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Wesley J. Smith

The West is quickly becoming a pro-suicide culture

Wesley J. Smith
By Wesley Smith

We are quickly becoming a pro-suicide culture–indeed to the point now that organizations like the Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices, bioethicists, and the mainstream media promote suicide by self-starvation as the new big thing in making oneself dead.

Philip Nitschke is one of the international rock stars of euthanasia advocacy. He is also its most candid. He believes that everyone owns their own body absolutely and thus have a right to suicide whenever they want and for whatever reason. Indeed, he told NRO’s Kathryn Lopez that suicide pills should even be made available to “troubled teens.”

I clashed with Nitschke in Australia when I traveled the country on an anti-euthanasia tour in 2001. First, I busted him for the above assertion. It created a media fire storm.

While there, I also made front page news by revealing that he was importing and distributing suicide bags. I am proud to say, my effort led to the passage of a law that forced Nitschke to move his suicide industry offshore. It was one of my most successful public advocacy campaigns. 

Now, Aussie medical authorities want him struck off as a doctor because of the suicide of a healthy but depressed man which he facilitated. What. Took. Them. So. Long?

As for troubled teens and other young people, a study showed that many used his favorite method of suicide–and Nitschke doesn’t care. From a column by anti-euthanasia campaigner Paul Russell:

It is this supposed right-to-die that is the false over-arching philosophy by which the death of a young person can be somehow ‘rationalised’ by Nitschke and Exit. In 2010, in response to a Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Report showing that two thirds of deaths in the preceding decade using the Exit drug-of-choice, Nembutal, were for people under the age of 50 with nearly one-third being younger than 40 and six being in their 20s,

Nitschke said: ”There will be some casualties … but this has to be balanced with the growing pool of older people who feel immense wellbeing from having access to this information.” Tell that to the families of the two men featured in the 7:30 Report! Suicide prevention should never accept the notion of acceptable casualties!

Nitschke just oozes compassion, doesn’t he?

But it isn’t just Nitschke. All suicide promoters know–or should know–that their work will lead to the suicides of some people who are not the prime targets of their advocacy. And they don’t care.

For example, Derek Humphry’s New York Times best selling how-to-commit-suicide book Final Exit–what does that tell you about our degrading culture!–has been found next to the dead bodies of troubled teens, and he could not care much less.

Compassion and Choices pushes self-starvation for people tired of life, not just the sick.

In Belgium elderly couples receive joint euthanasia and a psychiatric patient sexually exploited by her psychiatrist was killed by another psychiatrist. And the world shrugs its shoulders.

Most assisted suicide promoters know that there will be deadly consequences from their advocacy–I mean beyond the suicides they support, and it doesn’t matter. They want what they want and don’t care who gets hurt.

The rest of us should care, but increasingly, we don’t. Why? As I wrote above, we are quickly becoming a pro-suicide culture.

Reprinted with permission from the National Review Online.

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Presbyterian church pays $7.8m to leave denomination that backs abortion, gay ‘marriage’

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By Dustin Siggins

A conservative Presbyterian church has opted to pay nearly $8 million rather than remain a part of its theologically liberal denomination, which supports abortion-on-demand and redefining marriage.

Highland Park Presbyterian Church (HPPC) in Dallas has agreed to pay $7.8 million to a regional parent group for the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA).

Last year, HPPC left the denomination, citing four major concerns, among them concerns that PPUSA wanted too much control over HPPC's decision-making. As importantly, PCUSA allows multiple interpretations of who Jesus Christ is in terms of His relationship with God and the path to Heaven, as well as other Scriptural doctrines.

On the same day of the PCUSA vote, HPPC voted to join ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, a more traditional Presbyterian group that was founded in 2012.

In addition to a core tenet of Christ being the path to Heaven, ECO opposes abortion and same-sex "marriage." Earlier this year, PCUSA voted to allow same-sex "marriages" to be valid, and refused to condemn the killing of babies who are born alive after surviving a botched abortion.

The PCUSA's regional parent group in this part of Texas, Grace Presbyterian, immediately claimed it had ownership of HPPC's property and assets. A legal battle ensued. A court date was set for later this fall, but the settlement by HPPC ended the battle.

The decision by HPPC is just the latest in a series of battles between PCUSA – the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination – and theologically conservative Presbyterians. The PCUSA has lost more than 100,000 members and 190 congregations, including dozens due to dissolution, since 2011, according to its website. Many of the departures were due to the PCUSA's support for redefining marriage, which has long been a dividing factor between the PCUSA and the larger Presbyterian church.

In a public statement, HPPC's leadership team -- known as the Session -- explained the vote to approve the settlement, which was valued at 11 percent of the church's total assets that were being disputed. The 11 percent is also representative of the percent of HPPC that voted to stay with PCUSA.

In an online FAQ, HPPC's leadership explained that while it was confident it would win the court battle, several considerations were taken into account.

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"There are other costs besides financial ones that must be considered as well," says the FAQ. "What are the costs in terms of the focus and creative capital of our leadership, both staff and elders, and the distraction it creates for our church, as we seek to build a unified commitment to mission and ministry? The ability to pursue our mission without hurdles or distractions is invaluable. Further, if the court case was lost the costs to HPPC of losing its property and relocating would be considerably greater than the cost of the settlement."

Even if HPPC gained victory, the battle could last years. With the settlement, HPPC must pay Grace Presbyterian by November 3. It anticipates doing so via donations raised, loans, and reserves. 

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Mark Sanford’s affair saga is a reminder that the grass isn’t greener

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By Dustin Siggins

If you've followed U.S. politics at all over the last five years, the name of South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, a Republican, has come across your computer more than once.

At first, it was because Sanford's experience as a member of Congress and as governor of South Carolina led him to be a potential favorite for the 2012 presidential nomination. Then it was because of his 2009 affair with a woman from another country and his subsequent divorce from his wife Jenny. After he won an unlikely victory to once again represent in Congress, he seemed like the comeback king -- at least, until a few days ago, when he broke off his engagement to the woman with whom he cheated.

While Sanford is an easy target for Democrats who want to criticize unfaithful social conservatives as hypocrites, and for politicos in general to get click-throughs to their websites, his experience also provides a lesson for a culture too often stuck on self-centeredness when it comes to relationships.

For practicing Christians, marriage is a lifelong commitment that entails self-sacrifice for the good of the other person in the relationship, as well as any children the relationship may bear. By its very nature, cheating is a selfish activity that entails lying, often ends in divorce, and maximizes the always-dangerous "grass is greener" mentality. And despite the excitement an affair may bring at first, the damage is both deep and wide.

In a 2013 book, relationship expert Jean Duncombe noted that interviews with people who cheat, as well as marriage counselors and psychologists, showed that the damage to children is devastating. She told the Daily Mail:

‘I’m puritanical when someone tells me they’re having an affair — because of the work we’ve done on the impact of divorce on the children.

‘If people say to me that the children don’t know, I say: “Are you sure?” or “Think about what you’re doing to the children” — and I never would have said that 20 years ago.’

That damage is often not seen for years, sometimes decades. And it can crush the next generation's physical health, mental health, and relationship health.

But surely the affair is necessary for the happiness of the person cheating, right? One therapist and published relationship author, Esther Perel, says that the answer is no -- that, in fact, many people who cheat are, essentially, mistaking a lack of Disney Princess-like excitement for an unhappy marriage.

And the affairs don't last. According to MarriageAdvocates.com, half of affairs last from one month to one year, and according to Oregon "individual and couples therapist" Alec Wilson, affairs last only three to seven percent of the time.

Additionally, Americans who remarry after divorcing have much shorter marriages than their first one. A 2012 study showed that over half of couples who have a cheating spouse get divorced, though Wilson says that the divorce rate is as low as 30 percent.

What this means is that rather than being greener, the grass is devastatingly less green than where most married couples are currently standing.

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Gov. Chris Christie holds a town hall meeting in Caldwell, N.J. on July 1, 2014. Governor's Office / Tim Larsen
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All 2016 GOP presidential candidates back fetal pain ban – except Chris Christie (so far)

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By Ben Johnson

All but one of the likely 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls support limiting abortion after an unborn child can feel pain, according to CBN News.

CBN's David Brody collected letters from numerous potential GOP candidates stating their support for a 20-week national abortion ban.

Its backers include Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Rand Paul, former Alabama Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Marco Rubio, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

CBN reported:

In letters of support obtained by CBN News former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush calls the bill "humane" and "compassionate." Mike Huckabee says the effort is "pro-life and pro-woman." And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal considers it "common sense”...

As for other potential Republican candidates, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a similar version of the bill in his state. And Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., supported the House version.

However, not everyone had responded yet:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has yet to provide a letter.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Christie is testing the presidential waters by meeting potential contributors on “wealthy Kiawah Island” – but the Palmetto State's voters are “skeptical of his views on conservative issues such as gay rights and abortion, along with his electability and his roots in the party's Northeast wing.” The faction conservatives called the Eastern Liberal Establishment, now often dubbed the Republican establishment, has made Chris Christie its candidate of choice at the moment.

So far Rand Paul and Marco Rubio have generated the most excitement in South Carolina, the Journal reports.

Last June, the House of Representatives passed the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” introduced by Trent Franks, R-AZ. Then-House Minority Leader Eric Cantor insisted on adding exceptions for rape and incest to the bill shortly before its passage. A year later, Cantor lost his Republican Congressional primary to the underfunded but more populist conservative candidate David Brat.

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South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced the fetal pain ban in the Senate five months later. "I don't want anybody carrying the Republican banner that doesn't get this,” Graham said of the 2016 primaries. “If you don't get this, then you're the extremist.”

If the bill becomes law, abortionists who perform late-term abortions may face a fine or up to five years in prison. A congressional report showed that 11,000 late-term abortions take place in the United States each year.

Although the Supreme Court has only granted the American people the right to restrict abortion after the point of viability, which it defines as 22 weeks, pro-life intellectuals hope, and some signs indicate, that the High Court's justices may reconsider that criteria if confronted with the realities of fetal pain.

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