Covenant Marriages; Doctor Induced Death

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April 23, 2001

This week, Arkansas, will become the third state to grant covenant marriages. Covenant marriages are voluntary agreements that are intended to make divorce more difficult. Arkansas has the second largest divorce rate in the country. The new Arkansas marriage law asks couples to voluntarily pledge marriage for life. Divorce would be granted only in a few special cases such as adultery, physical or sexual abuse or the committing of a felony. Louisiana and Arizona have passed similar marriage bills and Texas and Iowa are moving in the same direction. Diane Solle, founder of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education said, “Momentum is building. Grown-ups out there are saying marriage is something we should take a stand on. We feel strongly enough to pass a law. We have to value this institution before we lose it.” Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute said, “Strengthening marriage is the right way to go, but having two categories of marriage is not the answer. I’m concerned about the ramifications of Covenant Marriages. Relegating ‘ordinary’ marriage to second-class status could put a patina of legalization on what would be in essence just cohabitation. Marriage, as an institution, is a covenant. All marriages are covenants made before God. When states create a separate category for people who want a serious, committed marriage, what are we saying about marriage? Are we implying that it is perfectly fine to revoke regular, ordinary marriages? Are the typical marriage vows then meaningless and less binding than a car lease contract? And, if the state allows for two definitions of marriage, the door is wide open for other variations-including same-sex marriages.”

Doctor Induced Death
This week the Dutch parliament’s upper house passed a bill allowing euthanasia to be performed by doctors; thus making the Netherlands the first country to allow doctor induced death. The Dutch senate passed the bill in a 46-28 vote. In the weeks prior to the vote, the upper house received more than 60,000 letters calling legislators to vote against the proposed legislation. The new law is scheduled to take effect this summer. The law requires the patient and doctor to have formulated a long-term relationship, and the patient must be aware of all other medical options and must have received a second professional medical opinion. The patient must request the procedure while being of a sound mind and doctors are not allowed to suggest the procedure as an option. Egbert Schuurman of the Netherlands’ conservative Christian Union said the bill was “a historic mistake.” He also said the Netherlands should be ashamed of being the first country to adopt such legislation. During the vote, approximately 10,000 pro-life protesters gathered at the parliament building where they prayed, sang hymns and quoted several passages from Scripture. In an effort to allow students to take part in the demonstrations, many Christian schools canceled classes. Nineteen year old, Henrico van der Hoek said, “We don’t have the right to decide about matters of life and death, but God does. As Christians, we simply cannot support this law.”

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