(LifeSiteNews) – The United Church of Canada is being called out by a pro-life group for promoting the “legalized killing” of its members because it approved multiple euthanasia “prayers” to be used for those who have “chosen medically assisted dying.”
As listed on its website under the “Death and Dying” page, the United Church lists multiple prayers for those who will be dying from state-sanctioned assisted suicide.
Some of the prayers include one for “the person who has chosen medically assisted dying,” and another for “the loved ones of someone who has chosen to end their life.”
There is also a prayer for “medical professionals going to hear the request of a patient to end their life.”
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, took issue with the prayers, saying the United Church is in fact “praying” for murder.
“People should always have compassion for people who are living with physical or mental illness,” Schadenberg wrote in a recent blog.
“But the United Church is praying for and approving the act of killing.”
Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews via email that when people give into a “false compassion,” they lose the “understanding of what this is all about.”
“(MAiD) euthanasia is an act of killing someone by lethal injection,” Schadenberg said. “True compassion leads to caring for and being with people. To help a person live and find meaning in life until they die.”
Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews that the “United Church of Canada is condoning killing people.”
In his blog, Schadenberg included the text of a prayer titled “Prayer in the Midst of Fear.”
A portion of the text reads “I am afraid that my family and loved ones, children and grandchildren will be troubled when I tell them I plan to die using medical aid in dying (MAID).”
“I hope they will be proud of my decision and will understand that MAID is consistent with the love and compassion of Jesus.”
The euthanasia “prayers” were copyrighted in 2020 by the United Church in Canada, which is the same year it issued a “Revised Statement on Medical Assistance in Dying.”
Schadenberg pointed out that the prayers were written by cleric David Spark as well as pro-euthanasia activist Sheila Noyes, who used to be the co-president of the euthanasia lobby group, Dying with Dignity Canada.
LifeSiteNews’ Jonathon Van Maren recently wrote that in his view the group Dying with Dignity Canada is “one of the most dangerous organizations in the country, working daily to exploit the compassion and empathy of parliamentarians and the public to persuade them that suicide is the answer to virtually any form of suffering.”
In 2017, the United Church of Canada officially declared that it was not opposed to letting one take their life via state-sanctioned euthanasia or medical aid in dying (MAID) as it is known.
“We are not opposed in principle to the legislation allowing assistance in dying and to such assistance being the informed, free choice of terminally ill patients,” the United Church said.
In 2020, the United Church updated its guidance on MAiD by saying that “ending suffering due to mental illness not be a category for MAID, and that the church advocate for increased mental health resources.”
Canada legalized euthanasia in 2016 and has recently chosen to expand the practice to those who suffer from mental illness with the passage of Bill C-7 in 2021.
However, intense pushback from pro-life and mental health groups led Liberal Minister of Justice David Lametti to introduce a bill last week that will delay the expansion of Canada’s euthanasia laws to include those suffering solely from mental illness and so-called “mature minors.”
Petition launched calling upon United Church to remove euthanasia ‘prayers’
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has launched a petition calling for the “The United Church of Canada needs to disavow the killing of their members” and remove its euthanasia “prayers.”
Part of the petition reads, “I ask that you remove all pro-euthanasia ‘prayers’ from the United Church of Canada website, cut ties to pro-euthanasia lobbying groups such as Dying with Dignity, and disavow the killing of people living with physical or mental illnesses.”
During debate on the bill, Canadian Minster of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett caused a stir after appearing to have a “Freudian slip” in the House of Commons when she commented that people who provide euthanasia services are indeed “trained” to “eliminate” suicidal people.
Canada’s Conservative Party last week called upon the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to scrap in its entirety a planned expansion of the nation’s euthanasia laws to include those with mental illness.
Pro-life advocates at the national level have long sounded the alarm over Trudeau’s Liberal government’s euthanasia program, which has drawn criticism on an international scale.
Canada’s increasingly permissive laws have allowed euthanasia to rise 32% since 2020, with more than 10,000 people dying in 2021 alone.