Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Little Early for Holy Innocents

Anyone familiar with the Liturgical Calendar knows that the Feast of Holy Innocents occurs three days after Christmas on December 28. On this day the recognizes the children killed by the tyrant, Herod, in his attempt to destroy Jesus. For over a decade my church, St. Luke's, has observed this day with a prayer service for the victims of abortion and other forms of oppression. (I blogged about the prayer I wrote for our service here.)

It looks like the tyrants are starting the reenactment a little early this year:

Four times in recent months, Dutch doctors have pumped lethal doses of drugs into newborns they believe are terminally ill, setting off a new phase in a growing European debate over when, if ever, it's acceptable to hasten death for the critically ill.

Few details of the four newborns' deaths have been made public. Official investigations have found that the doctors made appropriate and professional decisions under an experimental policy allowing child euthanasia that's known as the Groningen University Hospital protocol.

But the children's deaths, and the possibility that the protocol will become standard practice throughout the Netherlands, have sparked heated discussion about whether the idea of assisting adults who seek to die should ever be applied to children and others who are incapable of making, or understanding, such a request.


Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12.
Last week's issue of World Magazine contained an interview with Peter Singer, the Princeton professor who is considered the most influential philosopher of the culture of death in America. But even he draws the line at killing children over the age of two.

Mark Roberts seems to have broken this story on the blogosphere and Hugh Hewitt was wondering yesterday why more bloggers haven't picked it up. It looks like more have gotten on board today. Possibly the reason for the lack of outrage is that we have come to expect this sort of degradation and it no longer shocks us. Frankly, I am constantly amazed that such things haven't happened much sooner -- evidence, no doubt, of God's restraining hand in human affairs.

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