We have been habituated to think that the most pressing issues of life and death are really just issues of choice. “Abortion is a woman’s choice.” A choice to do what? is the question never quite answered. People should have the “right to choose” to use contraception, even if they are young and unmarried, as if there is ever a situation in which sexual intercourse is age-appropriate for a 14 year old.
I have long maintained that the issue isn’t about “choice” and never has been. The issue is creating a new moral universe, with ethical norms and social expectations that could not be defended on their own. So the issue of “choice” is thrown in as a smoke screen to cover up what is actually being done and advocated.
Now, comes Wesley J. Smith, with an example I would never have thought of, from his area of expertise, euthanasia. The “right to die,” means a person’s ”choice” to die is just as ethically valid as the choice to live under difficult circumstances. He quotes this report from the Netherlands:
A priest in the parish of Liempde in North Brabant refused to conduct the funeral of a man who had chosen euthanasia, news agency ANP reports. Norbert van der Sluis said he was following the advice of bishops that people who choose euthanasia have no right to a church funeral. ‘Nor will my conscience allow me to have a colleague conduct the funeral in my church,’ he told ANP. The church council is so concerned at the refusal it has stopped a campaign for the repair of the church organ and is demanding an apology from Van der Sluis.
That will teach him to follow his faith. Let the organ stay off key!
Refusing a funeral wouldn’t be my preference, but it was the priest’s, and doesn’t his conscience deserve at least equal respect to that of the decedent’s to receive doctor-injected death? Here’s the bottom line: All of this talk of “choice” in the culture of death is just talk. It is really about enforced moral conformity. (my emphasis)
Exactly so. Unfortunately, in this case, it is the priest’s own community giving him a hard time.