With emotions running high after the broadcast last night of Terry Pratchett’s documentary on assisted dying, the leader of an evangelical Christian group has likened the practice to the Nazi Holocaust.
In a blog post which claims to outline “twenty facts we did not learn” from BBC film Choosing to Die, chair of the Christian Medical Fellowship, Peter Saunders, invokes the mass murder of six million Jews, gypsies and homosexuals to imply that any act of euthanasia will lead inevitably to the mass killings of unwanted persons:
The Nazi holocaust began in 1939 with the killing of 6,000 disabled children and 70,000 patients in geriatric and psychiatric institutions. Leo Alexander, a psychiatrist who gave evidence at Nuremberg in 1949 said that ‘its beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and finally all non-Germans.’
The Fellowship has previously courted controversy through its stance against LGBT people as articulated in a number of “medical” articles on its website, such as The Health Risks of Gay Sexual Relationships. This latest episode provides more evidence, as if it were needed, that, even in supposed scientific circles, Godwin’s law is alive and well:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 100%.