02 Apr 2020 Society waking up to what it means to think of others
Just a few short weeks ago, we shared with you our grave concerns about Bill C-7, a bill introduced to expand euthanasia to those whose death is not reasonably foreseeable. This bill would make even more Canadians eligible for, and thus vulnerable to, euthanasia. Thankfully, with Parliament temporarily suspended on account of COVID-19, this bill has also been put on hold.
In this holding period, the events unfolding around us have been astounding when we think of the shift in language and behaviour toward the most vulnerable. When hordes of young people ignored social distancing recommendations to party in Florida for their spring break, the online reaction was immediate and unequivocal: go home. Think of others. Health care workers continue to share posts and images asking Canadians to think of them, to stay home so that they do not become overwhelmed with patients. Canadians have responded with love, appreciation and applause.
Recognizing the value of life
A reporter for Global News stated that this virus “appears to be bringing out the worst in a minority of people, even while others practice generosity and social distancing.” Isn’t it interesting that they characterize “the worst in people” as thinking only of themselves, at the possible expense of the vulnerable? The pro-life movement, whether in regards to abortion or euthanasia, has always made this point: when it comes to the lives of others, we as society have a responsibility. All lives are valuable, and those who are more vulnerable need more protection.
The vast majority of those dying from COVID-19 are elderly, and had some pre-existing health condition. Most Canadians do not fit into this category, but most know people who do. This quickly becomes personal. So, we take action. We close schools, stores, and churches. We stay home as much as possible. We bring groceries to our elderly, disabled, or immune-compromised loved ones so that they can avoid exposure to the virus. We want to protect both ourselves and others. It is not only Christians following radical government recommendations, it is the majority of Canadians. The response to COVID-19 contradicts the idea that individual autonomy trumps the common good.
Caring, not killing
The care this shows for our vulnerable neighbours is heartening. While many of the precautions taken are certainly driven by fear, there is also an element of love for our neighbour, as Canadians accept restrictions on behaviour and stay away from elderly or immune-compromised friends and relatives. This element of selfless care for others lets us believe that hearts and minds can be changed on issues like abortion and euthanasia.
When the fragility and value of life are brought to the forefront in a personal way, people are willing to accept drastic measures to protect life. If an unplanned virus can so quickly re-route our lives, perhaps if an unplanned pregnancy does the same, we will be able to adapt without killing. If being elderly or disabled means more neighbours at your door asking if you need groceries, and neighbours willing to stay home to protect you, it could mean believing your life has value when you consider euthanasia.
We do not respond to confirmed COVID-19 cases by killing the patients, because killing is not health care. Our frontline healthcare workers are doing everything they can to save lives, and they are asking us to help by giving up some of our personal freedoms for the greater good of loving our neighbours. Once this period of restriction is over, that work will still continue. Pray that the current restrictions will lead to reflection, that hearts will be made more receptive to the message of caring, not killing, and that ears will be opened to the calling to count others as more significant than ourselves.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2: 1-4
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