On November 7, , while the nation's attention focused on election returns in Florida, an issue that was perhaps as great in importance was being decided in Maine. "Question 1" on the Maine ballot would have legalized "physician help in dying," a euphemism for physician-assisted suicide.
Early polls had indicated the measure had the support of more than 70% of the electorate. However, by election night that sizeable lead had vanished. In a dramatic turnabout, just over 51% of Maine voters decided that it would not be good to legalize euth-anasia after all.
A dynamic team and diverse efforts were involved in the "No on 1" victory. But one dramatic tool that clearly had an impact in educating the church-going public as well as the public at large was the new educational video, DEATH AS A SALESMAN: What's Wrong With Assisted Suicide. Based on the book of the same title written by Brian Johnston, western regional director of National Right to Life, the video is an incisive and dramatically effective documentary on the dangers of legalizing assisted suicide.
In addition to being shown in more than 600 Maine churches, the educational video was also broadcast over several cable access channels. "Many good people, even church-going Christians, are misled by the emotional arguments used by euthanasia advocates," said Jenny Nolan, legislative assistant for NRLC's Department of Medical Ethics, who worked closely with "NO on 1" Committee. "Mr. Johnston's video was a dramatic tool that informed and animated thousands to oppose the siren's song of euthanasia."
The video was filmed throughout the world, and includes compelling interviews with Joni Eareckson Tada, a famous disability rights activist and host of the radio program Joni and Friends, as well as many others. Of particular effect is Johnston's analysis of the "sales methods" commonly used by euthanasia advocates.
The 25-minute film is entirely educational in nature, and makes no reference to legislation, allowing it to be freely used in diverse environments. It is very appropriate for showing in right to life meetings, to bible studies, and in presentations to civic groups as well as to high school and college students.
Offering clear answers and compelling footage, DEATH AS A SALESMAN, the video, has already proved to be an invaluable tool in unmasking the marketing of death. With so many Americans confused about the real nature of the debate, it promises to be a useful and ready tool in this ongoing battle.
The moving image has increasingly eclipsed the written word as America's source of information. The video DEATH AS A SALESMAN was shown not only in churches and community groups in Maine, but also viewed on local cable access channels for free or at minimal cost. A similar effort is now underway in California.
If you would like to help educate your community to the dangers of assisted suicide and reach thousands in a relatively effort- free manner, public access broadcast is a ready method. Materials outlining a local public education campaign are available when ordering copies of the video DEATH AS A SALESMAN. Videos are available directly from the production company for $18.95 plus $3 shipping. Contact New Regency at (800) 266-5639 or (916) 349-3003. Ask for community education and church viewing materials with your order.