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The culture of death is a term described first by Pope John Paul II in his March 25, 1995 encyclical titled Evangelium Vitae. It is the devaluing of human life in the culture with its historic roots dating back to the 19th century social Darwinism. It describes the evils of abortion, assisted suicide, forced sterilization, murder, genocide and whatever violates the integrity of the human person. These poison human society and are a supreme dishonor to God. This cultural climate gives crimes against life a new and more sinister character. The destruction of human lives is extremely disturbing and a significant cause of grave moral decline. All peoples consciences are affected by the culture of death and if left unchecked, all human rights will be violated. "This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency." Under the guise of rights, the truth is distorted and contradicted making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life. The culture of death is countered by life in all its stages, from conception to natural death. At the center is the incomparable worth of the human person.
- The Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America by Wesley J. Smith ISBN 189355449X
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