Jewish and Christian ministers have defied their hierarchies to back a Bill legalising assisted suicide.
Clergy members from the Church of England and Orthodox, Methodist and Unitarian churches as well as rabbis declared their support for a Bill to legalise assisted dying tabled in the House of Lords this week.
The Inter Faith leaders for Assisted Dying (IFDiD) said they were backing those who are terminally ill and request help to die.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, the group’s coordinator, said: “We believe in the sanctity of life but not the sanctity of suffering.”
The group are due to meet for a seminar in London on Monday and will be addressed by Labour peer former lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, who presented the assisted dying Bill for a formal first reading on Wednesday.
“There have been a number of debates for and against assisted dying, but this is the first opportunity we have had to look in some detail at the issue from a faith perspective, and the first time that ministers from different faiths have come together in support of assisted dying,” Dr Romain said.
“I hope that we will help to change the common misconception that faith and support for assisted dying are mutually exclusive.”
Under the Falconer Bill, the person choosing an assisted death would have to be able to take the final action to end their life, by ingesting life-ending medication.
It would not legalise euthanasia by doctors administering the fatal dose.
Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying campaign group, said: “IFDiD illustrates that not all faith leaders are opposed to people having the choice of an assisted death, and this seminar will help to reinforce this.
“Polling consistently finds that the majority of people with faith support a change in the law to allow the choice of assisted dying, and the voices of these people have been drowned out thus far by a vocal minority who oppose the choice.”