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Local religious leaders issue joint statement opposing Question 2


A group of 17 Boston area religious leaders and faith organizations issued a joint statement Oct. 22 stating their opposition to Question 2 "Prescribing Medication to End Life."

Modeled after similar laws in Washington and Oregon, Question 2, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot in Massachusetts, would allow physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medication, usually barbiturates, to patients who have received a terminal diagnosis and are expected to live for fewer than six months.

Earlier this month, on Oct. 4, a group of nearly 60 area faith leaders attended a gathering hosted by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios on an interfaith response to the ballot initiative at the metropolis's headquarters in Brookline. All of the signatories of the joint statement were either in attendance or represented at the interfaith gathering.

Following is the text of the Oct. 22 statement:

Across many religions, we stand united against Question 2 because promoting suicide is a violation of God's law.

-- Physician-assisted suicide is a false answer to the authentic needs of the terminally ill for support, comfort and care.

-- Question 2 relies on a six month prognosis for terminal illness that medical professionals agree is often uncertain at best.

-- Question 2 makes no requirement for a patient to consult with a psychiatrist, pastor, palliative care or hospice expert, or even to notify family members of a decision to end one's own life.

-- Allowing a terminally ill person to self-administer a lethal dose of sleeping pills in order to end his/her own life is not a death with dignity. Nor is it in accord with the values of human respect and compassion that we affirm out of our religious convictions.

As religious leaders and representatives who minister to the sick and vulnerable every day, from caring hearts we call for care to alleviate their suffering -- not suicide.

-- Bishop William Murdoch, Anglican Diocese in New England

-- Senior Pastor Steven Chin, Boston Chinese Evangelical Church

-- The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, Boston TenPoint Coalition

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