Religious figures in the Czech Republic are decrying new legislation aimed to legalize euthanasia in the country, with 18 prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders signing a joint statement against the proposal.
The Catholic priest and theologian Tomaš Halík, Bishop Václav Malý, Rabbi Karol Sidon, and the head of the Islamic Centre in Prague, Vladimír Sáňka, are protesting against the MPs’ proposal to enact assisted suicide and euthanasia.
A group of MPs aims to submit the bill on euthanasia to the Chamber of Deputies in February or March 2020.
It is not the first time religious figures have opposed euthanasia. Previously, the Czech Bishops’ Conference, the Federation of Jewish Communities and the Headquarters of Muslim Communities in the Czech Republic protested against legalizing euthanasia.
Signatories of the states have the support of President Milos Zeman, who previously said that he would never sign the euthanasia law.
“We understand the pain of people who are going through difficult moments dealing with illness, and the emptiness of life and death. Yet we disagree with the proposal to respond to suffering, human loneliness and solitude by ending human life through lethal means,” declares the Joint statement of Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
“We are not in favor of sustaining the lives of the severely ill and dying at all costs. We welcome the possibility, guaranteed by our laws, that patients and their families may refuse further treatment or resuscitation,” concludes the statement.
Signatories point out that the evidence from countries practicing euthanasia shows a steep increase in the number of euthanasia or assisted suicides underwent not only by severely ill people but also by abandoned individuals who have lost their life purpose.
These cases, revealing the crisis of interpersonal relations and severe social problems, need to be addressed in other ways, the signatories added.