Today I sent the following Pastoral Letter to all Anglican Parishes in Tasmania asking that the letter and attachments be made available to Parishioners [by email circulation and/or copies available at Parish Centres]. The Pastoral Letter (without attachments),
3 October 2013
Pastoral Letter – Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
You will have learned recently that the Hon. Lara Giddings and the Hon. Nick McKim, Members for Franklin have recently introduced the “Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2013” to the Tasmanian parliament.
This Bill would allow those who meet certain eligibility criteria to be prescribed and receive a lethal injection. This Bill is a direct threat to the lives of Tasmanians, particularly the sick and elderly. This Bill embraces a philosophy of human value defined by convenience and personal capacity. It stands against the responsibility of societies and governments to implement compassionate, timely, and effective care for those who are unwell or disabled in some way.
In particular, at a time when our awareness is being raised on matters of suicide prevention, and the risks of abuse faced by the elderly, it is inappropriate and irresponsible to propose a law that communicates the abhorrent notion that for some “your life is not worth living.”
I am calling upon the Members of the House of Assembly to vote against this bill and its contemptible derogation of human value. In a life-affirming healthy society a government is never allowed to intentionally and deliberately cause the death of one of its citizens. We cross that line at our peril.
I have attached to this correspondence some information about how you can work with your parishes. I have also attached a separate document for each of the electorates. Please download the document relative to your area and contact your local members of parliament as soon as possible.
I am also making resources available on my blog which can be accessed here or through http://imaginarydiocese.org/bishopjohn/euthanasia-resources.
Yours sincerely in Christ’s Service
Shalom,John Harrower Bishop of Tasmania