I’m very honoured to announce that I will be the guest speaker at Dying with Dignity’s NSW AGM and Conference to be held from 2pm – 4pm on Saturday, 24 March at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts at 280 Pitt Street Sydney.
The topic of my speech is: “The Debate on Assisted Dying: Distortion, Misinformation and the Influence of the Religious Lobby” . However, I will not be focusing solely on voluntary euthanasia. I’ll also be talking about dominionism and the impact of religious propaganda on a range of socially progressive issues, including VE, gay rights, women’s reproductive issues and more.
My argument is that campaigners for these issues are fighting discrete battles within a larger ‘war’ – an international war against secular government and policies. The organisation, resources, international networking and sheer rat cunning of the religious right – together with the astonishing volume of propaganda they produce – makes it difficult for any single group to combat their onslaught.
In my speech I will suggest that it’s time for greater interaction between socially progressive activists (whether Christian or secular) to expose this campaign of disinformation from the religious right, shame those who uncritically disseminate such propaganda, and demand that politicians be far less credible in accepting ‘evidence’ from religiously biased sources.
My speech is not ‘anti-Christian’. Indeed, the majority of Australian Christians are at odds with religious bureaucracies in supporting socially progressive issues. Christians should, of course, have a voice in the public square and should, of course, have the right to hold a range of views on social issues. My contention is simply that they have the right to base their views on reliable information and that religious lobbyists have a public and ethical responsibility not to weight their arsenals with pseudo-science, political spin, urban myths, anecdotal ‘evidence’ and other scare-mongering strategies. In doing so, they not only harm the causes they oppose, but deceive their own followers and do untold damage to the reputation of the religion they purport to represent.
Of particular concern are organisations which conceal their religious bias behind secular sounding ‘fronts’ and individuals who claim academic neutrality but whose work is clearly methodologically flawed and ideologically biased.
My speech will run for about 40 minutes with question time afterwards.
If you’re in or near Sydney, please come along. I’d love the opportunity to meet as many of my readers as possible.
If you have your own contact networks, please consider spreading the word – we’d love a packed house and voluntary euthanasia/assisted dying is such an important subject for all Australians.
Entry to the event is free and afternoon tea will be served. I will, of course, be mingling after the event and might even be persuaded to adjourn to a nearby pub!
Dr Jim McDonald, Greens candidate for Noosa in the forthcoming Queensland state election says he believes that people who are living with a terminal illness should be able to make informed choices between palliative care and ending their life with dignity. If elected, Dr McDonald says he will support legislation to that effect.
Dr McDonald and Neil Francis, Chairman and CEO of Your Last Right will be speaking in support of assisted dying at Dying with Dignity Maroochydore (Qld) on Wednesday, 21 March at 2pm. DWD Maroochydore meets in the CWA rooms directly opposite the Maroochy RSL. For more information contact June or Alistair Henderson on 0402 989 433 or at vessq at bigpond dot com.