A church’s enabling of an assisted suicide in its sanctuary has been called “deeply troubling.”
The church in Canada helped one of its elderly members to have the lethal injection in its building after a ‘crossing over ceremony.’
Churchill Park United Church of Winnipeg held the service for Betty Sanguin, who had been suffering from motor neurone disease, known in Canada as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), after its leadership unanimously approved her bid to die there.
It was the first church in Manitoba to host the controversial practice, according to The Christian Post (CP).
Rev Dawn Rolke told CP that “For us, it was perfectly natural to hold this service for Betty in our sanctuary because death is a natural part of life and Betty had lived a good part of her adulthood in this faith community.
"Hers was a growing, changing spirituality; her faith was feisty, fierce and passionate, like Betty herself.”
Assisted Suicide has been legal in Canada since 2016, although the legal limits regarding those who can apply for it have been relaxed in recent years.
Christian campaigning charity CARE has spoken out repeatedly against assisted suicide, especially in relation to proposals regarding legalising assisted suicide being currently considered in both the House of Lords and the Scottish Parliament.
James Mildred, Director of Communications and Engagement at CARE, said: “The fact that a church in Canada has endorsed the practice of assisted suicide is deeply troubling...I can honestly say that it is my clear conviction that God’s word is clear on this matter.
"Time and again, the Bible teaches us that our lives are in God’s hands, and we are not to murder or be involved in helping someone kill themselves.”
He added: “The prescription of lethal drugs is not an appropriate response to suffering. It is deeply harmful: to people who suffer in the process itself; to relatives who watch on and are laden with guilt and pain afterwards; and to society as a whole.”
Assisted suicide was this week rejected in Connecticut, US, for the tenth time, after a close vote by senators on the State General Assembly's judiciary committee.