Euthanasia and divorce

Essay by i-am-samHigh School, 12th gradeB+, November 2007

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Good morning teachers and fellow students.

This morning I am going to talk about two significant and sometimes controversial social issues facing Australians today - Euthanasia and divorce. As a relatively young country that encouraged immigration throughout the twentieth Century, Australia today is a nation that embraces a large range of religious traditions, faiths and belief systems.

It is therefore important to understand how these different religions of Australia respond to and deal with these social issues. In my speech, I will share with you the views of three major religious traditions in Australia - Judaism, Buddhism and Christianity.

Euthanasia is the act of causing a painless death to end suffering, especially in terminal illness. There are two types of Euthanasia: The first is active euthanasia, where the doctor or caregiver gives the patient a lethal injection so as to actively end the patient's life.

The second type of euthanasia is passive euthanasia and involves the withholding of medication to fight the disease.

Passive euthanasia is legal in Australian states while active euthanasia is not. Active Euthanasia was legal in the Northern Territory for nine months from July 1996 to March 1997.

Buddhism in Australia is an autonomous church. There is no hierarchy and no pronouncements are made on social issues. Guidance for Australian Buddhists comes from the precepts. The first Buddhist precept or moral guideline states: 'I undertake the training to refrain from destroying life'. Basically this is interpreted by Buddhists as a refusal of active euthanasia.

Passive euthanasia is accepted by the Buddhist community but palliative care groups are neither encouraged nor discouraged. The independent nature of Buddhism in Australia means that the Buddhist Church has no official view other than the moral view, guided by the precepts, of its followers.

Judaism is very explicit when addressing the...