World-renowned religious leader Desmond Tutu spoke up in support of assisted suicide in a letter to The Observer
as England debated the controversial issue in light of a bill proposed to legalize the practice.
“I have been fortunate to spend my life working for dignity for the living. Now I wish to apply my mind to the issue of dignity for the dying,” Tutu wrote in a long column. “I revere the sanctity of life — but not at any cost. I confirm I don't want my life prolonged. ... Yes, I think a lot of people would be upset if I said I wanted assisted dying. I would say I wouldn't mind actually.”
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Tutu, who stressed that he prefers the term "assisted dying" over the negative connotations of suicide or euthanasia, called the way his friend Nelson Mandela’s life ended "disgraceful."
“There was that occasion when Madiba (Mandela) was televised with political leaders, President Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. You could see Madiba was not fully there,” Tutu wrote in The Observer. “He did not speak. He was not connecting. My friend was no longer himself. It was an affront to Madiba's dignity.”
Tutu’s words come into the fray of discussion on assisted suicide that shifted recently in England as the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey came out in favor of the option, the Daily Mail reported
The Church of England has adamantly opposed assisted dying in the past, and Archibishop of Canterbury Justin Welby opposed a bill allowing assisted dying that is currently being considered.
Carey’s support of the concept was “profoundly significant,” Lord Falconer, who proposed the bill, told the Mail. “It seemed to me to express views held by very many committed Anglicans. It provided real leadership for the alternative view. He made absolutely clear that there is no Christian reason to oppose assisted suicide,” he told the newspaper. “I respect the views of those who oppose. The significance of the Carey and the Tutu interventions is that there is nothing anti-Christian about supporting assisted dying.”
The proposed bill will be debated in the House of Lords on Friday.
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