A group of more than 60 religious leaders, representing more than 20 Christian denominations as well as other religions, gathered at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston Oct. 9 to discuss ways faith groups can work together to oppose the November ballot question to legalize physician assisted suicide in Massachusetts. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy
"Who should call a shot or make a decision on somebody else's life? That's not fair. So, I think morally we need to stand together and unify ourselves and recognize that to say 'No' is the only rational and best thing to do for everybody involved," he said.
He said in his ministry he has observed inconsistency in six-months-to-live diagnoses offered by physicians -- a stipulation presented in the wording of the bill concerning patient access to life ending drugs.
"I have known people that I have worked with that were terminally ill, and the doctor said they only had six months or even less to live, but they are still living to this very day. So, we can't try to put ourselves before God or in the place of God and disrespect the process of life," he said.
Director of communications and past president of the Islamic Center of Boston, Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal worked as a physician for just over 47 years and said the idea of suicide is antithetical to the basic principles of his training as a physician and the tenets of Islam.
"Suicide and Islam are not compatible, and certainly, in that sort of thinking, physician assisted suicide is no better," he said.
Metropolitan Methodios said he admired the unity displayed by the religious leaders.
"I was very pleased with the response, first the people that came, the diversity of the people that came. There weren't just Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants, but brethren of other faiths that were here," Metropolitan Methodios said.
"I was thankful to God for the unanimity of spirit that was shown and that everyone contributed to the meeting," he said.
Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley used the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola to describe the struggle of people of faith against physician assisted suicide.
"We must pray as if everything depended upon God, and work as if everything depended upon us," he said.
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