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Euthanasia and Religion in the Media

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COMU2009 Reporting Religion
University of Queensland

Euthanasia and Religion in the Media

  1. 1. By: Vera ChungEuthanasia & ReligionIn the Media
  2. 2. We are a death-denying,death-obsessed society.-Humanehealthcare.com
  3. 3. “practice of ending a life in a manner which relieves painand suffering”
  4. 4. The ‘Good Death’Gentle deathDeath with Dignity Mercy Killing
  5. 5. Euthanasia & the Law1994, US state of Oregon legalised physician-assisteddying with certain restrictions1995, Euthanasia was legalized in Australias NorthernTerritory, by the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act1998, Australian Federal Government overturned theRights of the Terminally Ill Act1999, Euthanasia was legalized in Albania2001, The Netherlands became the first European countryto legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide2002, Belgium followed suit, with similar legislation2002, Switzerland legalised euthanasia2009, Luxembourg legalised euthanasia
  6. 6. Types of EuthanasiaCompilation video
  7. 7. Euthanasi aIf a third party performs the lastact that intentionally causes apatients death Assisted Suicide If the person who dies performs the last act
  8. 8. Human RightsThe right to a painless death „Right to Die‟Death is better than dying „Dignified death‟Control over their own livesPet euthanasia is seen as merciful Are human lives worth more than animals‟?
  9. 9. Euthanasia & ReligionSanctity of Life „Natural‟ Right to live
  10. 10. Euthanasia & BuddhismEuthanasia is advised againstKilling mitigated severely by motivationWhile the Buddhist text state that both abortionand euthanasia involve negative karma, theintention is critical. If one truly believes that afoetus is not a living being, for example, thekarma of abortion is less serious than otherwise.If something is suffering, it‟s due to their previouskarma
  11. 11. Euthanasia & Hinduism Not all Hindus agree on whether euthanasia should be permitted. There are two Hindu views of euthanasia:1. A person who helps another reduce suffering is doing a good deed and gains good karma2. Euthanasia disrupts the timing of the cycle of rebirth and therefore yields bad karma • The same argument suggests that keeping a person artificially alive on life-support would also be a bad thing to do • Use of life-support as a temporary attempt at healing would not be a bad thing
  12. 12. Euthanasia & HinduismOne exception to the Hindu prohibition of suicideis the practice of prayopavesa, or fasting to deathPrayopavesa is not regarded as suicide becauseit is natural and non-violent, and is acceptableonly for spiritually advanced people underspecified circumstances
  13. 13. Euthanasia & IslamTo live and die in accordance with Gods will asrevealed in the Qur‟an and practiced by theProphetTo take a life is murderWishing for death is forbidden The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: None of you should wish for death because of some harm that has come to him. If he has such a wish, he should say, „O Allah, give me life if You know that life is better for me. And give me death if You know that death is better is better for me.‟
  14. 14. Euthanasia & ChristianityChristians are generally opposed to euthanasiaRoman Catholic Church remains firmly opposedto both suicide and euthanasiaLife is given by God, suicide implies the person ismaster of his body instead of GodSome churches emphasise the importance of notinterfering with the natural process of deathCommandment states that “Thou shalt not kill”
  15. 15. Euthanasia & the Media
  16. 16. CBS News Advocate OppositionTerry Youk, brother of Dorothy Yeung,Thomas Youk, who National Right to Lifesought help from Dr. K Committee CounselDuration: 2:30 Duration: 2:00
  17. 17. CBS News Advocate OppositionA way to die with peace and “Face of Dr. Death”dignity “Hope he doesn‟t continue onJack Kevorkian was “only his escapades of killingoption” people”Brother wanted “simple, “Virtually eliminating peoplepeaceful death” who are less than perfect, people with disabilities,Had to do this in great people who suffer fromsecrecy, family couldn‟t be depression”present “Killing them is not theSafe, peaceful dignified option answer”“Compassionate practitioner” “The solution is not to kill those people”
  18. 18. Fox News“You spent more than 8 years in prison for helpingterminally ill people die. Prosecution said youmurdered them, it‟s been a long time, are you angry?”“They called you a murderer, what did you think ofthat?”“Sarah Palin called them „Death Panels‟, what do youcall them?”“You think religion and God play too much of a role inthese decisions. Are you an atheist? What are youexactly?”“Well aren‟t there drugs for suffering and pain? Anddrugs for depression?”
  19. 19. Euthanasia & the Mediaincluded? how is religionThe media tries not to include religion inreporting of euthanasiaWhen religion is included, it is usuallyrepresented by the Catholic Church
  20. 20. The presence of the Church in this debate irks someof our listeners. One asked "why do you feel theneed to wheel out these numbskull clerics on anyopportunity?”Jamie AngusEditor of World at One and World This Weekendhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/02/euthanasia_debate.html
  21. 21. Euthanasia & the MediaDebates on societal issues, such as euthanasia,are not carried out face to face and in person.Our public square is the television box.“Mediatization” affects the "shared story" that wecreate through our dialogue,We may engage in too much "death talk" and toolittle "life talk," because media indulges ourobsession with death.
  22. 22. Euthanasia & the isMedia there a balance?No balance in coverage of different religion‟sviews of euthanasia (due to the Catholic Churchbeing the most active voice against euthanasiaand the audience)Media engages in too much "death talk" and toolittle "life talk”Media tries to show a balance of coverage in thedebate, but most of the time fails to balance it outappropriately, sometimes „faking‟ the balance(e.g. CBC‟s coverage)
  23. 23. DiscussionShould religion be included in the euthanasiadebate?Have you been influenced by the media in itsportrayal of euthanasia? If so, how?
  24. 24. "Our bodies break down, sometimes whenwere 90, sometimes before were even born,but it always happens and theres never anydignity in it. I dont care if you can walk, see,wipe your own ass. Its always ugly. Always.You can live with dignity, you cant die withit.”Gregory House, House M.D.

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