Friday, June 17, 2011
When is Life Life?
I was reading a post on the Bones, about George and Diane, a Brighton couple, in my parish, who have just been made homeless by the local authority. The latest episode is they have been locked out of the home, seperated from Diane's medicines, which she needs, and from their mobile phone, which them is their main contact with the world. They have been offered housing in Brighton's "Crack Central" a seafront hostel for drug users, which isn't that helpful considering Diane's mental health and previous drug problems, as a result she is having a breakdown.
For me it raises lots of ethical issues. Some societies decided on "Life" on an age basis after conception or birth, other societies based it on class or race, wealth or intelligence or some other factor. Geneticists like Marie Stopes and Julian Huxley led campaigns that tried to implement laws that would remove the right to life of various groups such as the "the Negro races", "the feeble minded", the poor, the indigent, the sickly and in the case of Stopes, the short-sighted! In Germany the horror of this type of thinking was the basis of the Nazi regime's policies of euthanasia but the sterilisation of the poor and the feeble-minded took place elsewhere, notably in the the US. Geneticists want to grade human beings according to some criteria, tied into this are those who push for euthanasia, I have sympathy with those who decide their own life is a burden but it opens the door so easily to those who might decide someone else's life is a burden or not worth living.
From there Pandora's box is open and departing from there we end up in a total mess. All life human is sacred is the only answer.
In the case of George and Diana and so many "challenging" people like them, it strikes me that they are being treated as though they are less than human, a problem to be dealt with, a source of irritation for the community. They are being forced out of their home, thrown onto the streets and housed in place they consider physically, morally or psychologically dangerous. Is there a trait within all of us that tends towards grading human beings in some way, seeing them than less human and therefore able to be deprived of human dignity.
For Catholics, ALL human life is sacred, from conception to the grave but also from the poorest to the most wealthy, the most sinful to the most holy, the most mentally feeble to the brightest, including the most immoral, the most deviant, the most depraved, the most etc etc etc.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake