The White House said on Monday that President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia in March to meet with King Abdullah to discuss a range of security issues in the Middle East that have caused some strains in the bilateral relationship.
The rare visit, which comes at the end of an Obama trip to the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, will include discussions about “Gulf and regional security, peace in the Middle East, countering violent extremism, and other issues of prosperity and security,” the White House said in a statement.
King Abdullah met Secretary of State John Kerry in November and discussed concerns about the unwillingness of the United State to intervene in Syria and recent overtures to its arch-rival, Iran.
Saudi Arabia turned down a seat on the United Nations Security Council in October, in a display of anger at the failure of the international community to end the war in Syria.
That month, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief said the kingdom was looking at making a “major shift” in relations with the United States.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have long been close allies on military and energy issues.
Moves in Belgium to allow euthanasia for children deemed to be afflicted with “constant and unbearable physical suffering” are akin to the practices of eugenics in Nazi Germany, former two-time GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes says.
In an article for his magazine headlined “HitlerCare,” the chairman of Forbes Media says proposals to allow doctors, with parental consent, “to kill children” on the grounds of “compassion” will also be a “slippery slope” to other forms of unjustified killing, such as cost-saving calculations and determinations about the relative value of human life.
“We are on the malignantly slippery slope to becoming a society like that envisioned by Nazi Germany, one in which ‘undesirables’ are disposed of like used tissue,” Forbes writes in a piece posted online Monday. “While the Nazis carried this ideology of death to its ghastly logical conclusion, the belief that it would be good for the human race to improve itself — as breeders do with horses, dogs, cows and other animals and plants — was also widespread in numerous other countries before WWII, including the U.S.
“It was called eugenics, and under its banner countless hundreds of thousands of people, particularly those deemed mentally handicapped, were forcibly sterilized to prevent them from fathering or birthing children. Before the war Nazi Germany killed upwards of 8,000 children judged to be ‘mentally deficient’ or incurably ill.”
Forbes says that in countries that have legalized euthanasia, the number of adults euthanized has soared. He points out that in Holland, a country that allows adult euthanasia, it has been suspected that doctors and hospital administrators were occasionally killing patients to free-up hospital beds. Britain has its own version of a “death panel,” Forbes writes, because it has a formula for determining who gets expensive treatment and who doesn’t.
“And now we’re on the way to killing children in the name of compassion,” he adds. “As euthanasia becomes more accepted — and we become more numb to the horror of murdering people like this — we’ll descend to the next abomination: pressuring the sick to discontinue treatment for a likely fatal illness in the name of ‘saving scare resources’ for people who have more years ahead of them.”
Forbes concludes by saying, “Let’s be clear. We’re not talking about adults deciding they don’t want ‘heroic’ methods applied when they’re suffering a fatal illness; we’re talking about the conscious taking of a life by people who are trained to cure us of illness.
“The true mark of a civilization is in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
Article 10 in the CRPD clearly declares, “States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.”
How can, on one hand, Belgian legislators insist that people with disabilities have ‘the inherent right to life’ yet extend a so-called right to die to not merely adults but, shockingly, to minors who feel burdened by their disability?
A 10-year-old child with a disability simply does not have the psychological wherewithal to determine his or her own demise.
Life is the most irreplaceable and fundamental condition of the human experience, and it is morally reprehensible to assume that a child understands the gravity of choosing his or her own death.
While the Belgian House of Representatives still has a chance to stop this law from being passed, I call on Christians of conscience everywhere to pray for Belgium and its leaders and to consider the ramifications here in the U.S. and in other parts of the world if this devaluing of life continues to run rampant.
We are called to defend the helpless, not destroy them. And we are to minister to those who are hurting, not agree with them that life isn’t worth living. Because the church isn’t stepping up to its calling, we are gradually seeing each of our values—God‘s values—eroded one by one.
God is the giver of life, and He is the only one who should have the power to take it. I pray that our leaders here in the U.S. recognize that what is happening in Belgium could soon happen here and elsewhere around the world unless we take a stand for life and commit to protect it at all costs.
The country already allows euthanasia for adults, but the new bill removes all age limits.
The unprecedented measure would allow children to choose to die if they are in great pain and suffer from a terminal condition.
It’s a decision many say a child is not equipped to make.
“The answer is caring. The answer is not killing,” Carine Boucher, with the Center for Bio-ethics in Brussels, said.
“The child does have the maturity to get married or to buy alcohol or to buy cigarettes if he is 14. Now we are saying that because he is suffering he might have the possibility to ask for euthanasia,” Boucher added.
The children would need parental consent and have to submit a written request to die.
Critics say Belgium’s current euthanasia law has been abused. Some adults have been killed even though they were only depressed.
Belgium is now a step closer to introducing child euthanasia after a Senate committee voted 13-4 in favor of the proposals on Wednesday.
The bill, which extends euthanasia to children of any age suffering terminal illnesses and adults with dementia, must now clear further hurdles in the legislative process before it becomes law.
If passed, Belgium would become the first country in the world to remove the age limit, as the Netherlands already allow euthanasia but restrict it to 12-year-olds and older.
The proposed legislation would allow terminally ill children to ask to be killed if they are deemed capable of making their own decision and if their pain is “unbearable and cannot be alleviated.”
Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders have expressed “deep concern” about the legislation.
“The euthanasia of fragile people, be they children or incapable, is totally inconsistent with their condition as human beings. We cannot accept a logic which will lead to the destruction of society’s foundations,” they say.
Anti-euthanasia campaigner and cancer doctor Benoit Beuselinck says the new law could open the door to infanticide.
“Once the possibility for euthanasia exists for children, demand is likely to rise,” he says. “It’s clear among adults that it is difficult to keep euthanasia within limits once the taboo of killing has fallen.”
But supporters of the proposals say the practice of child euthanasia is already going on in secret and that a change in the law would prevent discrimination against minors.
Belgium has seen a 4,620 percent rise in cases of euthanasia between 2002, when the practice was legalized, and 2011.
And recent incidents in the country highlight people wanting doctors to end their lives though they were not terminally ill.
The same doctor euthanized a pair of deaf twins who were going blind and felt their lives weren’t worth living if they couldn’t see each other.
Dr. Peter Saunders, who leads the Christian Medical Fellowship, previously warned that once euthanasia is legalized, “steady escalation follows along with a change in the social conscience so that it rapidly becomes accepted as normal.”
I opened the front door and came face to face with a rather large gift basket wrapped in clear cellophane with a gigantic velvet orange and brown bow. It was so big that it blocked the face of the deliveryman.
The sight of such a gift was too wonderful for words! As a young married couple, Terry and I were going through hard times, with little money for extras, much less the basics! The arrival of this surprise basket of goodies was not only timely, but a miracle!
Just who was behind this?
Terry and I carefully grabbed the gift basket from the deliveryman and raced to the dining room table to dig in. We tore away the cellophane and bright velvet ribbon to discover, to our amazement, treasures galore!
We uncovered each piece—first there was a canned ham, then a fancy tin of imported sardines (with mustard accompanying it, both of them tied together in a festive plaid ribbon). Out came two giant links of brown sausage, followed by chunks of rich yellow cheddar and two imported cheeses, and fresh apples, pears, oranges, three boxes of crackers, two tins of cookies, Belgium chocolates, hot cocoa mix in an exotic tin, even a red bag of ground coffee, tea bags and hard candies! In special boxes were two coffee mugs trimmed in blue, two soft cream-colored cloth napkins and a small teapot that matched the mugs. What a feast!
To our surprise, the card read: “May the good Lord bless you abundantly this Thanksgiving. Love, Pearl and William.”
Pearl and William?Love?Pearl was an older lady who worked in the gifts department of the large bookstore where Terry worked. Terry, in fact, hardly saw Pearl except when her retired husband, William, stopped by every other week to take her to lunch. The only thing Terry knew about them, in fact, was that they were Christians.
My eye went to the phrase “May the good Lord bless you abundantly this Thanksgiving.” It was in that moment when it became obvious to me that the Lord trulyloved us—loved us enough to have two nearly strangers give something so precious to us in our time of great need.
Isn’t that just like the Lord to love us so much and to use others to show His love? God’s Word reveals this powerful truth in 1 John 4:7-8: “God is love,” and in James 1:17, where it states: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” His Word also shows how He gives to us: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
It further reveals to us that we are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). As ambassadors for Christ, shouldn’t you and I be called, especially in this Thanksgiving season, to show His love through our generous giving to others? As your sister in the Lord, I invite you to join me in doing it Jesus’ way—exceedingly abundantly.
This Thanksgiving perhaps you can give a warmer smile of encouragement from your heart, more of your time to a friend or family member, or give your time as a volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or give your time as a volunteer through your church to a hospital, prison or women’s shelter. Be open to giving a bountiful gift basket to someone, reflecting the Lord’s bountiful love for her! Invite someone who has nowhere to go to your home this Thanksgiving. Who knows how much they might need that.
The seeds given to others in this Thanksgiving season can reap a powerful harvest, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of others as they come face to face with the loving Lord of the harvest.
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 11/25/2013
This week thank the Lord for His bountiful love and ask Him to show you how to best reflect it during this season. Ask Him to use you to share His love by reaching out to others in need. Pray that the body of Christ would unite in purpose to preach the gospel and extend His kingdom around the world. Get together with others to bless those who have suffered losses through crime, natural disasters, loss of income and loved ones. Pray that revival would spread in churches and communities across the nation. Lift up our president and those in leadership with him. Continue to pray for Israel and the persecuted church, as well as for our military and their families during this Thanksgiving season. I John 4:7; Matt. 25:34-40.
Since euthanasia was legalized in Belgium in 2002, Belgians have been euthanized for blindness, depression, anorexia nervosa, and a botched sex-change operation.
Now, Belgians want to allow euthanasia for children.
Under legislation currently being debated in the Belgian Parliament, terminally ill or suffering children under 18 could be euthanized if they request it, their parents consent to it, and an expert deems the child capable of understanding their decision.
The bill is widely supported and is expected to become law.
‘Kids Never Choose Death’
Supporters of Belgium’s proposed euthanasia law say it is necessary and compassionate, but critics say it is only the next phase in what they call “a culture of death.”
Euthanasia is now considered medical therapy in Belgium.
Not only do two-thirds of Belgians favor the new euthanasia bill, but in a controversial poll, three quarters said it would be OK for parents to euthanize their sick children without the child’s consent.
“The child does not have the maturity to get married or to buy alcohol or to buy cigarettes if he is 14. Now we are saying that because he is suffering, he might have the possibility to ask for euthanasia,” Carine Boucher, with the European Center for Bio-ethics in Brussels, said.
Michel De Keukelaere, a law student and the founder of the March for Life in Brussels said, “Children never choose to die. I don’t believe a child under 18 who is sick and who is ill wants to die.”
“Who will give the suggestion to the child that one of the solutions is euthanasia?” Boucher asked. “A child doesn’t know what euthanasia is. A child doesn’t know what death is.”
If children almost never want to die, why is such a law even necessary?
De Keukelaere views it as “really a symbolic law. It’s sort of the revenge of these socialist and liberal parties who want to show that Christianity in Belgium is finished.”
What the law will almost assuredly do is make the practice of killing suffering children more common. Some Belgian doctors are already killing newborns with spina bifida at the parents’ request.
“The answer is caring. The answer is not killing,” Boucher said.
She said what doctors should be doing is alleviating the suffering of the terminally ill with world-class palliative care.
But the media and the left in Belgium are sending the message that doctors who resist euthanasia are uncaring.
“If you refuse euthanasia, you are a ‘bad doctor.’ It’s not tolerance, it’s really discrimination,” Boucher said. “It’s the world upside-down.”
“Under all this terminology like, ‘It’s safe, it’s completely controlled by doctors,’ we give doctors the right to kill. Doctors should cure, they should not kill,” De Keukelaere said.