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Euthanasia Essay: Moral Considerations in the Debate

Moral Considerations in the Euthanasia Debate

The Judeo-Christian moral tradition celebrates life as the gift of a loving God, and respects the life of each human being because each is made in the image and likeness of God. As Christians we also believe we are redeemed by Christ and called to share eternal life with Him. Our Church views life as a sacred trust, a gift over which we are given stewardship and not absolute dominion. The Church thus opposes all direct attacks on innocent life. As conscientious stewards we have a duty to preserve life, while recognizing certain limits to that duty:

Because human life is the foundation for all other human goods, it has a special value and significance. Life is “the first right of the human person” and “the condition of all the others.”[1]

All crimes against life, including “euthanasia or willful suicide,” must be opposed.[2] Euthanasia is “an action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated.” Its terms of reference are to be found “in the intention of the will and in the methods used.”[3] Thus defined, euthanasia is an attack on life which no one has a right to make or request, and which no government or other human authority can legitimately recommend or permit. Although individual guilt may be reduced or absent because of suffering or emotional factors that cloud the conscience, this does not change the objective wrongfulness of the act. It should also be recognized that an apparent plea for death may really be a plea for help and love.

Suffering is a fact of human life, and has special significance for the Christian as an opportunity to share in Christ’s redemptive suffering. Nevertheless there is nothing wrong in trying to relieve someone’s suffering; in fact it is a positive good to do so, as long as one does not intentionally cause death or interfere with other moral and religious duties.[4]

Everyone has the duty to care for his or her own life and health and to seek necessary medical care from others, but this does not mean that all possible remedies must be used in all circumstances. One is not obliged to use either “extraordinary” means or “disproportionate” means of preserving life — that is, means which are understood as offering no reasonable hope of benefit or as involving excessive burdens.

Cause and Effect Essay – Causes of School Violence

The United States is facing an epidemic of seriously violent crimes in middle schools and high schools across the country. At least fifty people have died due to a series of high school shootings. These shooting rampages have occurred across the United States in 13 cities ranging from Pennsylvania to southern Mississippi and to western California. Just when the murder rampages seem to be subsiding, another tragedy occurs. Preventive measures have been taken by the government and school systems. For instance, in 1994, Congress passed the Drug-Free Schools and Community Act, which provides for support of drug and violence prevention programs. However, these programs have not been effective in taming the ferocious dispositions of the particular young kids who have participated in these shooting rampages. Therefore, parents, school officials, and the government are still left wondering what is the cause of the horrific violence and how can they solve the problem.

A widely accepted cause of the murders committed by children is violence in the media. The parents of three students killed at a high school in Padukah, Kentucky filed a $130 million lawsuit against the entertainment industry because they believe that violence in the media inspired the boy, Michael Carneal, who killed their children (“Media”). To some extent, these parents are correct in their assumption. On average, children watch television 16 to 17 hours per week, beginning as early as age 2 (Strasburger 129). Furthermore, when video games are added, some teenagers may spend as many as 35 to 55 hours per week in front of the television set (Straburger 129). Within these many hours of television viewing, there are many violent scenes. The National Television Viole…

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…r: American Description.” Online. Http://www.mental 19 April 1999.

Loos Mary. “Differential Effects Associated with Self-reported Histories of Abuse and Neglect in a College Sample.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 12 (1997): 340-60

Singer, Mark. “Viewing Preferences, Symptoms of Psychological Trauma, and Violent Behaviors Among Children Who Watch Television.” Journal Of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 37 (1998): 1041-8.

Strasburger, Victor. “Children, Adolescents, and the Media: Issues and Solutions.” Pediatrics 103 (1999): 129-55.

Styron, Thomas. “Childhood Attachment and Abuse: Long-term Effects on Adult Attachment, Depression, and Conflict Resolution.” Child Abuse and Neglect 21 1997): 1015-23

Withecomb, Julie. “Causes of Violence in Children.” Journal of Mental Health 6 (1997): 433-42.

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