Coffee House

By supporting assisted dying, Lord Carey has united Christians against it

12 July 2014

4:30 PM

12 July 2014

4:30 PM

He didn’t mean to, but Lord Carey, the outspoken and unpopular former Archbishop of Canterbury, may just have carried out a minor miracle. By coming out in the Daily Mail in favour of assisted suicide, he has succeeded in bringing together Christians of all denominations and political persuasions to oppose him. Trendy evangelicals, Catholics, Anglo-Catholics, and the Orthodox may have profound differences, but one thing they know is that disagree with Lord Carey, especially when he makes out that the truly Christian position is to support this first step towards legal euthanasia in Britain, which will be debated in the House of Lords this week.

Carey is not exactly well loved among Anglicans — his (actually rather courageous) defiance of David Cameron’s same-sex marriage act and his somewhat right-wing column for the now extinct News of the World upset genteel progressive vicars everywhere. Yet some conservatives admired him for his willingness to speak his mind and stand up for ordinary believers.


Not anymore. Carey’s argument that it is ‘the very opposite of Christian’ to stand in the way of legalised killing seems to have angered a great many Christians. This is not a matter of liberal or conservative theology. Assisted dying is as anathema to Guardianista clerics like Giles Fraser as it is to RC traditionalists. (Rev Fraser tweeted: ‘Just read Carey Mail piece. I think I might have to exercise the right to die myself.’)

Archbishop Justin Welby, in contrast, has enjoyed widespread support for his eloquent piece in the Times this morning, in which he takes the opposite view to Carey. Welby states that a proper Christian understanding of compassion ought to discourage moral people from embracing the assisted dying bill. ‘It would be very naive,’ he writes, ‘to think that many of the elderly people who are abused and neglected each year, as well as many severely disabled individuals, would not be put under pressure to end their lives if assisted suicide were permitted by law.’

Judging from the reactions on the web today, the faithful agree with Justin, not George. Lord Carey’s intervention seems to have backfired somewhat.

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Show comments
  • Andy

    I’m reminded of the story of the German man who wrote to Hitler requesting permission to kill his handicapped child. The letter fell into the hands of Philipp Bouhler, Chief of the Chancellery of the Fuhrer, who took the letter to Hitler. He agreed. From that one letter grew the Nazis Aktion T4 euthanasia program. 70000 handicapped children and adults were murdered.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Lord Carey … in favour of assisted suicide”

    So was Adolph Hitler, although he did get a little more hands on.

  • eclair

    Good. Carey is dangerous and thoughtless, he’s also retired and getting on, he may yet regret his statement when his living or dying lies in other peoples hands.

  • john

    How can anybody argue with Carey? (1) He’s an Archbishop and therefore has a direct line to God (2) Even more prestigious, he’s a Peer of the Realm. This combination of talents obviously makes error impossible.

    • Nan

      Oh, please. Anglicans lack valid orders and have no apostolic succession.

      • Andy

        Nonsense. The Anglican Church is a Catholic Church and does have Apostolic Succession. You are just a bigoted Papist.

        • Nan

          Edward VI changed the ordination rite so that the form and intent were different than the Catholic Church which means that Anglicans don’t have valid holy orders; note also that Bishops have always been celibate and that both bishops and priests have always been male.

          Note also that only the Pope has the authority to name bishops. How can the Anglican Church possibly be Catholic when you name your own bishops?

          • Andy

            I said CATHOLIC. I did not say Roman Catholic. You’re a Papist and thus a Heretic. Anglican Priest are just that – they have apostolic succession and valid holy orders. Next you will be saying that any of us who happen to be Anglicans are not even Christians. We are not interested in your Papist bigotry.

            Oh and by the way given the debauchery within the Roman Catholic Church, historic and recent, it ill beholds the likes of you to lecture anyone on Christian doctrine. Go sort out your child abuse, financial scandals and murder.

            • Nan

              Anglicans started referring to Catholics as Roman Catholics as a slur to make themselves feel better; the Church has always had its seat in Rome and it wasn’t until Henry VIII chose not to follow Christ’s teaching on marriage that there was any issue in England about the Catholic Church. The first bishop of Rome was St Peter, to whom Christ gave the keys to the kingdom.

              Note also that you’re the bigot here; the Catholic Church still follows Christian doctrine. The Anglican church does not.

              • Andy

                You are an idiot. It was the Bishop of Rome who chose ‘not to follow Christ’s teaching on marriage’. The Roman Catholic Church does not follow Christian doctrine: it is an Heretical organisation lead by an anti-Christ. You are a bigoted Papist – pure evil flows through your comment, not a word of which is remotely ‘Christian’, but most Papists aren’t. Seems you are a heretic and a traitor.

                • Nan

                  In what way did the Pope (and which pope?) fail to follow Christ’s teaching on marriage? Priestly celibacy is a discipline which Christ sanctioned; he thought it was better for those who could, to be celibate. Neither the Orthodox Church nor the Catholic has allowed priests to marry although the Orthodox Church and some Eastern Catholics ordain married men. Nor have either allowed married bishops.

                  Bigoted doesn’t mean what you think it means; I’m explaining facts and you’re making hateful statements, directed at me personally. That’s bigoted. You routinely use religious slurs and make unsubstantiated allegations about the pope and the Catholic church. Not only that but you call me both a heretic and a traitor; I am not a heretic, I believe and profess all the Church teaches. Nor am I a traitor; I have not betrayed my religion. Nor has St Thomas More nor any of the English Martyrs.

                • Andy

                  You are the one making the ‘fail to follow Christ’s teaching on marriage’ so maybe you ought to actually understand what you are talking about – you obviously don’t. Go and reread your comment.

                  The Roman Catholic Church allowed priest to be married (St. Peter was believed to have been married) for many centuries and it was only in the 12th or 13th century when the ‘ban’ was more actively inforced. The evil Urban II had priest wives sold into slavery and their children abandoned. Even in the 15th Century more than half of priests were married. A number of popes were married and many, many more had mistresses and bastards galore. And today if you had married priests you wouldn’t have such a pedophile problem in the Roman church, a problem which has mostly been ignored. The Orthodox allows married priests but they do not allow married Bishops and more 75% of Orthodox priests are married.

                  Your attitude towards the Anglican Church, Anglicans and other Christians who are not Papists is Bigoted, Hateful and very Un-Christian, but that is entirely characteristic of arrogant heretic Papists like you. Given half a chance you would have people who disagree with your bigoted views murdered as you ‘believe and profess all the Church teaches’ – that’s the Papist way after all. You should perhaps reflect that what you yourself sow, so will you reap. As I said earlier ‘You are a bigoted Papist – pure evil flows through your comment, not a word of which is remotely ‘Christian’, but most Papists aren’t.’ Perhaps it would be a good start for you to discover what Christianity is actually about.

                • Nan

                  Priestly celibacy has nothing to to with pedophilia. The Orrthodox preists who aren’t married are of the monastic class as are most of their bishops; widowed priests could also become bishops.

                  I’m not sure what the chip on your shoulder about Catholicisms is; you still don’t explain how it is the Church isn’t following Christ’s teaching on marriage; Pope Urban made harsher rules as the priests weren’t following the rules set up previously.

                  In any case, Anglicans can’t be part of a united christendom as they ordain women and now women to the episcopacy. Those are facts.

                  If you want to look for the bigot, look in the mirror; you’re saying nasty things. All I’m trying to do is share truth and am getting in return vitriol and lies.

                  It’s too bad TV presenters can’t get married or Jimmy Savile would never have diddled kiddies.

                • Andy

                  Again you seem to be incapable of reading, but being a Heretic Papist one is hardly surprised. The Roman Catholic Church is riddled with pedophiles and much else – the ghastly Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth and Bergoglio sucking up to various Fascist regimes in Argentina.

                  Again you show your stupidity and essential lack of any form of Christianity where you condone the evil Urban selling people into slavery – ‘made harsher rules. . . ‘.

                  You came onto this thread and posted offensive comments not actually about the topic of the thread. Your comments show you to be a bigot, hate filled person who is decidedly un-Christian. This is what we expect from Heretic Papists who are, like you, filled with evil.

  • Roderick

    I suppose you could argue that it’s better, for the country at large, to kill off its old and unhealthy through assisted dying than to send its young and fit to do battle in a foreign theatre of war that presents no immediate threat to the UK. The latter at least have the capacity to be economically productive members of society, if not killed or severely disabled in action.

    Is this how our leaders really see us, I wonder.

  • Maidmarrion

    I expect to see three more articles condemning Desmond Tutu – he too appears to believe in assisted dying ( as do I but I don’t count!)

  • TRAV1S

    Why doesn’t Lord Carey declare Dr Harold Shipman as an Anglican saint?

    • Hexhamgeezer

      ‘And if the person is in the care of the State heaven help them.’ Chilling and true.

  • Bonkim

    Strange for a Christian to take that view – but then do many Christians believe in the Bible?

    • Paulina

      Well, I hope not many. We do believe in God, by the way. The Bible is not something to believe in, but to read.

  • HookesLaw

    Usual nasty rubbish from Gray. Amazing that someone who professes himself to be a christian can write such snide garbage. Such willingness to hate and from a christian too.

    • MirthaTidville

      Oh dear, you seem to have found another of your `nutjobs`…what a suprise

      • HookesLaw

        Mr Gray hardly inspires confidence in his slanted mutterings. It rejects the central tenet of the legislation in that it applies to the diagnosed terminally ill with less than 6 months to live. Is it christian to play the man I ask myself?
        Well is it?

        Certainly as we avidly read Mr Grays doctrinaire views it makes it easy to understand why there are so many sects in the Muslim religion when we see such divisiveness and personal animosity in the Anglican congregation. And that’s before we consider the Protestant Catholic antipathy.

        • Nan

          Support life from conception to natural death.

          Protestants do have some serious attitude; each protestant sect was founded by a man, while the Catholic Church is the only one founded by Christ.

          • Adam Carter

            The Roman Catholic church allows prayers to be directed to former humans who are not God.
            To me that is wholly unacceptable.

            It also has a history of just making things up. As an example, I have enjoyed seeing a painting of the death of the Virgin, because it wasn’t until the 19th Century that the Roman Catholic church discovered/decided that she did not die but was assumed into Heaven.
            What about the role of the Virgin’s mother? And how the Virgin herself was conceived? Made up.
            Go to Seville during Holy Week and see the parades of the statues on floats. Go on the Thursday and see the hysteria surrounding the Macarena.Who do you think is getting top billing that evening, Mary or Jesus? Idolatory, at best. Others might say blasphemy.
            No Christian needs lessons in loving Christ from the Roman Catholic church.

            • Nan

              Talk about making things up! We ask for the intercession of saints who are in heaven; the communion of saints is part of our family.

              Actually, the church has always believed in the assumption of Mary; it is typically not until there’s a heresy saying otherwise that church doctrine is codified. If you look at tradition of Mary’s girdle/cincture, tradition tells us that Thomas the Apostle received it from her as she was Assumed into Heaven; this predates the 19th century infallible statement that she was assumed into heaven as it has been written about at least since the 6th century.

              How do you know that Mary wasn’t conceived without sin? She was the first Tabernacle and must be without sin to hold Christ. I don’t know what you think about the role of St Ann as you don’t explain it.

              Oh, and where do you think the Bible came from? The Catholic Church. Protestant sects began because men believed they knew better than the Church; Martin Luther was a blasphemer. Henry VIII was an adulterer. John Calvin was a heretic who was not a priest but performed weddings.

          • Chris Morriss

            You’re ‘avin a larf aren’t you?
            The Catholic church was founded by an unholy combination of a deluded St Paul, and a cynically manipulative emperor Constantine. Anything that Christ said or did was virtually forgotten by 400AD.

            • Nan

              You’re a bit confused; St Paul lived in the first century. Emperor Constantine in the 4th. What Christ said and did is recorded in the Gospel, which has been with us these last two milennia.

        • Alexsandr

          but you dont have an answer to the point Welby made quoted in the article do you? That is the danger.
          This whole idea brings back the nazis ideas of euthanasia.

    • Alexsandr

      what has the issue here got to do with religion? It is a simple moral issue. and one of protecting the vulnerable.
      we must not let the religious lot take over this debate. those not of faith must stand up against this measure too.

  • CraigStrachan

    The secular majority will prevail.

    • WorthSayingAgain

      What secular majority?

      • CraigStrachan

        The secular majority in Britain today.

        • Alexsandr

          I am an atheist and I think carey is 100% wrong on this too. Welby is 100% right with this, quoted from the article above – ‘It would be very naive,’ he writes, ‘to think that many of the elderly people who are abused and neglected each year, as well as many severely disabled individuals, would not be put under pressure to end their lives if assisted suicide were permitted by law.’
          The nazis killed the infirm the sick and the disabled. This is the thin end of the wedge.

          • telemachus

            We read daily of the crisis posed by the survival and dependence of the very elderly
            How much more convenient for the state to solve the problem by pressing relatives to pressure their “loved ones” into assisted dying rather than risk the “indignity” of a poorly funded care home
            As I said above state sanctioned murder of the sick
            And then the disabled as you say
            And then simply the economically burdensome elderly

            • Alexsandr

              but its not just the state is it? Relatives will also pressure their elderly, because of the stress of seeing a loved one die, or worse for financial reasons. Seeing their inheritance dwindle by over £500 a week will make some people pressure their relative to ‘do the right thing’

              • telemachus

                And not just the stress
                Or the legacy question
                It is also the guilt of inability to engage when engagement would be seen by others(relatives, friends) to be appropriate

          • CraigStrachan

            Has Oregon embarked upon a Nazi-style cull of the infirm, the sick and disabled? Has the Netherlands? Has Switzerland? Has any jurisdiction in which assisted suicide is legal?

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Carey is a fool. His weak squeamishness in the face of suffering has allowed him to simply discard a central tenet of the religion he purports to uphold. He is supposed to believe that only God has to right to extinguish life.

    In any event If one does not believe in God it is wrong for the State to sanction assisted suicide. A ‘right to die’ will morph very very quickly into a ‘duty to die’. Scaremongering? I think not – think how abortion has developed into an industrial scale enterprise of destruction rather than a humane way dealing with certain issues.

    • telemachus

      All going well until your last sentence
      Abortion is a totally different proposition morally and physically to state sanctioned murder of the sick

      • Nan

        You’re right; it’s state sanctioned murder of the healthy.

      • Colonel Mustard

        But you advocate state-sanctioned murder. You have told us several times that to achieve your communist revolution here will require the murder of those who oppose it. You admire Stalin and Mao. You apologise for Islamic terrorists and attempt to blame their acts on the victims. And you cover up for Andy Burnham who was indirectly responsible for the unnecessary deaths of sick and helpless elderly patients in MId-Staffs.

        You also pretend to be Christian and caring when it suits you, which is a joke.

        • telemachus

          I am sorry Colonel Mustard but I cannot trivialise this issue

          • Colonel Mustard

            Then don’t trivialise it. I’m serious about your hypocrisy.

            • telemachus

              I counsel you to read the wise words of Alexandr


              And then ponder Archbishop Welby:

              The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out in opposition of assisted suicide, claiming that legalising it would leave a “sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of “every vulnerable, terminally-ill person in the country.”

              • Colonel Mustard

                You seem to be labouring under a misapprehension.

          • Kennybhoy

            You trivialize anything and everything you touch troll…

      • Holly

        State sanctioned murder of the sick, and the well?
        Where only one side has a say.


        Abortion is evil, I Will speak up against it as most of my siblings were victims to it.


      You are right that it will be seen as a duty to die in the same way that abortion is very forcibly considered by many to be a duty. We need to have nursing homes and medical services which employ only ‘right to life’ staff. Those who are aware of the evil agenda of murder masquerading as something good, in this case, ‘death with dignity’ and the ‘right to die’ should at least be protected and make no mistake, this will be beneficial to us all. We need to stop crying for government handouts and organize ourselves independently of the EU and their corrupted, foul 3 party autocracy.

    • Kennybhoy


  • telemachus

    I will desist from responsible comment on Carey for want of offending Patience Berkeley

    • Colonel Mustard

      Pity that didn’t last. You couldn’t desist from “commenting” if your pants were on fire. You are all over every thread like a nasty rash.