Vermont may soon be the third state to legalize assisted suicide. The state Senate passed a bill Thursday similar to Oregon’s “Death With Dignity” act, passed in 1998. Vermont will join Oregon and Washington as the only three states with such a law.
The measure will now travel back to the House where a version of the bill has already passed. The law is called the “Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act”, is a bill that would permit physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.
“Death is scary to Americans,” Peg Sandeen, executive director for the Death with Dignity National Center, told the Daily News. “They think of it as avoidable and don’t want to talk about it. People use that fear to stop legislation.”
Sandeen had also worked for a similar law in Massachusetts which was narrowly defeated.
“Between 70 and 80% of the money going against the Massachusetts initiative came from the Catholic Church,” Sandeen said. “The opposition comes from the very top of the church, but if you talk to everyday Catholics their support for death with dignity laws falls like the rest of Americans.”
Although 70% of all Americans believe that a terminally ill patient, with no opportunity for recovery, and is in great pain, should be allowed to make their own decision to end their life, the idea is opposed, mostly by religious organizations.
In Massachusetts, a somewhat ambiguous statement was issued by the Archdiocese of Boston: “Because the Church opposes both euthanasia and assisted suicide, it is often said that we believe that all possible measures should be used to keep individuals alive. This is decidedly not the case. Individuals and caregivers have a responsibility to preserve human life through care and medical science.”
In another attempt by religion to control secular lives, the Archdiocese is making a serious mistake. They may have the right to decide for the members of their church what is right or wrong, but they must remove themselves from politics. The separation of Church and State is one of the major reasons that affords them the privilege of not paying taxes.
The policy of the Catholic Church, established by the Second Vatican Council, and its Declaration of Freedom, bluntly states that the Vatican does not adhere to the policy of separation. The documents adopted at the council claim that the position of the Church, the proper role for religion, and the Church in particular, is to guide and inform consciences, thereby serving as check and balance to the power of the state.
The Catholic Church is second in wealth only to the Church of the Latter Day Saints, more commonly called “LDS”, or Mormons. Both have accumulated enormous amounts of money, and interfered in the nation’s government. But they pay no tax for the privilege of existing in the United States, and collecting tithe which increases their wealth.
We all pay taxes, unless you’re wealthy or a religious organization. The continuous argument in Washington over taxes vs. spending is mundane and offensive. The United States has the lowest corporate and individual tax rates in the world.
Why do we fear paying our fair share? Accountants for the wealthy spend much of their waking hours finding ways for their clients to avoid paying taxes. Why don’t we have a flat tax rate for every entity, so everyone pays their fair share? Or, why don’t we have a national sales tax, which would eliminate tax loopholes, and force everyone to pay the tax based on the money spent?
You and I know the answer, and it’s simple. The wealthy lobby the politicians to keep the current laws in place, and ensure their loopholes and exemptions stay in place. And, by the way, churches have lobbies as well. Do you?
Columnist-The Guardian Express