A Conversation with Nathan Schneider at America Magazine

My long time friend and fellow writing group member, Nathan Schneider, took the time to talk with me about The Good Death. I love this conversation because Nathan is so smart and because it gave me the chance to address the nuance and challenge of some of the issues we face as a population and a nation regarding end of life care. You can read the piece here. And an excerpt:

“That said, the country’s religious landscape is changing rapidly. So we have cultural, medical and legal institutions that once fit our predominantly Protestant faith—a fit that is no longer working for many who have other perspectives. There has always been dissent among members of the legacy denominations, of course. But as medicine has rapidly advanced—starting in the 1960s and ’70s, at the same time that new movements were changing the way women and minorities think about autonomy and rights—the courts and religion have been working to catch up. So that space between “traditional” frameworks of morality and new medical possibilities has posed ethical problems for patients. When can we turn off the respirator? What is “natural” death? Many patients struggle to know what decisions they should make, and they recognize that medical science doesn’t have all the answers. Faith can help them act on their own moral values. But when particular faith ideas are codified in medical practice or laws, it can impede patients from doing what they think is best.”

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