The headlines of two Associated Press stories today summarize the story best: "Dutch Law Ends Euthanasia Debate," "Dutch Euthanasia Law Still Debated." With a 46-28 vote last night, the Dutch Senate passed a law allowing those "suffering unbearabl[y]" with "no prospect of improvement" to commit suicide, and making doctors who help with the procedure immune from prosecution. There are a number of "ifs" and "buts" in the law, but many are worried that these will be ignored—just as many doctors have for years ignored Dutch laws prohibiting assisted suicide (more than half of Dutch doctors say they've been involved in a "mercy killing"). "About 10,000 euthanasia opponents surrounded the building, praying, singing hymns, and quoting from the Bible" during the vote, reports the Associated Press. As The Guardian notes, that wasn't enough: only 8 percent of the Dutch population is fiercely opposed to euthanasia. Still, there are signs of hope. An editorial in the Amsterdam daily newspaper Trouw noted that public opinion still hadn't reached a consensus, and that being the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia "is nothing to be proud of." (For more of Christianity Today's perspective, see our earlier editorial about euthanasia's gains, and Weblog's earlier coverage of the Netherlands' euthanasia bill. For the latest news and opinion about the bill, see Yahoo's full coverage area on assisted suicide.)
Three-quarters of Americans support Bush's faith-based initiative. Or do they? "While the public expresses strong support for the idea of faith-based groups receiving government funding to provide social services, in practice, it has many reservations." So reports ...1
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