Religion: Good Death?

Q. What is forbidden in the Sixth Commandment?

A. The Sixth Commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor unjustly . . .

— Westminster Shorter Catechism

Though that phrasing is Presbyterian, all Christian denominations believe that suicide violates God's commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." Last week, however, the New York Times revealed that one of the world's pre-eminent Presbyterians, the Rev. Henry Pitney Van Dusen, 77, and his wife Elizabeth, 80, had carried out a suicide pact in January. The retired president of New York's Union Theological...

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