In Britain these days, parents of desperately ill children are literally ridiculed for trusting in God’s providence over and above the prognosis of doctors.
In fact, an article recently published in the Journal of Medical Ethics contends that parents “torture” their children by keeping them alive once doctors have pronounced they have no chance of recovery.
In the increasingly secularized climate of Britain, faith plays a smaller and smaller role in the daily lives of many. Like the Enlightenment all over again, God has been replaced by science and an exalted view of man’s reasoning capabilities.
The doctors cited in the article are even pushing “for an overhaul of the legal system to reduce the weight given to parents’ religious beliefs in such situations.”
In other words, they seek a situation where science has the force of law over faith.
The major contention for the doctors results from parents’ hope for miracles:
While it is vital to support families in such difficult times, we are increasingly concerned that deeply held belief in religion can lead to children being potentially subjected to burdensome care in expectation of “miraculous intervention.” In many cases, the children about whom the decisions are being made are too young to subscribe to the religious beliefs held by their parents, yet we continue to respect the parents’ beliefs.
Respect? Whatever happened to “mother knows best”?
The doctors’ efforts, if successful, will literally take the power of decisions pertaining to life and death away from parents.
And if the chances of that occurring seem farfetched, please keep in mind that as recently as August 10th a justice in London ruled that life-support could be removed from an eight-year-old boy over the family’s objections. Although both parents and the boy’s sister begged the court for a different decision and stressed their conviction that God could still spare the child, the justice ruled that hope for the boy’s recovery were “futile.”
It would appear that as God has been pushed further and further onto the fringes of British society, others have stepped in to take His place.
Therefore, the idea of a final authority has not been rejected. Rather, some doctors have decided they are that authority. And the children are the worse for it.