On November 8, 1994 the United States became the first place in the world to legalize euthanasia when Oregon passed an initiative allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to someone wanting to commit suicide. California just barely defeated the euthanasia initiative (161) in 1992. June 26, 1997 the United States Supreme Court made the decision that it is up to each individual State to determine whether or not to ban assisted suicide, rather than making euthanasia illegal once and for all. Many such state initiatives and legislation now can come up for a vote and attempt to legalize euthanasia or assisted-suicide throughout the United States.
Due to these uncertain times, the Scholl Institute of Bioethics has been working on material that can be used in churches to educate the Christian community. The Bible study, "A Christian Response to Euthanasia", is the result of this effort. The packet has several parts.
- The first 4 parts include the four sessions of the Bible study itself. Each session is introduced by a segment of the video "The Right to Kill". Each session has hand out sheets to be copied. These are in plastic protection covers. Each session has detailed instructions for the leader. These lessons are user friendly. This Bible study could be used in a 45/60 minute Sunday School class, at a home Bible study, or other special gatherings.
- The video, "The Right to Kill", is one hour long. It is a unique and very informative video on euthanasia. Portions of the video were produced in Holland and England. Segments of the video will be used for the Bible Studies. The full length video can be used as a training tool enabling the leader to obtain additional information. The full length video adapts well as the center piece for a longer program such as a special evening service, Sunday evening service, or other meeting. A special speaker could accompany the video such as someone from hospice or someone with a special testimony after making sure of his or her stance on euthanasia.
- Supplemental material is included to help further educate the leader and others. The pamphlet "Mercy Killers" gives an excellent historical overview of euthanasia with an updated 1980's-1990's section on the last two pages. This is available to purchase.
- Samples of brochures and reference sheets are included. Additional material may be ordered.
- A part covering children's material is included because it is important that children not fear death but have the Christian perspective.
- The Scripture sheets on suffering and euthanasia are provided as further information, to be copied if desired and used. They could be a source for someone to use when a loved one is suffering.
- Most important is the information on advanced directives and the sample directive (Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care). Please make all efforts for your class to fill-out such an advanced directive (DPA) instead of the "Living Will".
- The "Emergency Life Alert - Principles Governing Medical Treatment" with place for identification and personal information (wallet card) is included. Sample card will be in the plastic sheet protector with additional brochures after Section 4. You may want to order one per student ahead of time. Cost is approximately $.05 per card. They can be ordered from Scholl Institute of Bioethics, see address below.
Thank you for introducing your class to this very important current issue. This study could change their lives!
If you have further questions, please contact:
Molly Grace Israel, RN, BSN
President, Scholl Institute of Bioethics
2606 1/2 West 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057
626-574-7123 (phone or fax)
or 213-382-4113 (for ordering additional supplies)
E-Mail: [email protected]
President, Crusade for Life
E-Mail: [email protected]
WHAT IS THE COURSE ABOUT?
"Mercy Killing" - (euthanasia) Many call it the moral issue of the 90s and if current trends continue, it promises to retain that title for the 2000s as well.
Coma, inoperable cancer, Alzheimer's disease, severely handicapped newborns - many Christians have faced these circumstances in their lives. How, in the face of such crisis and grief, do we respond? Even if we never face these agonizing issues personally, do we still have a responsibility as Christians to take a stand. We do!
"I'm concerned about the growing euthanasia movement but I don't know what to do about it? Nothing is clear; everything seems to be a gray area. Even the experts can't agree. How could I presume to have anything to say about it?" As Christians we do have something to say about it. As long as the new technology and judgments regarding life issues remain clouded and are left to the judgment of the "experts," these judgments go uncontrolled by public opinion. You are probably embarking on one of the most informative and eye-opening studies that you will ever conduct.
The course was designed to help Christians:
Gain an understanding of God's word on euthanasia.
Establish Christian values regarding the care of sick and dying persons.
Apply Christian principles to real life treatment decisions.
Be alert to the dangers of legalizing euthanasia and what actions they can take to protect their loved ones with pro-life advanced directives instead of the Living Will.
HOW DOES THE COURSE WORK?
The Bible study, "A Christian Response to Euthanasia", can be used in a variety of religious educational settings. The course is organized into four sessions. Each session should take about sixty minutes, although you can expand or compress the sessions as you see fit. Each session is based clearly established biblical objectives and provides step-by-step directions for beginning, developing, and closing the session. The faith and prayers of the leader and students is what will make the Bible Study special.
Each session opens with viewing of the video "The Right to Kill" which will enhance the learning process. This is followed with discussion questions, session exercises, and closing prayer. Your goals as the leader are to a) launch a discussion on the subject b) focus the discussion on Scripture passages c) invite and aid in summarizing each session bringing immediacy and concreteness to the issue with suggestions for life application.
NOTE: This Bible Study was produced using only selected segments of the video "The Right to Kill" so it would fit into a workable timetable for a Bible Study program. Pastors may elect to show the entire video to their congregations at a special service.
Acquaint yourself with all of the study course materials: video, hand-outs and study guide. As you review the material pray about what you have read and viewed. Ask the Lord to guide you in your preparation and leadership. Be open to creative ideas that you may have received during prayer time. Think about those who will be attending and how you can convey the information to them in a way that will be easy to understand. Your own prayers for direction and your prayers for class members will enrich the course.
- Invitation to Attend
Prior to the date you plan to start the session, announce the series in your church bulletin and/or newsletter. Depending on what funds are available you may want to ask your pastor if he would write a personal letter of invitation to each member of the church. You may even consider inviting other congregations or family groups to attend. Just be sure you ask for an R.S.V.P. so you can plan accordingly.
- Child Care
You may want to organize some type of baby-sitting arrangements especially if the class is in the evening, this way you are sure to include families with children.
You will need to secure a television and VCR. If your church does not own this equipment they are available for rent at local video stores. If your class size goes over 35 you should try to locate a large screen television so that everyone can see the screen. Have video ready for segment to be used in that session.
- Student Notes
Handouts have been provided for you in camera-ready format so that you can simply photocopy the original for each student. Always make extras for those who may attend at the last minute or who forgot to R.S.V.P. It is a good idea to hand out student notes just before the discussion time. If you hand them out too early they may spend the time reviewing the material instead of participating in the class. Extra copies of supplemental material could be ready such as the scripture sheets on euthanasia and suffering, and definition sheet for those who are interested.
- Sign-In Sheet
You may want to have a sign-in sheet, especially if you have extended an invitation to other churches.
Refreshments are a symbol of fellowship. Plan to have fellowship/refreshment time at the end of each session so those who have to leave early can do so without missing any of the lesson.
- Name Tags
Be sure to provide name tags especially if other churches and groups have been invited.
One suggestion is an up front cost of $5.00 which would cover the expense of the Durable Power of Attorney in Session 4, a copy of The Mercy Killers from Crusade For Life, the wallet card and the handouts. If this is not practical you might let the class know there are more materials available to be ordered individually.
This Bible study is reprinted in its entirety with
permission of Scholl Institute of Bioethics
Crusade for Life
To order this Bible Study,
complete with the video "The Right to Kill"
and Supplemental Material: