Salvation Army

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Beginning of Life


Official Statement: from the Salvation Army's "Positional Statement: Abortion"[1]

"The Salvation Army believes all people are created in the image of God and therefore have unique and intrinsic value. Human life is sacred and all people should be treated with dignity and respect. The Salvation Army accepts the moment of fertilisation as the start of human life. We believe that society has a responsibility to care for others, and especially to protect and promote the welfare of vulnerable people, including unborn children.
The Salvation Army believes that life is a gift from God and we are answerable to God for the taking of life. As such, The Salvation Army is concerned about the growing ready acceptance of abortion, which reflects insufficient concern for vulnerable persons including the unborn. We do not believe that genetic abnormalities that are identified in an unborn child who is likely to live longer than a brief period after birth are sufficient to warrant a termination of pregnancy."
"There is a responsibility on all involved to give the parents of the unborn child, particularly the woman, appropriate pastoral, medical and other counsel. The Salvation Army believes that termination can occur only when
  • Carrying the pregnancy further seriously threatens the life of the mother; or
  • Reliable diagnostic procedures have identified a foetal abnormality considered incompatible with survival for more than a very brief post natal period.
In addition, rape and incest are brutal acts of dominance violating women physically and emotionally. This situation represents a special case for the consideration of termination as the violation may be compounded by the continuation of the pregnancy."
"The Salvation Army affirms and supports professional people engaged in the care of pregnant women who feel on religious, moral or ethical grounds, that they cannot be involved in any way with the procuring or undertaking of an abortion.” ("Positional Statement: Abortion"[2])

End of Life

Official Statement: from the Salvation Army "Positional Statement: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide"[3]

"Respect for the dignity of human life demands quality care for all persons at the end of their lives. The Salvation Army therefore promotes access to palliative services that provide holistic care (physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual) when there is no longer medical hope for a cure. Optimal pain control and the overall comfort of the individual should be the primary goals of this care."
"As far as possible, decisions around end-of-life concerns should remain in the hands of the dying person in collaboration with competent health care professionals, assisted by loved ones whom the patient wants to be involved. If the dying person is no longer capable of being involved in the decision-making process, others who know her/ him well may be empowered to act as substitute decision makers."

Physician-Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia

Official Statement: from the Salvation Army "Positional Statement: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide"[4]

"The Salvation Army believes strongly that all people deserve compassion and care in their suffering and dying. Euthanasia and assisted suicide should not, however, be considered acceptable responses. They undermine human dignity and are morally wrong. The Salvation Army believes therefore that euthanasia and assisted suicide should be illegal."[5]
"The Salvation Army accepts the following principles:
  • All people deserve to have their suffering minimised in every possible way consistent with respect for the sanctity of life.
  • It is not suicide for people to choose to refuse or terminate medical treatment.
  • It is not euthanasia for health care professionals to withhold or withdraw medical treatment that only prolongs the dying process.
  • To provide supportive care for the alleviation of intolerable pain and suffering (e.g., by way of analgesics) may be appropriate even if the dying process is shortened as a side effect."[6]
"In response to pro-euthanasia and pro-assisted suicide arguments based on autonomy and compassion the Salvation Army's states:
"The Salvation Army similarly prizes human autonomy highly, but believes human beings do not have the right to death by their own act or by the commissioning of another person to secure it. The Salvation Army considers each person to be of infinite value, possessing inherent dignity, and that each life is a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and redeemed. Human life, made in the image of God, is sacred and has an eternal destiny (Genesis 1:27). Human beings were created for relationships and for those relationships to be expressed living in community, including in times of death (1 Corinthians 12: 26; 1 John 3:14).
The priority that governs Christian compassion in the process of dying is to maximise care. We all know the fear of suffering and the frustration of being unable to relieve it fully, however, our continuing focus is not to eliminate suffering people but to find better ways of dealing with their suffering."[7]


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