Interview Questions and Answers
1.What religious organization are you affiliated with?
I am an ordained minister with the Centers for Spiritual Living out of Colorado. I have the title of “Reverend” but use “Pastor” because I take care of the spiritual needs of other people, whatever that may be. 2.How long have you been a pastor?
3.How do you feel about Euthanasia?
I feel it is a person’s choice and it is different than suicide. It has to be well thought out and talked about with a team of people involved including physicians, psychologists, and family. I also think it is based more on the person’s quality of life and their decision or choice should be honored. It’s not the same as suicide caused by a mental illness. This is not a well thought out plan and does not occur with a team of people. 4.Do you feel it is right or wrong in the eyes of God?
I don’t feel it has anything to do with a deity and God is not a judgmental God who would cast someone away based on this decision. 5.Do you feel it is a person’s right to choose death over life? Yes I do. I feel that many times people make this choice on a subconscious level. Think about the old married couple of 50 years and when one spouse dies, the other follows. I believe the mind is a powerful thing and people can will themselves to live or die. 6.Do you feel that family should have the right to choose if a patient is unable like in the Terri Schiavo case? The problem I have with that case is that they starved her to death. I don’t feel you should purposely end someone’s life in this manner. If the husband didn’t want to be married to her, I am sure the court would have granted him a divorce and her parents could have taken custody of her. I just think it is wrong to starve someone to death.
7.How long do you think a family should wait to make the choice to allow someone to die? I don’t think there is a time limit. Every situation is different. Every case is individualized. People should be given every possible chance to live before a choice is made to die. 8.Do you think age matters? Would someone who is 80 been more acceptable than someone who is 20? No I don’t believe age should matter. If I had a family come to me to talk about ending a loved one’s life, I would counsel them about the means they would take to purposefully end life. Life is precious and there is a difference to purposefully ending it and not taking extraordinary measures to save someone no matter what age they are. 9.Do you feel there should be laws in place or that the courts should have the right to decide someone’s fate? I do believe laws are necessary and the courts should uphold the laws.
I also believe that if the person has a living will that clearly states no extraordinary measures including life sustaining treatments, then the court should honor that person’s wishes. 10.What are the 3 main factors that should be in place before the decision to end life should be made by either the patient or their family? First and foremost should be their quality of life. If they are brain dead and no chance of survival or are hooked to machines for life support, they have no quality of life. The second is that there needs to be well thought out decision made between all parties involved as well as all information given to the patient and the family about all options available. Finally, if the person has a living will and are in a coma, the living will should be honored and if the person is able to make the decision and are conscious and of sound mind, the patient’s right to choose should be honored.
Summary of Interview
Pastor Mike has been an ordained minister for the past 11 years with the Center of Spiritual Living of Colorado Springs which is a derivative of Christian Science. During the interview, Pastor Mike waivered somewhat about his beliefs on the subject of voluntary or assisted suicide. He feels that it is patient choice but is only acceptable once the patient has been educated by a team of healthcare providers and has discussed the decision with not only physicians and psychiatric professionals, but with family as well. He feels that it is different than suicide in that the person has made a clear decision and has a well thought out plan. He feels that suicide is caused by mental illness and the person takes their life without being counseled by physicians and psychiatrist.
Pastor Mike had a difficult time with the concept of starving someone to death as in the case of Terri Schiavo. He feels this is inhumane and purposefully causing someone to die without them being able to make the choice. He recognizes the importance of a living will and feels that the living will should be honored regardless of what the family would want. In the event the person is conscious and able to make their wishes known, he feels their wishes should be honored. He lists the 3 most important factors to consider are quality of life, a well thought out decision, and the known wishes of the patient. The feeling I got from Pastor Mike’s interview responses was that he agrees with a patient’s right to choose and has a more difficult time with allowing family to choose.
While he agrees there should be laws in place and the courts should uphold the laws, he feels it is more important that knowing the person’s wishes is the only way it is acceptable to end their life. Without a living will in place, the decision to stop treatment lands on the family and no one has a true knowledge of what the person would want. Pastor Mike also expressed a strong belief that the mind can will the body to live or die and feels that if a person in an unconscious state doesn’t want to live, they can will themselves to not go on. The Center for Spiritual Living believes that the soul’s journey is eternal and that choice is better than no choice (Center for Spiritual Living, 2015).
Center for Spiritual Living. (2015). About Us. Retrieved from Center for Spiritual Living of Colarado Springs: http://cslcs.org/about-us/about-us-2/