Deathly halo

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I don’t understand how Richard Lucas (Letters, 4 December) reaches the conclusion from my letter of 3 December that the ­National Secular Society (NSS) “indulges in the anti-religious sentiments of its members”.

I realise he may not like me pointing out that there are atheists, secularists and religious leaders who are in agreement on the assisted dying issue, and that some Christians disagree with his view. The NSS is indeed against religious privilege, but we are also against religious positions being applied to everyone, believer or not, and the religious beliefs of a few dictating the life (and death) choices of those who do not share that faith.

This is not anti-religious sentiment. It simply means we object to the bias in the argument towards the religious ethics of one sect being forced on those who don’t share them. It says much of Mr Lucas’s position that he cannot grasp this distinction.

If a law is passed on assisted dying, then religious believers who disagree with it will be free not to take advantage of it.

Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

Atholl Crescent


Purporting to refute the charge that opponents of assisted suicide – and it is voluntary assisted suicide that is under consideration, something Richard Lucas does not mention – are “eager to have pain and suffering prolonged unnecessarily”, Mr Lucas writes: “It’s just that they don’t want to cross the line into actually killing people and helping people to kill themselves.”

In other words, they prefer to see people linger against their will in terminal suffering rather than support a system that would assist those who want it to bring about their death sooner rather than later. Why this preference should not be regarded as a manifestation of cruelty, I do not know. He may say that in his opposition he is merely following God’s will, but in that case his God is cruel, too.

Paul Brownsey

Larchfield Road