Churches should raise their voice against assisted suicide, German professor says


Central Europe


The First Senate of the German Federal Constitutional Court. Photo AFP, Uli Deck

Given the legalisation of assisted suicide approved by the German Constitutional Court, churches should clarify that such a practice is out of the question.

That is the opinion of Prof. Christian Hillgruber, a constitutional law professor from Bonn, at this year's national conference of the association "Christ und Jurist" (Christian and legal expert) in the southern German city of Augsburg. Hillgruber warned the churches "in the act of self-secularisation" against making "offers of assisted suicide in their institutions", writes the German protestant news agency IDEA.

In contrast to pure "assisted dying", Christians are not allowed to participate in assisted suicide, Hillgruber says. "Christians must be the thorn in the flesh and the salt of the earth on this very point and not become stale." It is not their role to act as "schoolmasters and teachers", but they must also not deny their point of view or remain silent about the further developments that are becoming apparent and "shrug their shoulders". Instead, they must "intervene without being asked and articulate dissent in word and deed", the law professor states. Christians should have something to say about "the fact that and how our lives are in God's hands".

The background of Hillgruber's speech is the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court in February 2020 to overturn the ban on assisted suicide introduced in 2015. In Germany, the topic of euthanasia is still susceptible because of its past. During the Second World War, the Nazis used euthanasia to kill disabled people and others.

There are currently several draft laws on the reorganisation of assisted suicide. Hillgruber fears a "social normalisation" of assisted suicide.



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