Michigans Proposal B – A Dissenters Brief – Part II

by Fr. Charles Irvin

September 1998



It is important to consider what has followed from the first arguments for legal abortions to the situation we have today. Those of you who are as old or older than I am will remember the first arguments all had to do with compassion and mercy for few poor, trapped and suffering women who desperately needed abortions in a few rare instances. What began as a legal argument for a few poor women has now blossomed into a raging public policy debate revolving around the cry for “Abortion on Demand” any time, for anyone. Is there any reason to think that a parallel development will not occur with respect to the arguments for compassion and mercy for a few, suffering persons who are dying and who desperately need assisted suicide in order to end their misery? What will begin from a few isolated cases of mercy-killing will end with killing on demand, just as permissible abortion for a few isolated cases involving trapped, poor women has ended with abortion on demand.

We need to remember the old truism “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” Which brings me to conclude my remarks with the observation that centuries upon centuries of human living have not produced the cries for euthanasia presently ringing in our ears. One can see why. Human wisdom tells us that euthanasia is a dangerous licensing of yet another form to taking human life.

Americans throughout these United States are watching how we vote here in Michigan this November. Concerned citizens in every other jurisdiction of these United States will take their cue from what we do here in Michigan. We, as Catholics, are graced by God with the opportunity to save America’s soul. This is another one of those “Catholic Moments” when we can serve our fellow citizens by unequivocally calling us as a nation to pledge our allegiance to the God who gave us rights and endowed us with the right to a life that serves Him in His love and care for us all, and to serve Him in true compassion instead of eliminating the need for compassion by eliminating those among us who are suffering. Will the Great State of Michigan, a state which from its beginning and throughout its history has never allowed the death penalty, now become the suicide state for anyone wishing to be put to death? What a degradation that would be.

We must recall that it was no accident that Adolph Hitler and his Nazis were the first to raise euthanasia to the level of legal principle and thence to public policy. His regime was the quintessential Culture of Death, a culture that grew out of notions of developing a race of super men and women, free from all defect, free from all infirmity, free from all that would limit us. Cried Nietzsche: “God is dead”. It was necessary to declare God to be dead in order for Man to climb into His throne and take over the management of the universe, including human life itself in a Triumph of Darkness.

Are Nietzsche and his protégée, Adolph Hitler dead? Quite! And God appears to be still very much alive. But Nietzsche’s ideas are alive and well, prospering right here in America and in our own Culture of Death. Hopefully our legal and political leaders will have enough grasp of human history and clearly recognize the lust in our human hearts to usurp God and decide for ourselves who will be born and who will die. For while we may lust for that power, we must remember that there is a vast difference between lust and love. And it is only love that will save us from ourselves.