A well-known Christian radio host, singer author and advocate is speaking out against the new feature film, "Me Before You," arguing that its dramatic storyline about a man who ends his life after becoming disabled in an accident is "so dangerous."
"It pulls at your emotions," Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic and founder of Joni and Friends, an organization that serves those with disabilities, told The Church Boys podcast. "It can weaken conviction."
Tada, who, despite her disability, has gone on to sing, perform and transcend boundaries, believes that Christians needs to take a stand and use "Me Before You" as a jumping-off point to make broader proclamations against doctor-assisted suicide.
"Now is the time for believers … to take this movie and use it as a narrative, an opportunity to talk to your friends and neighbors at Starbucks or on a college campus," she said. "Talk about the virtues that can be found in suffering … and that affliction cannot be avoided. It’s a part of life."
In the end, Tada said that her goal is to inspire others to "face circumstances courageously" and to recognize that "life really is worth living."
Listen to her share her views on the film and her personal story below (interview starts at the 46:00-mark):
As for Tada's overarching perspective on euthanasia — which is currently legal in California, Washington, Oregon, Vermont and Montana — she believes that it is absolutely inappropriate for society to play a role in helping people end their lives, saying that something is amiss when it comes to the nation's moral framework.
"The health of a civilization can be best be measured by how it treats its unborn, it’s newborn, the medically fragile and the elderly," she said. "And people who are weak and infirm have never fared well in societies that have lost their moral center, their moral foundation."
Tada continued, "This whole push to legalize assisted suicide across the United States is actually a push to radicalize individual rights and when we take the moral component out of rights they become nothing more than peoples’ willful determinations all dressed up in politically correct language in order to give them a showy kind of dignity."
[sharequote align="center"]"People who are weak and infirm have never fared well in societies that have lost their moral center."[/sharequote]
After living with a disability for nearly 50 years, Tada said that she believes the continued euthanasia push on the "social progressive agenda" is "bad news," which is why she's speaking out to try and halt it.
Watch the trailer for "Me Before You" below:
In her wide-ranging interview with The Church Boys, Tada also addressed what she sees going on in American culture, calling it "bizarre" that peoples' fear of aging or worries about a possible disability would become the "basis for rational social policy." She also spoke out against what she sees as a sweeping societal failure to understand why suffering is a part of the human experience.
"Because we live in such an entitlement society, we already see no virtue in suffering … already we believe that affliction should be avoided at all costs.," Tada said. "What happens is courage gets redefined [and it no longer means facing challenges]," she continued. "Courage means going to Switzerland and checking into a suicide hotel and having someone assist you in death … no way is that courageous."
[sharequote align="center"]"Because we live in such an entitlement society, we already see no virtue in suffering."[/sharequote]
And Tada knows a fair bit about harrowing life circumstances. She became a paraplegic nearly 50 years ago after a diving accident when she was just 17 years old, living the majority of her life in a wheelchair. She has also survived breast cancer.
"As a quadriplegic, I wake up in the morning and it’s hard it is so hard having somebody else come into your bedroom [to brush your teeth and your hair]. It’s overwhelming at times," she said. "During those times, I say, 'Lord God, I cannot do this, but I can do all things through you as you strengthen me.'"
Tada added, "I don’t let my emotions win the day."
Find out more about Tada here.
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