Assisted Suicide: the Musical

ChelseaAssisted Suicide, Death, Disabled2 Comments

You may recall that a few years ago Clint Eastwood dramatized the life of a female boxer who becomes paralyzed and seeks suicide help from her trainer. The latest attempt to disparage the lives of disabled people and promote assisted suicide through popular culture comes from India where a similar film opened this weekend. In this film the main character is a magician, Ethan, who, after living with a high level spinal cord injury for 14 years, decides he’s had enough and launches a court battle for the “right” to end his life. Oh, and it’s a musical, too. Note that both of these movies – one of which was rewarded with every major Academy Award in 2005 – are about assisted suicide for the disabled, not the terminally ill or dying.

The website for the Indian film, Guzaarish (The Request), describes its main character and his plight thus:

Motionless as the cracked walls around him, turbulent as the secretive waters beyond his windows, this is a man confined to his bed for the last fourteen years. And he still manages to move everybody. Potent and powerful, magic surrounds him at every moment. A razor sharp mind, biting, abrasive wit, frightening vulnerability and a heart full of hope, this horizontal warrior is now fighting for his release. Life has had its chance. A magician’s biggest triumph is engineering his exit from stage into vaporous nothingness. This exit is now the biggest challenge of Ethan’s life.

It is a tale of “true courage and true love,” says the director. Courage? Really? Since when is quitting on life considered courage??? h/t BioEdge

FE BillboardMuch like the pro-abortion movement, the campaign for legal assisted suicide is all about “choice” and radical self-autonomy. Again, on the website, Guzaarish’s “hero” is said to be fighting for the “most basic right that every human being is entitled to, the right to his own life” (uh, actually he’s fighting for the right to END his own life). Similarly, earlier this year the Final Exit Network launched a billboard campaign with the slogan “My Life. My Death. My Choice.” Gee, that sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

Every time I hear people talk about my life, my body, my choice, Gianna Jessen’s words ring in my ear, “the arrogance…don’t you realize that you cannot make your own heart beat?’  I can’t count how many times I have repeated that phrase of hers in my talks and writings lately…but it’s true! And it represents largely what drives the culture of death…human pride. I am reminded of something of Fr. Neuhaus said in his book “Death on a Friday Afternoon”

“Many cite Shakespeare: ‘This above all, to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not be false to any man.’ But they forget, or never knew, that Shakespeare intended Polonius to be the fool of Hamlet’s tragedy.”

Indeed. We are a “self” obsessed society. One must “find” oneself and be “true to” oneself or one’s own selfish desires, even if they are at odds with the Church, natural law and basic morality. But, here is the real Truth of our selves:

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

And here, I suggest, is a better “motto” to strive to live by:

“I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:19-20)

We are not God. We did not bring ourselves into the world and we do not have authority to take ourselves out. Our lives are a free gift from a God who gave himself up unto death out of love for us and in Whose will alone lies our true happiness and freedom. See: The Way to True Freedom

2 Comments on “Assisted Suicide: the Musical”

  1. Gina

    What a fantastic post! Such a basic concept, not sure why its not more widely understood. The billboard’s slogan reminds me of a 2 year old, “Mine, mine, mine!” I just DVR’d “Million Dollar Baby” but haven’t watched it yet…can’t say I really want to now. I honestly didn’t know what it was really about. I’ve enjoyed Mr. Eastwood’s work throughout the years so I’m so disappointed in him for doing a film on such a horrible topic. I’m hoping the young boxer was unsuccessful in her attempt to end her own life…but I’m guessing not.

  2. Chelsea

    Gina – don’t bother. I will spoil it for you: Her trainer, who I believe is portrayed as a daily Mass goer, goes through a moral tug of war over her request – even talking to a priest, and ends up helping her kill herself in the end. I never watched it, either.

    I really liked Gran Torino and thought he did a very nice job with that one, morally speaking. I have no interest in seeing his latest project, Hereafter. Fr. Robert Barron talks about it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_8oWAkmybU

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