Euthanasia, though illegal in Australia, is a hotly contested issue which religious groups have frequently weighed in on. Conservative churches have voiced their opposition to decriminalising euthanasia, claiming the right to give and take life belongs to God alone. Other Christian groups, such as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia, support euthanasia as providing compassionate, dignified death for the terminally ill. The Australian population largely supports voluntary euthanasia, with 85% in favour of it. How does this compare to the opinions of church attenders? About half of church attenders either disagreed (25%) or strongly disagreed (25%) that people suffering from a terminal illness should be able to ask a doctor to end their life (see Figure 1). Only 24% of church attenders showed support for euthanasia. This shows a great departure from national trends. More than a quarter of attenders indicated they were unsure about this issue, highlighting the complex moral implications of euthanasia.
Authors: Miriam Pepper, Ruth Powell, Nicole Hancock
Hancock, N., Pepper, M., & Powell, R. (2014). Attitudes to euthanasia, NCLS Research Fact Sheet 14011. Sydney: NCLS Research.