Letter to the Editor

'Death With Dignity' revisited

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I will accept Bill Kerstring's apology for misquoting the First Amendment.

He then, however, quotes the preamble of the Declaration of Independence as a statement of opposition to the "Death With Dignity" concept. To pick the one word "life" out of the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is a total misunderstanding of what was intended here.

He should recognize why the document was initially written. The colonies were being ruled by England in a manner totally unjust in the eyes of the colonists. They fled England to escape dictatorial rule of a monarchy, which like most of the European monarchies, were dominated by religious entities. The phrase was intended to mean the colonists should have the right to live their lives in a free society and in that freedom to pursue happiness based on their own governance and beliefs. It goes on to say, the new country will derive its just powers from the consent of the governed.

I further take issue with his statement "for those of the Christian faith, uniting their sufferings with those of the crucified Christ are of inestimable value." In numerous polls it has been determined that 83 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian (Protestant 60 percent, Catholic 23 percent). Your statement assumes that all Christians share your beliefs on this issue.

In looking at reality, this is far from the truth. In surveys of the total population, a resounding 70 percent of Americans support the concept of physician assisted death for people suffering with incurable and painful illness. In addition, Medscape, an online resource for medical professionals indicates that a majority of physicians also support this concept. I fully agree with your right not to embrace the Death With Dignity position and would understand if you chose to die in a natural manner. I cannot, however, agree with having a small percentage of our population dictating laws that obstruct the right of the majority to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Robert Sneitzer

Spirit Lake