In response to Prof Hugh McLachlan (“Kirk’s views on assisted suicide are unhelpful”, Perspective, 19 December), I would harken back to the image I used previously of muddy waters. This is not a simple issue of rights, but a deeply complex conversation that society needs to have together.
Prof McLachlan posits that “not all things that affect the rest of the public adversely are the proper business of the state to interfere with”.
I would repeat that our concern is for the vulnerable in our society. If preventing the abuse or wrongful ending of the life of a vulnerable human is not the “proper business” of society (or indeed of the church), one is left to wonder what is.
To conflate, as Prof McLachlan does, the torture and execution by crucifixion practiced in 1st-century Rome with the questions faced by contemporary society does little to add to the debate.
To state, as he does, that the ethics around assisted dying are not “contentious or difficult to settle”, and that all we need now concern ourselves with are the practicalities of introducing it, is worrying in the extreme.
Finally, as a Presbyterian, Prof McLachlan will appreciate that church policy on an issue such as assisted dying is determined by the will of the General Assembly; it is part of the genius of the Presbyterian system that, as an individual member of the church, he is perfectly at liberty to “resent” or accept that policy.
(Rev) Sally Foster-Fulton
Church and Society Council
Church of Scotland