German church leader distances herself from assisted suicide


Central Europe


Photo Unsplash, Towfiqu barbhuiya

Assisted suicide is not an expression of freedom and should not be seen as an equal alternative to life. That is the opinion of Annette Kurschus, the president of the council of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD).

Kurschus said so during a Synod meeting in Bielefeld this week, Idea reports. The church leaders of the EKD are debating whether assisted suicide should be permitted in church and diaconal institutions.

In February 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany ruled to decriminalise the “commercial promotion of suicide”. The judge said that people have a right to a self-determined death and the freedom to be helped by others.

Annette Kurschus, president EKD Council. Photo AFP, Oliver Berg

Kurschus “doubts that the tragedy and hardship, the emptiness and despair that drives a person to a deep desire to end life can actually be placed under the beautiful and grand heading of freedom. Who no longer wants to live, was in his need mostly also deeply unfree.”

Even though her opinion is that the church should commit itself to life, Kurschus calls on churches to deal with the issue of assisted suicide sensitively. She requests congregations not to condemn anyone who wishes to commit suicide, as these people are in “situations of great suffering and persistent hopelessness.”

The discussion about assisted suicide (and the related issue of euthanasia) in Germany is much more sensitive than in neighbour countries. This has to do with the German Nazi history. But it is clear that assisted dying is getting more accepted in Germany as well.



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