Faith leaders set out opposition to assisted dying Bill at Holyrood

The Bill would allow competent terminally ill adults to request assistance to end their lives.

Faith leaders set out opposition to proposed assisted dying Bill at Holyrood iStock

Faith leaders will hold a meeting at Holyrood to voice their deep-seated opposition to proposals which would allow assisted dying in Scotland.

Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur’s Member’s Bill would allow competent terminally ill adults to request assistance to end their lives.

On Thursday, leaders from the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church and the Scottish Association of Mosques will speak at an event held at the Scottish Parliament.

They have issued a joint statement on the issue, signed by Kirk moderator Rev Iain Greenshields, Bishop of Paisley John Keenan and Imam Sheykh Hamza Khandwalla of Dundee Central Mosque.

The statement said: “This Bill would make it legal, in certain circumstances, to help people to commit suicide.

“Our faith traditions are united in the principle that assisted dying in itself inevitably undermines the dignity of the human person, and to allow it would mean that our society as a whole loses its common humanity.

“The Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, and the Scottish Association of Mosques remain firm in their opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia.”

Rev Iain Greenshields to speak in opposition to  the BillChurch of Scotland

The event at Holyrood will be hosted by the think tank Logos Scotland.

Last year, McArthur won the right to introduce his Bill to Parliament and it is currently being drafted.

He has said the public are behind the proposals to offer people more choice at the end of their life and the Bill will be “safe, robust, and compassionate”.

The faith leaders emphasised the sanctity placed upon life in their respective religious traditions.

Rev Greenshields said: “Our opposition to assisted dying is based on our Christian faith, and involves concerns around the principle of assisted dying, around the application of the law in practice, the perception of the value of human lives, and also the effect which any change is likely to have on the provision of care – in particular, on palliative care.”

Bishop Keenan added: “Assisted suicide attacks human dignity and results in human life being increasingly valued on the basis of its efficiency and utility.

“Implicit in legal assisted suicide is that an individual can lose their value and worth.”

Imam Khandwalla said: “The assisted dying Bill, if enacted, will undermine the sanctity of life and have profound implications for our society.

“Muslims believe life is a divine gift and is given as a sacred trust.

“As such, we have a collective responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, including the elderly and the terminally ill.

“From the experiences of other countries where physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia is legal, we know these groups can be susceptible to the suggestion of ending their life prematurely, or even coercion.”