Historical Who is Who

FLETCHER, Joseph

1905 - 1991
United States
RELIGION

 

American Episcopalian moral theologian, best known for his exposition in the 1960s of an approach to moral problems characterised as ‘Situation Ethics’. This was widely welcomed as evidence of intelligent Christian engagement with  ‘the real world’. Others, both fellow Christians and rejectors of Christianity saw it  as a ‘sell-out’ of the true authority of the Church and moral law. In full accord  with the official views of the wider Anglican Communion, he supported the use  of contraceptive methods of birth control. He went on to extend the Christian  freedom lovingly to act out moral responsibility in other ways too. For instance,  he provided justification, in certain circumstances, for euthanasia and abortion.  In the following twenty years, many at the Hastings Centre, he was much  involved with medical and bio-ethics, including attempts to define what constitutes humanhood’. He eventually decided that religious belief was more  harm than help in pursuing the moral agenda.

Life

 

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