Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Aid in Dying on Network TV.

Barbara Coombs Lee, Gary Blick and Stewart Lane will be on Anderson Cooper 360 tonight. The email from Compassion and Choices where Coombs Lee is president:

While still taboo for many families, increasingly our nation is engaging in a thoughtful, often difficult, dialogue about end-of-life choice. This shift is evidenced by the vigor and reach of public discussion surrounding this weekend's release of You Don't Know Jack, an HBO film about the life of Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

The truth is, many dying patients suffer, even with adequate care and pain management. Others fear that their pain will become unbearable. Unable to talk openly with their physicians about a range of legal, safe, peaceful options to ease a painful dying process, desperate patients look to guns and other violent options to end their lives. Or they ask physicians to work secretly outside the law.

Compassion & Choices advocates that all mentally competent, terminally ill patients should have a full range of end-of-life choices, including aggressive pain and symptom management, palliative sedation, voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, forgoing life-extending interventions and aid in dying.

You may be interested in watching CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 tonight where I was invited to be the voice of Compassion & Choices' supporters in a conversation about our landmark Blick v. Connecticut case. We represent two physicians, Gary Blick and Ron Levine, who are asking a Connecticut court to rule that the state's assisted-suicide statute does not reach their conduct in providing aid in dying to their terminally ill patients. Joined on Anderson Cooper 360 by Dr. Gary Blick and his patient Stewart Lane, I asserted that without a rational public discussion that includes aid in dying as a medical standard of care, covert aid in dying would continue.

Dr. Kevorkian recognized this need, and drew the national and international spotlight to the desperation of patients whose current legal choices are inadequate. His actions raised public awareness and highlighted major public policy problems. As in every movement for social change, there are provocateurs and persuaders.

Compassion & Choices works within the law, using education and advocacy to advance a vision where all Americans can live and die as free people, in dignity and according to their own values. We believe patients should be able to talk with their physicians about legal, safe, peaceful options for easing a painful dying process

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My Other Hat.

There's a reason otherspoon has been quieter than usual. I'm the new editor of a publication that was founded by journalist Jeff Sharlet for NYU's Center for Religion and Media: The Revealer. We've been spending the past two months getting ready for a relaunch, and here it is.
Want to know more? Of course you do! Stop by the site and be sure to tell me what you think!

The Revealer is reborn! We're back with a new site, a new editor (that's me), and new staff, but the same dedication to religion in the media. Visit the site at

Imagine this! Or Can a Church hierarchy become a Catholic community? by Angela Zito

Eight years in Catholic school, from which I liberated myself at the age of fourteen into public junior high, has put me into a Facebook flurry right now among former Catholic school kids now grown up. The slow-burning scandal of child-abuse covered up, which started in the minds of many as an American brush fire in 1985 in Louisiana (and which was, in the words of Hendrik Hertzberg in the New Yorker this week: “dismissed as an epiphenomenon of America’s sexual libertinism and religious indiscipline”) has burned right up to the Vatican’s door. Like a horrible slo-mo tennis match, we’ve had new accusations served and returned with ever-more ridiculous attempts by the Church hierarchy to defend the indefensible. (And for a comic round-up of the Church’s “blame game,” visit Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon.)

The critics refuse to approach the problem as the Vatican has, “one sinning priest at a time,” and look instead for structural reasons for the abuse of kids, and for its cover-up. They have attacked hierarchy, the exclusion of women, and celibacy. But in searching for reasons and reforms, they often conflate the problems of abuse and cover-up, thus conflating the psychological and individual with the bureaucratic and communal. I’d like to try to untangle that knot just a bit. Continue reading....


Piper and Warren, Sittin’ in a Tree

Dear Emergent Church Movement,

The Revealer publisher, Angela Zito, talks to NPR about 3D TV and religion

Mary Valle: Brady Fischer's Problem is Now America's Problem

Religious Laws, Hit Search

Giving Full Scope to People's National Feeling

Cleaning the Crucifix

Upcoming Events:

April 23, Screening/Discussion: "Operation BabyLift," Sponsored by NYU's Center for Religion and Media

May 1, Panel: "The Prison-Spirituality Complex," Sponsored by Killing the Buddha

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