Matthew was 11 years old. He suffered from cerebral palsy and had to be fed through a tube inserted into his stomach. Last October, Matthew was found lying in his bed. He was dead.   An autopsy found his death to be the result of natural causes. But several months later, Matthew's mother admitted she had killed him. She had simply stopped feeding him.   And let him starve to death.   It all started when Matthew's mother saw a program on television about euthanasia. "In this program, they starved the people to death," she told police. "The parents would stop feeding their children."   Matthew's mother couldn't get the idea out of her mind. "I knew it was wrong," she said, "but I thought it was the humane thing to do. Matthew suffered a lot."   Well, Matthew was to suffer a great deal more. Because starvation is not a pleasant way to die. His mother started out just missing an occasional feeding. Within a few months, she was administering only one per day. Then she quit feeding him altogether on the weekends.   Three weeks later, Matthew died.   Matthew's mother has been charged with murder. But what about the parents on that television show? And how many other Americans have bought the idea of mercy killing?   Well, we'll soon see. This November, the citizens of Washington state will vote on an initiative to establish euthanasia on demand as a fundamental human right. Initial polls indicate that the public supports the bill. If it passes, Washington state will become the only place in the world where it is legal to kill the old and the sick.   It will be done only with the best of motives, of course. Or so we're told. Matthew's mother insists in one breath that she acted out of humane motives, to stop Matthew's suffering. But in the next breath, she admits she killed him because it was so hard to care for him along with all her other family responsibilities.   "I knew I was doing wrong," she told police, "but the pressure of the family got to me."   The sad thing is that this young mother, weighed down with the demanding task of caring for a handicapped child, allowed television to lull her into doing something she knew was wrong. Her moral convictions were so weak, she could be talked out of them by, of all things, a television show.   It's pathetic. But I wonder--how many other Americans are just like her? They may have traces of a Christian ethic but they no longer have a Christian world view to support it. They no longer know why certain actions are right or wrong.   And so they're vulnerable to any tear-jerker argument that comes along, even when it goes against their own sense of right and wrong.   No matter where you live, you ought to be speaking out against the euthanasia bill in Washington. Because if you don't, the issue will be coming to your state next. And yet, it's not enough to denounce what is wrong. We also have develop a Christian world view that explains why it is wrong. We need the language to explain to our non-Christian neighbors why they should stand against things like euthanasia. And we need to give them positive reasons for shouldering the difficult tasks of life.   Like taking care of the little Matthews of this world.


Chuck Colson



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