According to polls, 75 – 85% of Australians (nationally) think euthanasia should be made legal. We should have some control over the last days of our lives, at least in particular situations. And yet, so far, only Victoria has actually managed to pass a bill.
I learned this today in a podcast called The Signal on the ABC (a very good podcast!). On the podcast they interview Andrew Denton who has started an organization called “Go Gentle Australia” which is pro euthanasia. Denton says that the strongest opposition to euthanasia comes from conservative religious groups, most especially the Catholic Church. He talks about how the church puts forward their viewpoint and how their strategy is just to win each fight and not to worry about whether it pops up again. Each fight is a temporary victory and that is enough to keep the nation where it is.
Mr. Denton is surprised, not that the church are anti euthanasia, but that they are imposing their view on the whole nation, even although nobody is forcing anybody to make use of the availability of legal euthanasia. Catholics will not be forced to euthanase their terminally ill relatives. In fact nobody will legally be allowed to euthanase anybody else at all because that kind of goes against the whole idea. It has to come from the suffering person themselves. If a Catholic person strongly believes they need to suffer under God’s will, that is entirely their decision.
Denton comments that death is one of the most emotional topics humans can discuss and that the church have harnessed this in their interactions with policy makers. He makes a comment that policy makers should be logical, not emotional. I think he feels that as a democracy, it would be logical if the polls spoke louder than the lobbyists.
I have my own fairly strong views about Euthanasia but I have no particular desire to air them here. The reason I am telling you about this podcast is because it is so typical of Australian politics that it is the rich lobbying groups who hold sway, not the voters at large. I disagree with Denton that it is about emotion versus logic. It seems to me it must be about money and nepotism.
Climate Change has been presented logically and dispassionately by climate scientists over the last 50 years. It has been communicated emotionally and in heartfelt pleas from students, parents and concerned citizens. Before the 2019 election, Climate Change was everywhere. It was definitely on the national agenda and the general public was behind climate action in a strong majority. None of this has had much impact. To find the answers as to why, you only need to look at who our politicians are close to and where their campaign money comes from. There are a few articles you can check out which support this statement with regards to climate change.
So that kind of explains the Climate Change conundrum. But I have to admit, I have done a bit of hunting for links between the Catholic Church and our politicians and I can’t find anything obvious. That’s not to say it’s not there. It’s just not obvious from a single night of hunting. But I did find an interesting series of articles on The Conversation about Religion and Politics. It seems that while Australia’s population grows more secular, our politicians grow more religious. It’s an interesting statistic. Why is it happening and what does it mean?