Many people know how the Roman Catholic Church feels about hot-button issues like assisted suicide ... but do you know what Star Trek's stance is?
Chelsea Zimmerman, editor-in-chief of Catholic Lane, says she does. And in her opinion, it's exactly the position it's supposed to be.
Zimmerman refers to the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode "Ethics," lauding how both assisted suicide and dealing with a disability were handled. The episode, written by Ronald D. Moore and based on a story from Sara Charno and Stuart Charno, finds Michael Dorn's Lt. Worf in a tough situation. An accident on board the ship leaves him paralyzed, and he wants to do the honorable thing by Klingon standards -- take his own life.
But the crew won't let it happen.
"The real heroes of the episode are Riker and Counselor Troi, who refuse to let Worf give up on his life," Zimmerman said of the two characters, who were played by Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis, respectively. "At one point, Riker confronts the wounded Klingon and reminds him of all the people on the ship who consider him a friend and owe him their lives, and to think about how they might feel about his dying. But Troi definitely has the best line of the whole show when she tells Worf, 'Maybe it's time you stop lying here worrying about your honor, and started thinking about someone else. Like your son.'"
Death is not a right, Zimmerman said, but instead is an eventuality that everyone (except Riker, who declared his immortality in "Star Trek Generations") would have to experience.
"There is nothing dignified about withholding water and food, or injecting poison into a person's bloodstream when they are at their lowest point," Zimmerman said. "Death with dignity is not an event. It is the natural result of having lived with dignity."
Zimmerman encouraged her readers to watch "Ethics" on Netflix, or even free online. Hopefully they will steer clear of "Half a Life," which any good Star Trek fan knows took a bit of a different approach when it came to suicide.