Dignity in Dying
Democracy

Dignity in Dying and the callous indignity of their spin

 

How many of us breathed a big sigh of relief when the voting results for the Assisted Dying (No.2) Bill were announced? Those in the know were expecting a tight race, but the huge 330 – 118 margin of defeat was bigger than that of 1997 when MPs last voted on the issue. So, despite society’s continued liberalisation over the last two decades on various matters – same-sex marriage being the obvious one – the euthanasia lobby has made no progress whatsoever in convincing our elected MPs that the right to commit suicide with the help of the medical profession is, in any way, a good idea.

More often than not, when a vote in Parliament is lost, there is a fairly gracious acceptance of the result, even when there is a lot of egg left on various faces. Back in 2013 when David Cameron suffered an embarrassing defeat on military intervention in Syria, his response was the epitome of graciousness:

It is very clear tonight that while the House has not passed a motion it is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the Government will act accordingly.

Again, in 2013, when the Equal Marriage Bill was passed, the Lords Spiritual signalled that, despite significant previous opposition, they would no longer oppose it and instead work to refine the Bill as it passed through Parliament. In 2014, on the eve of the legislation becoming law, speaking to the Guardian, the Archbishop of Canterbury offered this olive branch:

I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it’s the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.

But Dignity in Dying? Did they react with dignity, grace and humility when their latest attempt to change the law was overwhelmingly scuppered? One might think that six failures since 1997 would be sufficient to persuade them give up the fight and re-evaluate their position for lack of support.

Well, not quite. Within minutes their CEO, Dr Sarah Wootton, had described the result as an “outrage”, and put out a press release venting her anger at MPs who were “ridiculously out of touch”. She then signalled that the focus would now shift to the courts:

The law as it stands clearly does not command the support of the public. Parliament has failed to act and if it fails to recognise its responsibility over the next five years then the courts have no choice but to act instead, to end this suffering and injustice.

Judicial activism subverts democracy: the courts ought not to attempt to overturn the manifest will of Parliament, not least because the support to which Dr Wootton refers was taken from a recent self-commissioned Dignity in Dying poll which found that 82 per cent of respondents backed a change in the law. However, under independent scrutiny, this poll has been found to be comprehensively flawed:

..But the results did not stand up to scrutiny when examined by two experts from the highly respected Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University. Their report questioned the way the online poll was carried out and suggested it missed whole sections of the population, particularly those who do not use the internet – which means many older people were shut out from taking part.

It said the poll failed to take into account the views either of the terminally ill or medical professionals. Medical professionals, the researchers said, are on past evidence less enthusiastic about assisted suicide than the rest of the public.

The survey also failed to give people the option to say they were ‘don’t knows’. Instead it pushed them into giving answers in favour of assisted dying by asking over-long and leading questions using loaded language – such as saying that assisted dying would help those in ‘unbearable suffering’.

Answers in favour of assisted dying were placed first among the options for people considering the questions, the researchers said.

A flawed research methodology skews data, but Dignity in Dying are no strangers to the dark art of spin. They have become masters of it due to the simple truth that their support among those with experience of delivering end-of-life care is markedly limited. On the Featured Patrons page of their website, the majority of those profiled are actors, comedians and authors. These are individuals who will gain publicity (for themselves and their cause) but are not in a position to speak on behalf of professional healthcare organisations, disability charities or faith groups who all refuse to support the principle of assisted suicide.

The compelling religious opposition to Dignity in Dying’s aims has been a constant thorn in their side and, as their own polling has shown, opposition to assisted suicide is strongest among those who most frequently attend worship: support is highest amongst infrequent attendees; those who might be described as culturally or more loosely affiliated to a religion.

What is surprising is not that Dignity in Dying has sought to apply PR solutions to their problematic lack of support among churches and other religious bodies, but that they have taken a more combative position against those with a religious faith more generally; those who tend to believe that assisted suicide is mistaken, regardless of whether the primary objection is on religious or non-religious grounds. This has, as we saw last weekend, extended so far as to question the sincerity of those advancing pragmatic arguments about concern for the vulnerable, because they might also happen to have a faith, or because they may be associated with others that do.

In June, Catherine Bennett wrote in the GuardianWhen politicians do God, no wonder we have doubts. She focused negatively on Liberal Democrat leadership contender Tim Farron’s Christian beliefs. Wootton tweeted that she “couldn’t agree more” with Bennett, who had concluded that “everyone agrees that, when it might affect their objectivity, MPs must declare an interest. It seems only fair to ask that, when ethics are debated, they disclose which supernatural affiliation has dictated their response, along with any penalties for disobedience”.

Doubtless Dignity in Dying has employees who profess a faith, and the organisation makes no claim to be a body with an objective to further any secular or religious ideology. But what Wootton and her PR team fail to recognise is that there is more to mainstream Church opposition to assisted suicide than what they consider to be dogmatic adherence to the ‘sanctity of life’. Alongside considerations of ethics and theology, the Church of England’s position is informed by its considerable experience of helping to deliver end-of-life care through hospital and hospice chaplaincy, and through pastoral ministry in parishes – by being alongside the ill, the dying and the bereaved. It is a position entirely consistent with the Church’s wider concern for the common good.

In perpetuating the crude caricature that a majority of those who oppose assisted suicide conceal a faith-based motivation, or that having a faith is a barrier to objectivity in professional discernment, Dignity in Dying do themselves and their campaign a callous and discriminatory disservice.

When considering the question: ‘Is a religious view on assisted suicide legitimate or not?’, if the test of that legitimacy is whether the view happens to concur with Dignity in Dying’s campaign objectives, it is clearly the case that any endorsement of a religious viewpoint by Dignity in Dying is insincere. Worse, it is fundamentally meaningless, which is perhaps a point that Lord Carey and other recalcitrant clerics might want to ponder.

Now that the dust has begun to settle, it is time to put the spotlight on the undignified tactics of Dignity in Dying. Democracy works best when laws are formed through considered judgment by legislators willing to consider the matters in hand with a good degree of objectivity. Pace Canon Rosie Harper, they are intelligent people who can apply their minds and intellects. But the lobbying approach of Dignity in Dying is not only based on misinformation; their underhand disinformation presents a distorted picture of the reality. They are quite happy to dismiss large sections of society who happen to disagree with them for legitimate reasons, and they publicly ridicule those who speak out against their objectives. Ironically, for all their secularity, their obsessive zeal for ‘good death’ is consistent with that of a religious cult, seeking to coerce the innocent and unstudied; asserting an abusive creed on manipulable people rather than advancing the best outcome for the common good of all.

Fortunately, this time round, MPs refused to succumb to Dignity in Dying’s aggressive campaigning. Writing in The Times last weekend, Justin Welby acknowledged that the views of the Bill’s supporters were “sincerely held and well-intentioned”, but the suggestion that assisted dying was the only compassionate response to terminal illness was “mistaken and dangerous”. In fact, it is not just the suggestion that is mistaken and dangerous, but Dignity in Dying themselves. This must not be forgotten when they launch their next offensive, as they inevitably will. The indignity of dignity is absolute.

  • grandpa1940

    As I wrote, after watching the vote, on the blog to which I contribute:-

    UPDATE:-

    The Bill has fallen by 330 to 118, so the State executioners won’t be appointed just yet, but just consider that 118 of our representatives thought this Bill a good idea!

  • Martin

    Your grace

    So you imagine that if the bill had gained more support the right act by the bishops of the CoE would have been to say “they would no longer oppose it and instead work to refine the Bill as it passed through Parliament”?

    That strikes me as a position of cowardice, They are not in parliament to refine laws but to draw attention to what Almighty God says, as did the prophets of old.

    If they feel they are not up to the job they should resign their positions to make way for those who take God seriously, if any such are to be found in the CoE these days.

  • Inspector General

    And so the industry of advanced age necrophilia is snuffed out. Aborted in its womb, if you will. The demons who surrounded the mother to be as she carried the Prince of Euthanasia have lost billions, for that would be the bounty ‘lost to the economy’. The demons are writhing in agony and spitting blood and bile.

    You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate how much good came from last week.

    • Dreadnaught

      Bad night?

      • carl jacobs

        That was actually a pretty good comment by the Inspector. Good imagery. Good analogy.

        • Inspector General

          No it wasn’t. One was celebrating the collapse of Labour by visiting Malvern, until late. Admirable town…

  • IanCad

    A great example of why we should never have government by referendum.
    There are some issues the electorate just cannot be trusted with.

    • Phil R

      We shouldn’t favour democracy

      it has been a disaster for Christians

      • carl jacobs

        So then … what should we favor?

        • Phil R

          How about King Phil?

          Sounds rather good don’t you think?

          More seriously

          1. Council of elders. With representatives or advisers from specific groups. The Crown, Industry, finance, retail, defense, education, unions etc.

          Appointment for life or resignation.

          Others co opted by the council.

          Appointment for a fixed term of say 10 years.

          • CliveM

            Why would this be better for Christianity?

          • Phil R

            It is a mistake to link Christianity with Democracy.

            Christianity imbues virtue, virtue allows for a lighter touch by the state (Small Gov), allowing freedom.

            The opposite is plain for all to see. We lose Christianity we lose virtue, the Gov steps in to try to regulate our lives and we lose freedom. We lose freedom (Big Gov) we lose Christianity and the cycle repeats.

            Democracy is Big Gov, it hates freedom.

          • carl jacobs

            It is a mistake to link Christianity with Democracy.

            That is a very true and very important point. But the problem is not the form of gov’t. The problem is the people who inhabit it. There is no perfect form of gov’t. All have their strengths and weaknesses. Trade one form of gov’t for another and you will trade one set of problems for another.

          • Every problem has a solution; every solution has a problem.

          • Phil R

            The problem that I see it democracy is that it has allowed people into Government who do not share (or accept) your moral vision, culture or religion

            In fact they are actively opposed to it.

            You would not allow this in any other part of your life. In charge of your business, in charge of your money or in charge of your home.

            So why should the Government be any different?

          • Dreadnaught

            Democracy is Big Gov, it hates freedom.
            How long is it you have you lived in North Korea?

          • carl jacobs

            How about King Phil?

            Sounds rather good don’t you think?

            Certainly preferable to King Jack.

            A Council of elders. …

            Appointment for life, resignation or found guilty of moral corruption.

            You have just described a form of the Magisterium. Perhaps you should be considering King Jack. Or rather Pope Jack.

    • Dreadnaught

      I am pro the spirit of the lost Bill but anti its badly thought out wording and presentation. Why should you have the right over my life that is denied to me?

      Making a ‘living will’, retractable at any time by me, affords me peace of mind while I still have mental capacity. You [not personally of course] second guessing my wishes at a time when I may not be in a condition to make an argument back to you is an imposition too far. To interfere with my decision I would argue, is a clear breach of a basic human right to end my life by my own hand – not by someone else – but by my own hand.

      People are at this very moment suffering unnecessarily; again drugged up but compus mentis, waking each day to be waiting for the final ‘lights out’ whenever that may be; not to mention the harrowing effect on their families forced to witness their plight. This is simply torture and inhumane.

      It shows an appalling arrogance in not allowing the people that the decision of the matter affects most, an opportunity to be counted. At the same time it is lamentable that a lack of intelligence or backbone by representatives in a democracy are found to be unable to draft legislation that is not watertight to be open to abuse.

      • IanCad

        I’m not wholly opposed Dreadnaught. Re: My reference to Tony Nicklinson in a prior thread.
        This bill was full of holes and too eagerly supported by the future “Kill ’em Off” industry.
        My comment was prompted by the EU referendum fans, who, willing to put their pet cause before the fickle – and supposed – supporting public, would gag at presenting the Death Bill to the electorate knowing that the majority are in favour of it.

      • Inspector General

        One is not unsympathetic to your point of view Dredders, but we both know physicians have been helping people on their way since the time of Hippocrates. Quietly, silently and without fuss. That is the correct way to do it.

        We also both know that had the bill gone through, in less than ten years time we’ll have GPs with pre stamped documents authorising euthanasia and even school children with chronic depression ‘being treated’…Not to mention the likes of Mrs Phoenix who at 75 decided the time was right…

        • IanCad

          That’s it Inspector! follow the Americans.
          We should adopt the “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell Policy.”

          • Inspector General

            Unfortunately Ian, we now live in an age of so called rights which have to be enshrined in stone. One is disappointed to report that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is no longer good enough for the US Armed Forces. The activists have seen to that. If you are a practising homosexual, it is now your RIGHT to join. Not too far away, thanks to said activists, men who arrange for their genitals to be amputated and who start dressing as, and believing they are, women, will also be extended the right to join up. The US Forces have become an institution whereby such types can ‘enjoy’ their privileged lifestyle, and not an organisation primarily for the defence of the homeland. All courtesy of courts and their human rights whatever…

          • IanCad

            I do wonder how the modern American Army would fare against a disciplined First World force. Same would apply to our military.
            Women on submarines!!??
            However, a division of high estrogen women soldiers could serve very well against the misogynistic ISIS barbarians.
            The female species is well known for its ferocity, and when roused, cannot be stayed. If their dander is up woe betide any opposition.
            “Peckers to Mecca” so to speak.

          • Inspector General

            There are 8000 women soldiers in the British army. Brigade strength. The question is why. What went wrong…

          • Inspector General

            Indeed. One has come across such female types in the past. Cressida for example. It is said they are even more vicious when they have young with them to protect…

          • Dreadnaught

            We have been brushing it under the carpet for too long already. We are alive longer thanks to medical advancements but not necessarily ‘Living’ those extra years. Without opening up the whole Jehova Witnesses position you could say we are victims of our own [humanity] success.
            Those fortunate enough to die while enjoying life are in the pound seats – many more are not and never will be.

          • IanCad

            I will confess that – IMO – prolonging suffering is torture. Let nature take its course. A little morphine has its place.

          • Ivan M

            Don’t ask. Don’t tell: Is the right way to go. When Bill Clinton was asked what he would do in one of those Jack Bauer situations, he replied something to the effect that while he.may regretably employ torture, he certainly didn’t want the practice to be legalised in the statute books. Like everyone here I know that if the buggers had gotten their Bill, it is only a matter of time before they apply it to teenagers with depression and children with wasting diseases not to mention the disabled and elderly.

        • Dreadnaught

          Iggy – we should not be relying on medics and families placing themselves at risk of prosecution. The matter of death since the Victorians, has been a taboo subject. Don’t talk about it. Close your eyes and ears has been the norm – until its your turn. Some of us are less squeamish and wish to face the realities head-on.
          Lets open the windows and blast some direct sunlight in to the cobwebbed minds of Parliamentarians, Society and the Clergy and dispel the fears of death in itself by removing the physical and mental suffering that may be waiting for us.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    While being releived that the bill was roundly defeated, I am still concerned that the majority of the British people support the idea …

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2012/07/05/support-doctor-assisted-suicide/

    Why do so many support assisted suicide? Is it just the result of campaigning or does it say something about how we value / don’t value life? The comparison with the gay “marriage” bill is interesting too. it seems the LGBT lobby has much more control over the Government than the elderly or the dying. I suppose that unlike assisted killing, the effects of SSM on society are insidious.

    • Dreadnaught

      Of course I value life, but not being kept alive against my wishes. I value life probably a lot more than some of those who think that this life is a mere stepping stone to some fictional hereafter. Look what it is doing to the minds of Muslim Jihadis for one example.

      • dannybhoy

        When I became a Christian some forty odd years ago, what lies beyond this life didn’t figure in my thinking. It was all about this life and why I was making such a mess of it.
        At the end of my life it’s still not about what happens after; because I totally trust the One who has brought me safely through life to this point..

        • Dreadnaught

          At the end of my life it’s still not about what happens after

          This is exactly my point and why I am totally committed to what happens in this life of mine.

          • dannybhoy

            So if you are convinced that all you can experience with your reasoning and your five senses is all there is, then this life is all there is.
            Personally when I consider life and the universe and origins I find it far more mysterious than I can comprehend. That animals pick up on things I cannot see or sounds I cannot hear, means that my human senses are limited.
            So I can only assume that I can only comprehend a part of what exists.
            Then I can consider the person of Jesus. What was written about Him, what anybody had to gain from lying about His life and what He said.

          • Dreadnaught

            This is straying off topic but nonetheless I agree to a degree with all you say until your last paragraph. I would add that in terms of what there is to know all about this planet and occupants will not even be known by the entire human race before it expires.
            That knowledge however, will be founded on empirically tested facts in so far as our intelligence permits them to be ‘understood’. Its not necessary to profess possession of the meaning or purpose of life – I’ll leave that to people who wish to waste their lives chasing their own shadows. That’s their personal choice and may even settle their turmoil. Who is anyone to say they are wrong? Not me. Life is all too short, barely time to know even our very selves if we ever do.

    • dannybhoy

      As a Christian I believe that God loves all individuals, regardless of intelligence, ability or station.
      However it cannot be denied that there are a great many people who just live – without ever questioning what life is about. I think that attitude is getting more widespread.
      There was an excellent article by ‘Dr Max’ in this Saturday’s mail, entitled..

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3231367/DR-MAX-MIND-DOCTOR-Refugees-bleeding-hearts-danger-moral-bullying.html
      I think it says a lot about the loss of free and open debate, and the social bullying that has replaced it.

    • carl jacobs

      Why do so many support assisted suicide?

      Because in the absence of God, the meaning of life can be found in nothing more than a sequence of purchased experiences. This requires two things: 1) the wealth necessary to purchase the experience, and 2) the physical capacity to experience it. A man can always hope for more wealth. But when he runs out of physical capacity, his life can quickly become meaningless in his own eyes. He has no way to incorporate suffering and loss into meaning. And so he despairs, and willingly consigns himself to death.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “Because in the absence of God, the meaning of life can be found in nothing more than a sequence of purchased experiences.”
        What a strange shallow view…

        • carl jacobs

          Don’t blame me because atheism is strange and shallow.

          The atheist friends mhabits a world where nothing is permanent. Does he do good? It means nothing. It will be erased. Does he do evil? It means nothing. It will not be erased. Everything by definition will be forgotten. Nohing remains for him except the transient effervescent experiences that he can never quite grasp and certainty never hold. They slip through his fingers as soon as he reaches for them.

          Atheism is a luxury purchased by the rich. It takes money to narcotize the idea that everything that hapens is with your purpose. The only compensation is moral fredom. But who can enjoy freedom without money?

          • Jon Sorensen

            You just don’t understand atheism, and project your false fears on other ideas. You should try to understand what you fear.

          • carl jacobs

            What am I supposed to understand? That you heroically and fearlessly dare to confront that which causes others to turn away? That you are willing to stare into the face of despair and still seek to overcome hopelessness by force of will even though you know it to be futile?

            Stare into that face from within a Ukranian hut in November 1932. Then I will take your claims seriously.

          • Jon Sorensen

            “What am I supposed to understand?”

            You are so wrong about atheism that a phrase “not even wrong” apply to your response

            Stare into that face from within a Tutsi hut in Rwandan in June 1994. Then I will take your claims seriously.

  • carl jacobs

    opposition to assisted suicide is strongest among those who most frequently attend worship: support is highest amongst infrequent attendees; those who might be described as culturally or more loosely affiliated to a religion.

    Of course. The absolute linchpin of the argument for assisted suicide is that man is ultimately his own sovereign master. A religious man can never accept this argument. Yet why this particular metaphysical presupposition (as opposed to competing presuppositions) should be drilled into law is never explained. It is simply assumed to be the proper course of action. Those who resist it are “out of touch.” And the argument is fair. We are “out of touch.” What we are witnessing is the increasing establishment of the (ir)religion of the day. We means …

    they have taken a more combative position against those with a religious faith more generally

    … makes perfect tactical sense. When the Lusitania blew up, it didn’t matter that she was carrying cases of gun cotton, or 5000 primed artillery shells, or 3,000,000 rounds of ammunition. It didn’t matter that the UK was responsible for the secondary detonation that caused the ship to sink in 18 minutes with so much loss of life. What mattered was that a German U-Boat had torpedoed an unarmed passenger ship, and killed 1200 people including many neutral Americans. It was a propaganda coup for the UK. The truth was subordinated to the greater good of winning the war.

    And that is what is happening with this vote. The truth is subordinated to the greater goal. The opponents are deliberately tarring the opposition as religious people who are “out of touch” with modern understandings of the nature of man. In a spiritually dead secular culture, a religious argument offends the cardinal presupposition that man is his own master, and is therefore prima facia illegitimate. This tactic is supposed to produce results in the future. People are supposed to flee opposition because opposition is associated with “out of touch” religious belief. Hence the statement …

    they have taken a more combative position against those with a religious faith more generally

    It is intended to delegitimize religious viewpoints in the public square. This is little more than a charge of heresy against the prevailing (ir)religion. You are allowed to act on certain presuppositions. You are not allowed to act on others. If you secretly act on the forbidden presuppositions, then you must be rooted out for the false believer that you are. Thus may you be identified and dismissed. To complete the chain of thought, if you successfully associate opposition to assisted suicide with religious belief, then you delegitimize all opposition. The resistance of the disabled and the medical profession can be ignored.

    Unless the (ir)religion of the people is changed, this law must eventually pass. There is presently a discontinuity between the faith of the people and the instantiation of that faith in the law. That is the card “Dignity in Dying” is playing. As one generation replaces another, and old reticence is replace by new acceptance, so the resistance gets weaker and weaker. They are framing the issue as one of law based upon old religious notions and they are using religious believers to do it. We are a cat’s paw in a greater struggle to dislodge the idea that a man’s life is not his own possession. Nothing personal. Anymore than it was personal towards the Captain of U-20.

    It’s just war.

    • In Perfect Ignorance

      The war was won a generation ago. What we’re seeing now is a process analagous to denazification in post-War Germany.

      The die-hard faithful are being rooted out of positions of influence in most Western democracies because they so often try to force others to abide by their religious rules, e.g. Kim Davis in Kentucky.

      As Christians dig their heels in and try (with little success) to resist this purge, their image in the minds of the public becomes even more negative.

      Just take a look at some of the Kim Davis memes circulating around the Internet at the moment. This is how people in general see Christians. Not only have you lost the actual war, your defeat in the peacetime public relations battle has, if anything, been even more massive. “Christian” is becoming a term of ridicule. If you want to convey to someone that a person is stubborn, blinkered, intransigeant, ignorant, prejudiced, cold-hearted and unforgiving, just refer to them as being “like a Christian”. Everyone will understand what you mean. Except Christians themselves, of course.

      Of course not all Christians are like this. Some live out the more positive requirements of their faith with sincerity and do their best not to impose their more negative beliefs on others. Unfortunately there just aren’t enough of you to change the public image of what Christian means. Very soon the term will be as loaded as Nazi now is. Indeed in some communities, notably among the LGBT, this is already the case.

      I don’t know how, or even if Christians can reverse this trend. What you need is a massive rebranding exercise. But just like any brand, if the key negatives haven’t been properly addressed, no amount of glitzy publicity will change the public’s mind.

      And there’s the rub: how can you rebrand Christianity when the key negatives are set in stone and can’t be changed? It’s as if you were Alfa Romeo, and instead of hiring in a team of Germans to build you a better car that doesn’t break down every 5 minutes, you decide to stick with the existing Italian design and management and try to convince the market that frequent breakdowns are really a good thing!

      Anyone who looks at the fortunes of the aforementioned Italian carmaker can tell you that trying to flog a product perceived as substandard just isn’t a winning strategy.

      • Phil R

        e.g. Kim Davis in Kentucky

        If she was up for election she would be voted in again tomorrow and you know it.

        As for the Nazi slur.

        Just listen to yourself.

        • In Perfect Ignorance

          I know almost nothing about Kentucky, and I’m very glad to keep it that way.

          But I do know that a number of segregationist politicians were elected to public office across the Southern States during and after the Civil Rights era. If they disobeyed the law, they were relieved of office. This will happen again in Kentucky if the serial divorcee Kim Davis refuses to grant marriage licences to all those eligible for them under federal law.

          She can be elected as many times as she likes. If she refuses to do the job she’s elected to do, she’ll be dismissed. It’s as simple as that.

          • Phil R

            If she was re elected. The people would have spoken.

            The message would be.

            You can’t force us what to think and you certainly cannot force us what to believe.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            And when she refused to do her job and was dismissed from it, the message to the people would be “obey the law of the land or suffer the consequences”.

            Mob rule is not the same thing as democracy. Hitler was an elected leader. Didn’t mean what he did was right.

          • Phil R

            Your second paragraph shows the inconsistencies in your argument.

            By your reasoning a Hitler should be obeyed without question as the elected leader

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            By YOUR reasoning any election victory confers absolute power and places the victor above the law.

            It does not.

            We are governed by the law. Elected representatives must obey that law. They are not a law unto themselves.

            One election victory by an extreme right wing Christian whack-job to a minor administrative position in a backwoods state like Kentucky does not invalidate all the federal laws that this one woman disagrees with. Neither does it give her carte blanche to ride roughshod over those laws and decide for herself how they should be applied.

            If you transpose the situation to the UK, where Corbyn has just been elected as leader of the Labour Party, you can see how ridiculous is the claim that any electoral victory gives you the power to disregard the law.

            In the political scheme of things, becoming leader of the opposition party in the UK is a slightly greater victory than being elected as county clerk in some backwoods US county. But even Corbyn with his massive majority cannot ride roughshod over UK law. He cannot march into Buckingham Palace and evict the Queen and set up a Soviet-style presidency. The law of the land states that the head of state is the Queen, and even Corbyn with all the democratic legitimacy of his great victory behind him, is not greater than the law. Why? Because Labour Party members don’t get to change the law just by voting in a new leader. They have to win a general election first and gain a majority in the House of Commons. That’s how the democratic process works in this country. One small election victory to a relatively minor role changes nothing.

            In the same vein, the citizens of the rural county in Kentucky where Kim Davis was elected don’t get to change US federal law by voting in a homophobic county clerk. Both they and she are still subject to the law as it stands. If they break that law, they’ll be punished. That’s why Kim Davis went to jail, and why if she persists in disobeying the law, she’ll be removed from office. A small town in Kentucky does not get to dictate the law to the rest of the US.

          • Phil R

            In a democracy if you win you are the law.

            as Hitler was

            Do you still argue that Hitler should always be obeyed?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            A real democracy has checks and balances that do not permit totalitarian government. In the US for example, many of Hitler’s laws would have been struck down by the Supreme Court. A US president cannot rule by diktat.

            Here in the UK things aren’t so clear because of our lack of a written constitution and the nebulous and autocratic Royal Prerogative that allows prime ministers to do basically what they like without ever having to justify themselves. Murder on the whim of the prime minister is now a weapon in Cameron’s armoury, just as it was in Hitler’s. Obama has to justify himself before Congress. Cameron doesn’t have to run his decisions to kill people by anyone.

            A real democracy keeps absolute power out of the hands of any one individual. That’s one of the reasons why an obscure elected county clerk in Kentucky does not have the power to disregard laws she doesn’t like. Being elected by the people does not put you above the law.

          • Phil R

            Either it is a democracy or it isn’t.

            All democracies have the ability to overrule the say so of the courts or to appoint judges who will interpret the law in their favour.

            As we have recently seen in the US rulling on Gay “marriage”

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            And right there we have in a nutshell the greatest danger of democracy, and perhaps its greatest weakness.

            The insufficiently informed get to vote too.

            Oh well, until someone comes up with a better system, I guess we’re stuck with what we’ve got.

          • Dear “In Perfect Ignorance”, did you once post here in the past as Linus?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Who is this Linus person? He seems to have left quite an impression.

            My name is not Linus. I’m not minded to tell you what my name is. It doesn’t seem necessary given the anonymous nature of this kind of communication, and I note that you post under a pseudonym too.

            As everyone seems to think I’m Linus resurrected from whatever hell he may have been cast into, there may not be much point in continuing to post here. Funny that Christians should provide such a perfect example of the retributive cyncism their faith tells them to avoid.

          • Anton

            I’m not making any such assumption but you have some similarities to a former poster here who called himself Linus and several of us would like to know if you are he. Would you do me the honour of a clear Yes or No, please?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            No, my name is not Linus.

            Happy now?

          • Anton

            Thank you for the reply. Very nearly happy… if you are not the person who posted as Linus then you won’t mind me checking up that you didn’t post at this blog under that name (regardless of what your name actually is). Did you, please?

          • Did you once post under the name Linus? That was the question, dear sir, and you haven’t answered it.
            Happy Jack was banned from this blog (twice) for being offensive to the web owner and making a general nuisance of himself. He created a new avatar and identity and pretended to be another poster. Eventually his duplicity was discovered and he was forced into a confession – not a pleasant experience – and was pardoned again. So, Jack (real name Peter) has no issue with who you are or might have been. However, honesty is always the best policy in situations like this. And Jack knows this from personal experience.
            So do think about your answer.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            If this Linus was banned from this blog and I am he, then it’s a fair assumption to think that I would already have been identified and banned anew.

            And yet here I am.

            My name is not Linus. Can I be any clearer than that? Even if I could be, I know of no reason why I should obey your command to confirm or deny my identity. Who made you king of this blog?

          • Linus was not banned. Jack knows your name is not Linus. That’s not what he asked. Have you ever posted here using the name Linus? This is the question. A straight “yes” or a “no” will suffice.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            No, my name is not Linus. If you’re not satisfied with that as an answer, I suggest you draw whatever conclusions you like from it and then move on to something else. If it means you decide that I am Linus, more fool you.

            If I can’t post here without being held to account for somebody else’s past transgressions, there isn’t much point in posting at all. I’m getting bored with these constant demands from jumped-up individuals and self-appointed gatekeepers to justify myself and somehow prove that I’m not who they say I am. As if anyone can prove anything in an anonymous medium such as this!

      • carl jacobs

        You seem to be under the false impression that I care whether people have a bad impression of Christianity because Christians don’t conform to the current zeitgeist. I don’t. So you somewhat ham-fisted effort to twist the knife didn’t quite manage to achieve the desired effect. Too bad about that. Maybe you will be more clever about it next time.

        And if I am a Nazi that needs to be de-Nazified, then you certainly would not want to soil yourself by interacting with me, so … I’m sure you can find someone more agreeable to trouble with your clueless triumphalism.

        Cheers.

        • In Perfect Ignorance

          Twist what knife? I have no knife.

          As you yourself said, there’s no malice in the secular world’s systematic sidelining of Christians. You’re entitled to believe what you believe. Where we disagree is not over your right to hold whatever belief you wish to hold. It’s over your right to impose that belief on others.

          Christians are only removed from public roles if they use them in an attempt to impose their Christianity on others. If they show themselves to be impartial and do not bring Christian bias into their professional lives, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t keep their jobs.

          The problem is that Christians are making a bad name for themselves because of their intolerant actions, which of course makes it increasingly unlikely they’ll be hired to work in jobs where their religion could be an issue.

          I mean, can you see Islington Council or Relate wanting to hire any more “committed Christians” after being dragged through employment tribunals and the courts by the last lot? And I bet state and federal administrations all over the US are looking at the Davis case and carefully considering just where and how Christians can now be employed.

          In effect you’re sidelining yourselves by refusing to apply or even recognise laws and judicial decisions that ensure religious belief does not interfere with personal freedom. When it comes to knives, the only people wielding them are yourselves – and you’re using them to commit a form of suicide. We’re witnessing a wave of Christian hara-kiri all over the Western World, as Christians fall upon their own knives and then blame everyone but themselves for their own misfortunes.

          Am I glad about this? Of course I’m glad to see intolerant bigots ousted from positions where their intolerance and bigotry do harm to others. I’m also glad to see ludicrous beliefs pilloried, and the people who hold them held up to public ridicule. But that doesn’t mean I want to see every Christian rendered unemployable. I’d be more than happy to work with a Christian, as long as he respects my right to live my life according to my beliefs and doesn’t attempt to use his position to force others to follow his superstitious rules and regulations. If he tries, I’ll make it my business to prevent him from doing so.

          We’ve fought hard for a secular society and we’ve won the fight. We’re not about to let obscurantism take over again.

          • carl jacobs

            Hrmmm. All that is lacking is some gratuitous use of French. I’m starting to be convinced. And yet I thought better of him. I didn’t think he would skulk back into channel under a different identity.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            No idea what you mean. Who’s “he” and how can anyone “skulk” when we all post under the cover of anonymity here?

            Any of us could be anyone. Is your real name Carl Jacobs, or are you really a member of the Phelps family, or Donald Trump, or some fat bald git from Tunbridge Wells who’s put his word processor into American spellcheck mode?

            All identities here are assumed. But quite who you assume I am, I’m really not sure. Is it a real person, or just some Identikit liberal
            Bogeyman who haunts your nightmares? Is anyone who speaks out against your beliefs just a glove puppet for the Evil One?

            It’s that kind of paranoia that makes the general public suspect that religion and mental instability really are quite closely linked.

          • Hmm …. is Carl “some fat bald git from Tunbridge Wells who’s put his word processor into American spellcheck mode?”

            ROFL …. possibly partly correct.

          • carl jacobs

            He’s even started following Linus’ posting patterns now.

            And what is Tunbridge Wells?

          • Royal Tunbridge Wells is a quintessential English town in Kent, regarded as the spiritual home of Middle England and is a byword for conservatism and traditional English values. EM Forster, in his 1908 novel “A Room With A View”, had Tunbridge Wells resident Miss Bartlett admit, “We are all hopelessly behind the times.”

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t know, Linus, who would he be?

          • “We’ve fought hard for a secular society and we’ve won the fight. We’re not about to let obscurantism take over again.”

            But …. but … a month ago you were (allegedly) conferring with a Catholic priest about your doubts over the Christian faith.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Religion and politics are two different things.

            My doubts about Christianity could dissolve tomorrow and I could become the devoutest Christian on the planet. But I still wouldn’t feel entitled to impose my faith on others who don’t share it.

            If a woman wants to end her pregnancy for example, whether I agree or disagree with her doesn’t give me the right to forbid her to have an abortion. If she believes it’s the right thing to do, who am I to stop her?

            Laws should never impose religious observance. In a secular society it’s just not admissible.

      • Ivan M

        So it really is you Linus? Carl’s points stand even if you do not believe in God. The body is not just a means to create tiny pleasurable explosions that you discard once it is no longer capable of it. Where is the autonomy in that? That you are a slave to pleasure? Rather it is the means by which we experience the world and ultimately defy its deadening tendencies.

        • CliveM

          Yes I’m beginning to wonder.

          • James60498 .

            When he first posted, he claimed that he was a “former” Christian who was now very doubtful but nevertheless was still open to argument.

            Doesn’t seem as though that’s really true, does it?

          • CliveM

            The truth will out.

        • carl jacobs

          In Perfect Ignorance is Linus reborn? Hrmmm. I’ll have to consider this possibility. The animosity is there, yet it doesn’t feel right somehow. But would he repent of his temper tantrum and slink back into channel?

          He might, rabbit, he might.

          • Look at his spelling of intransigent.

          • carl jacobs

            Not convincing. It could be a simple spelling mistake. It’s something I have done many times. You type an ‘e’ where an ‘a’ should be or vice versa. Then you correct it by putting in the correct letter but fail to delete the wrong letter.

            Possible, but no dispositive.

          • … and the date when the account was first opened is supporting evidence.

          • carl jacobs

            Hrmmm. That’s potentially interesting. How so?

          • He ditched ‘Linus’ on or around the same time. If you recall, he met his Waterloo on “The Planned Parenthood Brands its Critics “extremists” “ article that was published on 06/08/2015. The ‘In Perfect Ignorance’ account was created on 09/08/2015.

            Happy Jack has some knowledge in these matters.

          • carl jacobs

            But … oh, you are using that incorrect European formulation of putting the day before the month.

          • When in Rome ….

          • carl jacobs

            … institute the Inquisition. Sell some indulgences. Launch a punitive crusade or two into southern France. Maybe buy a few offices of bishops.

          • Ah … the good old days when things were clearer.

          • Ivan M

            His tendency to taunt Christians. How as they are all thoroughly beaten, they should have the decency to never show their faces again.

          • carl jacobs

            Heretofore “In Perfect Ignorance” has seemed to me less sophisticated than Linus.

          • Ivan M

            An intelligent man like him can pose with various levels of sophistication. He is probably enjoying the attention, so I’ll just stop here.

      • “If you want to convey to someone that a person is (blah, blah, blah , intransigeant … “

        In the Queen’s English the word is intransigent.

        • In Perfect Ignorance

          Wot, yu meen I speld a werd rong?

          Well, off with my head then!

          Does the incorrect spelling somehow invalidate my arguments, or do you agree with me, and the only quibble you have is with my orthography?

          • Nah, as you know, Jack just doesn’t like the French ….

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            What’s that? The French, you say? Who said anything about the French?

            This isn’t 1804 you know. There’s no threat of an invasion from France, at least not by the French.

            Do you assume that anyone who disagrees with you must be French? Are all the divorced people in the UK French? Are all the women who’ve had abortions French? How about all the gays?

            Or are we talking about a particular French person you don’t like? Do I sound like him/her? I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult.

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. There hasn’t been a threat of any French Invasion anyplace anywhere. Not since Waterloo, anyways. I mean, France tried to attack Prussia once. That went well. What’s that I read the other day? “It isn’t a World War until the French have surrendered.”

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            OK, so now we know you don’t like the French. I’m not sure how that advances the discussion, but clearly you have a great deal of Francophobic invective to get off your chest, so go ahead.

            Personally I have no strong feelings either way about the French. Nice cheese. Don’t think much of their cars. That’s about it really.

            Will that do, or is the price of admission here a bit of French-bashing? OK, I’ll play.

            We had a French exchange student at home once. He seemed nice enough until my sister caught him red-handed rifling through the contents of her knicker drawer. He was sent home in disgrace. Zoot alors!

          • carl jacobs

            You can’t keep this deception going, Linus. You have already betrayed yourself.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            So now that you’re convinced you know who I am (a Frenchman called Linus, is it?), do you have anything to say relating to the topic under discussion? Or is the rest of this comments thread going to be taken up with more pointless racist abuse?

            Just wondering.

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. It’s so obvious by now. Why do you insist on denying it?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            *Shrug!*

          • carl jacobs

            Confession is good for the soul. Oh, wait. You don’t believe in the soul.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Show me a soul and I’ll believe in it. Describe a soul to me in measurable, verifiable terms and I’ll have no choice but to acknowledge its existence.

            However, if you just stamp your foot and say “souls exist because my invisible, intangible and utterly unprovable God says they do”, then you’ll have to excuse me if I dismiss your arguments as the ravings of religious obsession. Just because you want there to be such a thing as a soul doesn’t mean it actually exists. To prove that it does you need to show verifiable evidence. Until you do, your belief is just an unfounded theory.

          • Anton

            Have you asked him directly, ie “Dear “In Perfect Ignorance”, did you post here in the past as Linus?”

          • Jack has just done so.

          • “So now that you’re convinced you know who I am (a Frenchman called Linus, is it?) …”

            He was affectionately known as “Nobody’s Fool” and “Snork”.

          • Ivan M

            Please a French student rifling knickers? That is so WW1.

          • Are you married?

          • carl jacobs

            OK, now THAT sounded like Linus.

          • Just gotta know the buttons to push.

          • carl jacobs

            But he was saying (sorta) nice things about the Monarchy a few threads back. Would Linus re-create his own opinions to hide his new identity?

          • Who but Linus would use the word “orthography”?

            Re-read his comments on the Monarchy. They were pure Linus. .

      • avi barzel

        Greeting, Linus. If you’re going to pretend you’re someone else, can’t you do so by cutting down on the volume of your pompous gibberish along with the name-change? If it’s not too much to ask….

  • David

    The liberal-left have grown accustomed to winning their social “crusades”. Generally they devise clever, cunning publicity methods to trick the public and governments into approving of their “improvements”. Only later do we learn just how damaging each piece of “progressive” legal change always is. The one that started, precipitated, so much further social deterioration was of course no fault divorce.

    But if they lose something, they act with all the fury and moral superiority of people who are happy using democracy, if it can be bent to their will, but are clearly equally happy to reject democratically derived results, when they fail to bully, trick or persuade the public or the politicos. Basically they are just ideologues.

    • Jon Sorensen

      “Only later do we learn just how damaging each piece of “progressive” legal change always is”
      Examples please…

      • David

        Isn’t so easy for you to just use a few words to ask for evidence, when in fact it is all around us, visible daily, for those who look, see, observe and think for themselves ?
        However, I’ll give one huge, overwhelming example. Abortion was argued into law on the grounds, as is often the case, of “compassion”. Abortion was legalised to eliminate dangerous back street abortionists, of which there were claimed to be a few hundred a year. We were told by David, now Lord Steel, that only a few hundred a year would be aborted legally by doctors. Yet it is has grown rapidly and many tens of thousands of unborn are murdered annually. That is just one example.

        • Jon Sorensen

          “in fact it is all around us, visible daily, for those who look, see, observe and think for themselves ”
          Like women’s right to vote, equal right for LGBT, freedom of speech (no blasphemy)

          “Abortion was legalised to eliminate dangerous back street abortionists”

          Sounds like women’s right issue. Would you support abortion if that would save mother’s life? (=is that bad?)

          • David

            Your question is a red herring.
            Women have the right to choose unprotected sex or not.
            No sex = no baby.
            What choice does abortion give to the unborn human ?
            Moreover less than 1% of abortions are needed to save a woman’s life. In that limited category, yes I would choose the adult rather than the unborn.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So you are happy to grant abortion in a case of rape then?

            Unborn human has same rights as born human when it comes to right of life. Abortion should be illegal after ~24weeks.

            Thank you for agreeing that in some cases abortion should be done. Why do you choose woman’s life over a child? Is woman more valuable to you?

          • David

            Why the woman’s life over the foetus ?
            This is an “on-balance” decision. The woman already has established networks of friends, relatives and people who need her and rely on her. The foetus has potential. I suppose, to put it horribly coldly, I’m prioritising the proven over the unproven, a conservative’s position.

            Rape ? Very, very tricky one. I am still fence sitting on that one, but I feel very much for the adult woman. That’s the best I can do on that at present.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So people with “has established networks of friends, relatives and people who need her and rely on her” are more valuable. I see the a conservative’s position…

            Why don’t you check what the Bible says when the abortion is ok, and use that?

  • Retired Paul

    In Friday’s Daily Telegraph, there was an article by Sara Burns backing ‘assisted dying’. She is terminally ill, and wants the right to die so that her children, now aged 22 and 29, will not have to see her suffering an unnecessarily agonising death.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11811626/Breast-cancer-sufferer-assisted-dying-Parliament-need-to-let-me-go.html
    It all sounds so very reasonable – how could anyone speak against her.

    But for some reason, she does not get angry that in the late 1980’s, when she was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma of the highest grade (resulting in a statistical expectation of life of less than 6 months), no-one was able to offer her ‘assisted dying’ to allow her to chose her time of death. She would have been spared not only the pain and general suffering from that diagnosis, but also the initial diagnosis of breast cancer in 2003 and her more recent recurrence.

    Equally, her children would have been spared any worries, because she would not have lived to have them, or do anything else in the past 30 years!

    • Dreadnaught

      There’s no on size fits all eventualities – we could all offer up whatever line suits our purpose. Its about the freedom to live your life as you want it. Many good people have laid down their lives for a principle or cause in the hope they may be proved worthy to their fellow men. Their life ended to preserve that of others however noble was still a choice they made.

      • carl jacobs

        But you aren’t free to “live your life as you want” and you know it. That is a false framing of the argument. The actual argument is “How should we determine the limits of individual behavior?” You can’t just say “Stop interfering with my freedom” as if the freedom you are asserting is by definition legitimate. The legitimacy of the freely chosen action is the very question under examination.

        • Dreadnaught

          I doubt that the word ‘legitimacy’ is legitimate in this argument unless its used as a bridge to another agenda – and you know it.

          • carl jacobs

            Substitute whatever word you like. It doesn’t change the point. You are assuming the very point you are trying to make.

          • Dreadnaught

            I’ve no intention of crossing your bridge and trying to catch the wind.

          • Inspector General

            One feels a Donovan song coming on…

          • carl jacobs

            One would recommend “Universal Soldier”. Okay, so it was a Buffy St Marie song, but Donovan made it popular.

          • Dreadnaught

            I prefer Lennon’s ‘Imagine’

          • carl jacobs

            But that isn’t a Donovan song, and it’s ten years later.

          • Dreadnaught

            Even so I preferred the BSM original and my offering was a bit closer to the thread cj. I’m out.

          • Anton

            And it hasn’t aged well. Band on the Run is the best post-Beatles album.

          • carl jacobs

            No, it hasn’t, but little rooted in the 60s has aged well. A few things. And the Beatles themselves … well. Did they ever write good music?

          • Anton

            Yes. But mostly before Sgt Pepper.

          • Dreadnaught

            Goo Goo Garabajaggle perhaps? – let it RIP Iggy lad!

          • Inspector General

            The Hurdy Gurdy man. Still raises the hairs on the back of a fellows neck…

  • CliveM

    The proponents of assisted suicide don’t seem to care about the accuracy of their propaganda. Where is the morality in frightening the elderly and terminally I’ll that unless a bill is passed, they will die painful and undignified deaths? This is simply not true. Properly cared for most deaths are painless and peaceful. More effort needs to be expended in assuring it is for all.

    And isn’t this proof of the need to oppose the bill or it’s successors? If those who we are led to believe are caring can stoop to this what about the malign.

    • In Perfect Ignorance

      You clearly have little experience caring for the terminally ill. Death is often a long, drawn-out and incredibly painful business. The myth that all pain can be magicked away with opiates and other pain killers just isn’t true.

      Perhaps you cling to this fond hope in order to assuage your conscience. Obliging those whose suffering is unbearable to carry on in order so that your religious scruples won’t be offended is one more example of Christian callousness. As if any were needed.

      Now you can no longer coerce the divorced and gays into suffering unwanted lifelong celibacy as a ritual sacrifice to your tribal deity, you’re concentrating all your efforts on the terminally ill, aren’t you? Someone has to suffer to appease your God. As long as it isn’t you.

      Better start praying for a painless death for yourself when the time comes. I hope for your sake you get to avoid the fate you’re so eager to mete out to others.

      • CliveM

        You are a silly boy. Probably best you don’t make assumptions about other people, just shows up your ‘perfect ignorance’.

        However as I have had several friends who were/are medical staff in the hospice movement (this is in addition to personal experience) I will listen to them, rather then someone you.

        • Bête garcon, more like ….

          • CliveM

            One thing that suggests not, Linus use to keep his discus account private but PI’s is public?

          • No, Linus’ account was public – Jack had a good read of it when he fist arrived.

          • CliveM

            Really? When I tried it was private. He must have changed status.

          • chiefofsinners

            I must say the same thought had occurred to me. Linus was perfect in his ignorance.

          • Perfected and wilful ignorance, more like.

            Perfect ignorance refers to prior indifference: no clue at all about whether a hypothesis under investigation is true or false. An immediate answer to an issue where there is an apparent lack of corroborating evidence is: “no idea, we just don’t know; we know nothing at all – there is nothing that allows us to differentiate between true and false.”

            Atheists claim “Perfect Ignorance” because the logical priors about the existence of a Creator Being contain plenty of background evidence that is culpably ignored.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s sort of like cryptanalysis. The more he speaks, the more he fits the pattern. I am beginning to think you are right, Jack.

            Skulking Linus, Hidden Frenchman.

          • It’s a shame because his early entries seemed genuinely heartfelt and he seemed to be wrestling with real areas of doubt about his Christian (Catholic) faith. And yet …. there was an undercurrent.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yep. That last post had Linus written all over it.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes. I repent me. Linus was prejudiced in his ignorance.

      • alternative_perspective

        You lot are nothing if not hypocritical and boring.

        The same old failed arguments… Based not on actual arguments but slurs against people, rhetoric and anger.

        What’s hypocritical is that you preach your sermon from pulpits of objective truth and morality, condemning hautily those you disagree with, with black and white language but you either ignore the fact or are ignorant that an atheistic world view is devoid of objective truth and morality and wed inexorably to philosophies of pragmatism, materialism and utilitarianism.

        In one stroke your intellectual position is reduced to mere subjective opinion, your invective: facile noises of colliding atoms and your values: little more than convenience. And your pitiful laments for those in suffering are justly ignored as weeping over a commodity fallen out of popularity.

        But I/we expect very little of you. We know you won’t critique your ways or incoherent rationality: your atheism is a farcry from that of Flew’s. Logic and reason sacrificed on the twin altars of emotion and radical autonomy.

        Please forgive us if we don’t take your posts very seriously. What’s the point of debating those who think trolling an intellectually satisfying position?

      • dannybhoy

        Your first paragraph was accurate, and then it went downhill from there.
        Why do you assume that Christians are disengaged from the world of loneliness, pain and death?
        I have worked with the elderly, with young and old with learning difficulties. Cleaning them up after accidents, washing and dressing them.
        It’s all a part of life isn’t it.
        No one is guaranteed a painless death, but why assume that Christians hope to escape physical suffering anyway?

        • CliveM

          Ahem how is hhis first para accurate?

          • dannybhoy

            Death is often a long, drawn-out and incredibly painful business. The
            myth that all pain can be magicked away with opiates and other pain
            killers just isn’t true.
            Zis mein freund, is true.

      • chiefofsinners

        Hey, Linus. When I went to France in August my wife lost a couple of rings. You couldn’t have a scout round for them could you?

    • Dreadnaught

      Not at all, its proof of the need of open debate before decisions are passed by the legislature,

    • Jon Sorensen

      “Where is the morality in frightening the elderly and terminally ill that unless a bill is passed, they will die painful and undignified deaths? This is simply not true.”

      You should visit a public hospital terminally ill cancer patients one day. This could open your eyes.

      • CliveM

        Spend your time wandering around the public wards of hospitals do you?

        I have seen enough people die, without turning it into a public spectacle.

        • Jon Sorensen

          Yep. Let’s not publish pictures of terminally ill people to let everyone to see the sad ending of some lives, just like we don’t publish picture of aborted babies… oh wait…

          • CliveM

            Sometimes the points you make are just bizzare.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Thanks for not claiming that all my points are bizarre.

  • Albert

    Parliament has failed to act and if it fails to recognise its responsibility over the next five years then the courts have no choice but to act instead, to end this suffering and injustice.

    What about those pushing this Bill? Do they not have any sense of responsibility? Even those in favour in principle of this sort of thing seem to think the Bill was flawed. And what about this anti-democratic element of this quote? As Parliament has not come up with the “right” answer, the courts will have to overrule it, apparently.

    Sad, confused and strange.

  • chiefofsinners

    The Queen has reigned for 63 years and is more popular than any politician.
    MPs voted against assisted dying because they have a level of intellect and experience above that of the general population.
    When you let the masses decide, you end up with Corbyn.
    What does this say for democracy?

    • Albert

      Quite. For most of the last 50 years the population has also backed the death penalty. Perhaps those pushing for this Bill and complaining that Parliament is out of touch, should tell us whether they favour the death penalty. Perhaps they just like the idea of killing.

      • carl jacobs

        What is important here is not majority opinion, but enlightened opinion. If majority opinion agrees with enlightened opinion, then majority opinion can be used as a lever against the recalcitrant. Otherwise, enlightened opinion must use its access to the levers of power to achieve the desired result. The non-negotiable principle is that the outcome must be controled by the enlightened ones.

        And how do we know who the “enlightened ones” are? Oh, don’t worry. They will tell you.

        • chiefofsinners

          I’m loath to point this out, but where does this logic leave us on the EU referendum?

          • carl jacobs

            You haven’t got a snowball’s chance of getting out of the EU.

          • chiefofsinners

            Nor a snowball’s chance if we stay in.e

      • CliveM

        Interesting observation, astute.

      • Inspector General

        Not worthy of you Albert. The ultimate punishment for a capital crime and euthanasia are entirely separate concepts.

        {Growl}

        • Albert

          You’re right, and I did not mean to equate the two, except insofar as they are understood by those in favour of euthanasia. Capital punishment is not wrong in itself, even though I do not think that in the modern world at least, it can be justified. Euthanasia is wrong in itself. But my point is that those in favour of euthanasia would tend to be against capital punishment. They would appeal to popular support in the former, and against it in the latter. It’s that inconsistency I am pointing to.

          • Inspector General

            One now reads your original as posing the question you intended.

  • chiefofsinners

    And so, Falconer rises like a Phoenix from the ashes of his assisted dying bill, into the shadow cabinet.
    Proof if ever it was needed that the devil looks after his own.
    Presumably Corbyn needs assistance killing off the Labour Party. Good choice, Jezza.

    • carl jacobs

      The Labour Party won’t die. It will become the Red-Green Party! Canada conquers all.

  • carl jacobs

    Uh huh.

  • carl jacobs

    So the Commenter Formerly Known as Linus has returned to grace us with his wisdom and razor-sharp sense of humor. But inquiring minds want to know:

    1. Is he the French homosexual of months past?
    2. Is he the “hasn’t quite fessed up to a nationality yet” heterosexual who has been married for four years? To a woman, no less. As it were, to wit:

    Yep. Going on for 4 years now. And she’s not happy with me posting past midnight because the glow from my phone screen keeps her awake.

    Because both can’t be true. Obviously. But maybe there is a third possibility. Maybe I shouldn’t have scoffed at Avi’s suggestion that he was some kind of undercover operative from some French Security Agency. Leave it to the French to consider Cranmer’s weblog a security threat.

    Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion. Same Bat time. Same Bat channel.

    • Dreadnaught

      Yeah – lets piss about – much more fun than discussing people dying in distress. Shame on you.

      • carl jacobs

        That’s the thing about me, Dreadnaught. I don’t like it when people lie to me and misrepresent themselves. I’m funny that way. Although I don’t remember you bitching about “Corrigan reborn” being outed. Or that other case in which I was personally involved. If you were my mother, I would care about your criticism. But you aren’t my mother. And since I take this stuff seriously, I’ll keep doing what I will whether you like it or not. This isn’t “pissing about” to me.

        • Dreadnaught

          This isn’t “pissing about” to me
          Had me fooled then.

      • chiefofsinners

        Life isn’t all death and distress. Why not lift the mood a bit? A little levity leaveneth the whole lump.

        • Dreadnaught

          No but this thread was – Cranmer has a chat room for those who don’t want to be part of the grownups conversation,

          • chiefofsinners

            Is Linus there?