Hamilton 2013).
Charles Lane reported another case by Dr. Distelmans:
Frank van den Bleeken, imprisoned for 30 years for rape and murder, sought euthanasia from Distelmans, citing his incurable violent impulses and the misery of life behind bars. Belgian officials and Distelmans initially agreed; a lethal injection the murderer might have gotten as punishment in the United States would be supplied as therapy in anti-death penalty Europe.
Dr Karel Gunning was a medical doctor in Holland. He gave examples of how doctors violated the Dutch euthanasia law:
An internist, called to see a lady with lung cancer who breathed with great distress, told her that he could help her, but that he would prefer to admit her to his hospital. The patient refused, as she feared to be euthanized. But the doctor told her that he would be on duty during the weekend and would admit her himself. She did go on Saturday. On Sunday night, she was breathing normally. On Monday morning the doctor was off duty. In the afternoon, he came back to the hospital but the patient was dead. A colleague had come in that morning and said, “We need that bed for another case. It makes no difference for her whether she dies today or after a fortnight! So, the patient was euthanized against her explicit will.
I, myself, had a discussion with a colleague about administering morphine. I maintained that large [doses] are needed to kill a patient. At first he denied this, but suddenly said, “You are right. I remember a case of an old man who could die any day. His son came to see me. He was booked for a holiday and did not want to come home for his father’s funeral. He wanted the funeral to be over with before he left. So I went to see the old man and gave him a huge dose of morphine. In the evening I came back to declare death, but the patient was happily sitting on the edge of his bed. At last, he had gotten enough morphine to kill his pain.” My colleague told this story as if it were the most normal thing to do: to kill a patient in order to please the family (Gunning n.d.).
These examples from people in the medical profession demonstrate that some doctors cannot be trusted to obey the law, whether that relates to laws enacted by parliament or by court decisions. Voluntary, active euthanasia becomes involuntary killing of people who have not agreed to this killing.
Gunning (n.d.) rightly pointed out that two kinds of ethics are being promoted in the medical fraternity:
10.1 Humanitarian ethic
This ethic adheres to the universal principle in the Hippocratic Oath (formulated by Hippocrates in 400 BC). He was not a Christian but believed that doctors were powerful people who could decide on life and death issues for humanity. By this ethic, medical doctors swear that they will not use their knowledge or expertise to kill a person, before or after birth, not even with the patient’s own request. With the humanitarian ethic, the well being of the individual person is central (Gunning n d).
The classic version of the Hippocratic Oath contains this affirmation: ‘I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art’ (MedicineNet.com 2016).
The Christian-informed humanitarian ethic is practised by doctors and others who are opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide and promote palliative care instead. They love their neighbour as themselves – as human beings made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7).
10.2 Utilitarian ethic
Act and rule utilitarianism is one of the best known and most influential moral theories. It deals with the consequences of actions,
Its core idea is that whether actions are morally right or wrong depends on their effects….
Utilitarians believe that the purpose of morality is to make life better by increasing the amount of good things (such as pleasure and happiness) in the world and decreasing the amount of bad things (such as pain and unhappiness). They reject moral codes or systems that consist of commands or taboos that are based on customs, traditions, or orders given by leaders or supernatural beings. Instead, utilitarians think that what makes a morality be true or justifiable is its positive contribution to human (and perhaps non-human) beings (Nathanson n.d.)
Apply this to the euthanasia and assisted suicide debate and what do we get? It does not commit to the patient’s well being but to the well being (consequences) of others. Who judges whether the patient’s life is going to be a burden or of benefit to society? The doctor does!
Dr Gunning explained how this was captured in an article in California Medicine (September 1970, ‘New Ethic for Medicine and Society, pp, 67-68) which showed that historically the lives of all human beings had equal value. That cannot be maintained now with over population and people were no longer accepting the quality of life ethic (humanitarianism) for all people. Doctors were now making medical evaluations. Intentional killing of adults was too abhorrent so they started with abortion and have now moved to voluntary euthanasia. Gunning’s assessment was that ‘in the end, we would have death control as well as birth control, and we doctors should prepare ourselves for this new task’ (Gunning n.d.).
That’s the utilitarian ethic in action, all in the name of voluntary euthanasia that has moved to involuntary euthanasia or assisted suicide in a number of countries.
11. Where is euthanasia legal?
BBC News (Lewis 2015) reported that these were the countries and USA states that have legalised assisted dying:
The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg permit euthanasia and assisted suicide
Switzerland permits assisted suicide if the person assisting acts unselfishly
Canada permits euthanasia and assisted suicide from February 2016 (slightly earlier in the province of Quebec)
At the time of writing this article in October 2016, euthanasia and assisted suicide were illegal in Australia. However, there is advocacy by groups involved in university departments such as Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Australian Centre for Health Law Research. See its activist site, End of Life Law in Australia, at: https://end-of-life.qut.edu.au/. Within the next month, I hope to prepare a review of this site and note its ideological emphases. However, a brief overview seems to indicate that it is pushing for the reform of Australian law to accommodate euthanasia and assisted suicide. There also are activist groups such as Dying with Dignity Queensland (my home state). Its theme is, ‘My life, my voice, my choice’. I have critiqued that worldview of autonomous reason above and its harmful consequences.
This also was indicated by this Law School’s invitation to Canadian Professor Jocelyn Downie to deliver the lecture, ‘The legalisation of medical assistance in dying – Lessons from Canada’ at the Gardens Theatre, QUT Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane, 19 October 2016, 6pm. I attended this lecture. This was an enthusiastic promotion of the Canadian law that has legalised euthanasia and to recommend a similar procedure in Australia. Professor Downie is Professor of Law at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
She was not a neutral person on the euthanasia issue at this lecture. Some Canadians have described her as a ‘pro-euthanasia prof’ and a ‘long-time advocate for the legalization of euthanasia’ (LifeSite News 2015). After the lecture, I spoke with one of the QUT professors, Professor Ben White, who promoted this lecture. I challenged the QUT censorship of the opposing view in this public presentation. He brushed the objection aside and considered the opposing view was covered adequately at Q&A at the end of the lecture and they have had other panel presentations that included a pro-life person. The Q&A at the lecture on 19 October 2016 was not an opportune forum to present a counter proposal, as there was not opportunity to challenge Downie’s responses and there were few who opposed Downie. It is an unfair imbalance to have a Professor of Law make a public presentation (with PPTs) in support of euthanasia in Canada and expect people in the audience to present the alternate view in the Q&A. That is destined to lead to an unfair exposure for euthanasia at the expense of the anti-euthanasia view.
At the lecture, I heard Prof. Downie state that ‘the feared slippery slope didn’t eventuate [in Canada]’. At Q&A after the lecture, I challenged her on this, providing evidence from Holland and Belgium. She resorted to denying this and using a genetic logical fallacy with her sprouting the superiority of peer-reviewed journals to my information from mass media sources. I had no right of reply to challenge her genetic fallacy. I hope I’ve presented enough information in this article from Dutch, Belgium and other medical sources to demonstrate that there definitely has been a slippery slope in euthanasia legislation in Holland from the legal system prior to 2002 and in legislation from 2002 to 2016.
12. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) on end of life care
The AMA’s ‘Position Statement on the Role of the Medical Practitioner in End of Life Care 2007 (amended 2014)’ states that ‘The AMA believes that while medical practitioners have an ethical obligation to preserve life, death should be allowed to occur with dignity and comfort when death is inevitable and when treatment that might prolong life will not offer a reasonable hope of benefit or will impose an unacceptable burden on the patient’ (10.1).
In section 10.5 of this Position Statement, it is stated: ‘The AMA recognises that there are divergent views regarding euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The AMA believes that medical practitioners should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person’s life. This does not include the discontinuation of futile treatment’.
What should an Australian doctor do if euthanasia or assisted suicide is requested by a patient? The AMA’s Position Statement is:
Patient requests for euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide should be fully explored by the medical practitioner in order to determine the basis for such a request. Such requests may be associated with conditions such as a depressive or other mental disorder, dementia, reduced decision-making capacity, and/or poorly controlled clinical symptoms such as pain. Understanding and addressing the reasons for such a request will allow the medical practitioner to adjust the patient’s clinical management accordingly or seek specialist assistance (10.6).
Therefore, the Australian Medical Association’s current policy is against the practice of medical doctors’ involvement in euthanasia and assisted suicide, with the view of ending a person’s life. However, as of 06 October 2015, the AMA was engaged in a ‘Review of AMA Policy on Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide’. This is ‘part of a five year position statement review cycle’.
Two of Australia’s major institutions are actively promoting euthanasia and assisted suicide, even though it is illegal. They are: (a) ABC TV’s 7.30 programme, and (b) Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Centre for Health Law Research. However, other mass media (e.g. the Herald Sun) exposed the ABC’s ‘death voyeurism’ by showing film of the assisted suicide of a client.
In responding to secular arguments favouring euthanasia, it was shown that human beings are not animals and to choose what’s right for me must allow me to allow you to choose what’s right for you in the breadth of ethical issues, including murder, theft, lying, rape and euthanasia. One person’s assault on the Christian’s ‘mythical god’ was an appeal to ridicule fallacy. Pushing these secularists to the logical conclusions of their ethical relativism demonstrates the chaos that results when God’s ethical absolutes are abandoned
If I don’t have the right to impose my Christian beliefs, why are they imposing their secularist values? It’s a hypocritical value system that wants to censor Christian beliefs while promoting secular beliefs. If I’m to keep my nose out of another person’s business, then it will tear the fork out of altruistic values of caring for one another in a democratic society.
Illustrations were given of how medical doctors violate euthanasia laws when euthanasia is illegal or legal. Some doctors cannot be trusted to obey the law and voluntary euthanasia becomes involuntary euthanasia for unfortunate individuals who are killed without their permission. Retired Australian anaesthetist and palliative care specialist, Dr Brian Pollard, has provided evidence to demonstrate that any effort to achieve safe voluntary euthanasia is a myth. Euthanising infants is already taking place, outside of the law.
Several case studies were provided to demonstrate that euthanasia cannot be controlled by legislation or the legal profession. Dr Karel Gunning, a Dutch medical doctor, showed how this demonstrated two contrasting ethics in action: (a) The humanitarian ethic of caring for patients and valuing life, and (b) A utilitarian ethic where the end justifies the means.
The Australian Medical Association has affirmed that it does not support euthanasia and assisted suicide. However, it is examining this policy in light of its customary 5-year review.
The position demonstrated and advocated in this paper is that God gives life and it is his responsibility to end life in His time. It is not for autonomous human beings to decide when time is up and to murder them or assist in their committing suicide. This is how it is with God and human life: ‘You [God] saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed’ (Psalm 139:16 NLT).
There are sound biblical, practical and philosophical reasons for demonstrating that the relativistic, utilitarian ethic of euthanasia and assisted suicide is wrong for individuals and societies. Australia will be exalted as long as it promotes God’s absolutes of justice in its ethics. As soon as it promotes the sinful evil of euthanasia and assisted suicide it will bring disgrace and God’s judgment on Australia.
‘Justice exalts a nation, but sin is a people’s disgrace’ (Proverbs 14:34 NAB).
Fleming, J 1992. Euthanasia, The Netherlands, and the slippery slopes. Bioethics Research Notes Occasional Paper No.1, June. Published by the Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, PO Box 206, Plympton SA 5038, Australia. It is now associated with the Adelaide Centre for Bioethics and Culture at: http://www.bioethics.org.au/index.html (Accessed 24 October 2016).
 The 2016-17 budget for the ABC (post-efficiencies) is $1.009 billion. Then add the SBS budget (post-efficiencies) for the same year of $274.5 million and we see that approx. $1.27 billion is given to the ABC/SBS consortium by tax payers to present a one-sided euthanasia story (as an example). For these budgetary figures see, Malcolm Turnbull MP, ‘FAQs on the ABC and SBS’, 19 December 2014. Available at: http://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/media/faqs-on-the-abc-and-sbs#budget (Accessed 22 October 2016).
 Wikipedia 2016. Philip Nitschke, 23 October. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Nitschke (Accessed 23 October 2016). Nitschke set fire to his medical certificate, rejecting the Medical Board of Australia’s conditions placed on him. ABC News Brisbane, Qld., reported Nitschke’s statement: ‘Today, and with considerable sadness, I announce the end of [my] medical career,’ he said. He maintained that ‘the conditions the board has sought to impose on me … amount to a heavy handed and clumsy attempt to restrict the free flow of information on end-of-life choice’ (Breen 2015).
 Poll results as of 22 October 2016, 6.18am Qld time. Available at:
 Her name was Pat and I’m unsure if this person was female but her writing style seemed to fit more for a female than a male in the caring way she responded to me, but that is only a ‘seemed so’ as my subjective interpretation.
New Scientist, June 20; 1992. vol 134 (1826): 28-30.
 Accessed 2 January 2010. However, on 22 October 2016 this article was available only by subscription.
 These biographical details are from Pollard (2011).
 Summarised by Mrs. Borst-Eilers, Vice-President of the Health Council (a body which provides scientific advice to the Dutch government on health issues). In I.J. Keown, “The Law and Practice of Euthanasia in The Netherlands”, The Law Quarterly Review, Vol. 108, January 1992, p. 56.
 Source: Dutch-speaking Dr. Daniel Ch Overduin, Vita, Vol. 7, No. 1, March 1992, pp. 2-3].
 Perjury is ‘The offence of wilfully telling an untruth or making a misrepresentation under oath’ (Oxford dictionaries online 2016. s v perjury).
 At this point in this ‘AMA Position Statement’, there was the footnote, ‘Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient for the purpose of ending intolerable pain and/or suffering. Physician assisted suicide is where the assistance of the medical practitioner is intentionally directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life’.
I am left to conclude that the graphic contrast between a newly born and growing child when compared with aborted remains of 2 children were too graphic for the government bureaucrats to include. Or could I be more accommodating and concede that the guidelines for submissions prevented the use of graphics? This especially applied to photos that would show the existence of a human being who was slaughtered by abortion and the unsightly remains that clearly demonstrate the nature of abortion.
Here’s the contrast again of life for children and the killing of children in the womb (abortion):