Award-winning magazine's poll on life and death decisions reveals
startling gaps between the views of its readers and those of Canadians
TORONTO, July 10, 2012 /CNW/ - For the first time, The United Church Observer, an award-winning independent magazine geared to members of Canada's
largest Protestant denomination, asked Canadians at large, as well as
its readers, to weigh in on its annual opinion survey. The results of
the "Life and Death Decisions" survey find that the magazine's
churchgoing readers are far more likely to support physician-assisted
suicide in controlled situations than Canadians at large. An example:
76 percent of readers said they support a physician ending the life of
a consenting terminally ill patient with a lethal dose of medication,
compared to 59 percent of the general public.
"We found that United Church Observer readers are more open than members
of the general public to situations in which euthanasia and assisted
suicide are acceptable," said Jane Armstrong, of Jane Armstrong Research Associates, the Toronto-based firm that conducted the survey. "Such openness may
surprise and enlighten those who think that belonging to a faith
community would necessarily lead to a different conclusion."
Recent headlines, including the B.C. court ruling on assisted suicide
and the upcoming Supreme Court of Canada hearing on euthanasia, sparked
strong opinions from the nearly 2,000 people surveyed.
"Life and death issues are vitally important to all Canadians, but
especially faith communities," said Observer editor David Wilson. "We
suspected there might be differences between churchgoing readers and
the general public on life-ending interventions. Frankly, we are very
surprised to see our readers tracking so strongly in support of them."
Startling gaps between readers and non-readers were also evident in
questions addressing early-life issues such as genetic testing of
embryos, sex selection, surrogacy and abortion. For example, 80 percent
of the magazine's readers support abortion if a woman's mental health
is seriously threatened compared to 65 percent of Canadians at large.
More results and analysis of The United Church Observer's "Life and
Death Decisions" survey are covered in a 12-page report in the
magazine's July/August issue and on its website (www.ucobserver.org). The website also features an animated documentary showing key
findings. The "Life and Death Decisions" survey was supported by a
grant from the Ontario Media Development Corporation.
With roots dating back to 1829, The United Church Observer is an
independently incorporated magazine that is affiliated with but is not
an official voice of The United Church of Canada. This spring, The
United Church Observer won 23 awards from the Canadian Church Press for
work published in 2011. The magazine also won 19 awards from the
Associated Church Press, the oldest interdenominational religious press
association in North America.
Video with caption: "Video: The United Church Observer Survey video". Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/v/yyfrlMuxm40?version=3&hl=en_US
SOURCE The United Church Observer
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