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Rick Warren Says Only God Can Kill Us

calvin and hobbes death

Southern Baptist Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, has come out…man I just had a hilarious thought…has come out of the closet…back to reality…has come out in opposition to California Senate Bill 128. If passed, the bill would give terminally ill Californians the right to terminate their own life. Warren, whose son committed suicide in 2013, thinks that none of us should have the right to determine when we die. According to the Purpose Driven pastor:

“I oppose this law as a theologian and as the father of a son who took his life after struggling with mental illness for 27 years.”

“The prospect of dying can be frightening,but we belong to God, and death and life are in God’s hands…We need to make a radical commitment to be there for those who are dying in our lives.”

According to the Death with Dignity National Center:

SB 128 would allow patients who are mentally competent and have fewer than six months to live, as determined by two physicians, to obtain prescriptions for medication to end their lives in a humane and peaceful manner, while protecting the vulnerable with strict guidelines and procedures.

Warren’s comments illustrate, once again, why there must be a strict separation of church and state. While Warren might find some vicarious purpose and meaning in suffering, many Americans do not. In Warren’s world, the Christian God is sovereign over all, including life and death. Warren tries to frame his objection as “wanting to be there for those who are dying,” but I suspect there are many Californians who have no need of Pastor Warren or any other pastor or priest “being there”  for them during the last days of their life.

While the government certainly has an interest in protecting those who are vulnerable, mentally ill, or unable to make a rational decision, I see no compelling reason for government to forbid the terminally ill to end their life through drugs provided by their physician. Warren is free to suffer until the bitter end. He is free to let cancer eat away at his organs or allow ALS to turn him into a vegetable. If that’s what his God demands of him, far be it from me to deny him the right. However, millions of Californians do not worship Warren’s God, nor do the have such a noble view of suffering, death, and pain.

right to die

Chronic illness and pain are my “dark passengers”, to quote Dexter, the serial killer. I fully expect that I will continue, health-wise, to decline. I see no cure on the horizon and I highly doubt God is going to send Benny Hinn to fake heal me. There could come a day when I no longer desire to live in what Christians call this “house of clay.”  I am sound of mind, OK, mostly sound of mind. Since God is not my co-pilot and I have no desire to be the poster child for suffering, shouldn’t I be allowed to determine, on my own terms, how and when I end my life?

Perhaps I will never reach the place where the reasons for living are no longer enough to keep me alive. There are days when the pain is unbearable and I ponder what death will be like. THE END. Lights out. I have the means of death at my disposal. I take medications that would surely do the trick, but maybe not. Perhaps they wouldn’t quite send me and Toto to the other side. Then Polly would be left with a brain-dead vegetable of a husband. Wouldn’t it better for a doctor to prescribe drugs that were sure to do the trick? If we can execute murderers surely we can help the terminally ill die when they want to call it a night. Wouldn’t this be the compassionate thing to do?

Many people are opposed to assisted suicide for religious or philosophical reasons. By all means, suffer to your heart’s content. But, you have no right to demand that others play by the rules of your religion or philosophy. I hope the California legislature will not allow Evangelicals and Catholics to pressure them into not giving the terminally ill a death with dignity option. The dying, if  possible, should have the right to determine when and where the show ends. (please Dying with Dignity.)


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    I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child to suicide. But he was mentally ill, not terminally ill from cancer or another horrible life-threatening disease.

    We’d all be so much better off if people like Rick Warren would just deal with their own issues and keep their fucking noses out of everyone else’s business.

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      I would not wish what happened to Rick Warren’s family on anyone…no parent should have to bury their own child….But part of me will always wonder if the so-called “mental illness” Warren’s son suffered from was being gay or transgender, and his suicidal despair caused by being told all his life, by his church and his own father, that those things were abominations and an affront to God. Maybe he was even forced into “conversion therapy?” *shudder*

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    I watched my father pass from early onset Alzheimer’s disease and my husband from cancer. To say the last six months of their lives was rough is accurate and says not enough. People are kinder to their family pets then they are with each other.

    As for Mr Warren, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. It’s my opinion that he still values quantity over quality. I hope his eyes are opened soon.

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    This is a tough one—meaning we treat our terminally ill dogs and cats better than our terminally ill people. Here are the things I intuitively think fundies would be concerned about:

    1) Killing one’s self would be the sin of self murder,

    2) The death sentence issued in Eden was meant to be accompanied by great pain and suffering, Therefore, failure to endure the suffering would be stepping around the will of God and getting off easy.

    3) You owe it to your family to be there until your last breath.

    One thing I have never understood though—and perhaps Bruce can explain. God made it clear in Eden that the pain of childbirth for the woman was a punishment straight from his will. That being the case, it has always surprised me that fundies allow the use of spinals and drugs to alleviate pain during child birth. I would think that the IFB would demand complete, total, and alleviated female suffering during child birth to be certain that women do not escape from even one pin prick of the pain appointed unto them as the punishment for Eve’s sin. On the sly, maybe I could get a movement going on this in the IFB. Whatcha think? Snag a few dumb preachers, talk some theological nonsense to them that sounds like it is right out of the KJV Bible, and then let them do the magic on their congregations.

    “In the Bible it says women are to endure great pain during child birth!!! Folks!!! I want to tell you here today, both the men and their women, it is against the will of God ‘amighty’ for women to receive any form of anesthesia during childbirth. Now you women out there!!! Listen up. Pain in childbirth is your appointed punishment for Eve’s sin. It has been appointed to all women by God himself!!! Every last one of you. You have no right to skirt God’s will for you in childbirth with Satanic remedies such as Demerol and spinals!!! If you do, you are violating the will of God, and Hell itself could be your destination. You could die during childbirth and end up there before you even see your new baby—and all because you violated the will of God during childbirth. Now, I want to see the hands of all you woman that are with child. C’mon!!! Raise those hands high. Now, husbands, you are the Lords over your wives. You have a responsibility before God to take over this situation and make sure your wife gets no anesthesia during childbirth. Yimmy? Brother Carpenter. I’m gonna make my pastoral rounds at the hospital, and you better not tell me that they gave your wife pain drugs or other anesthetic procedures during childbirth!!! You hear me. I want a promise from you right now before this entire congregation.”

    No. I have never set foot in an IFB church—but I can imagine what it must be like. But you know what? If a person were to get this idea to catch on and become popular among males in the church, I bet the IFB women would make the entire church come crashing down hard and fast just to escape the pain.

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    Charles, I am confused. Do you believe in a deity? I ask because you seem very concerned on how fundimentalists would react to physician assisted death.

    As for pointing out the hypocrisy of not using pain medication during childbirth – you do know there is a method called natural birth? Your involved scenario seemed a bit mean and lacking in real life experience. That’s just my impression.

    Look – just as with all touchy medical issues the decisions need to be made by the doctor and patient. I don’t want to use specific procedures such as abortion or physician assisted death but if they become necessary I have the right to decide to use them.

    If someone else is worried about my soul perhaps they need to remove the plank from their own eye.

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