Remembering Rev. Joseph Kitchen
Compassion & Choices is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Rev. Joseph Kitchen, a Maryland volunteer supporter and activist. Rev. Kitchen served as the president of Young Democrats of Maryland and lent an active voice to progressive politics in the state.
During the 2020 Maryland legislative session, Rev. Kitchen, along with faith leaders from across the state, testified in support of Maryland’s medical aid-in-dying bill, the End-of-Life Option Act, at a hearing before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Feb. 28, 2020. He actively called out misinformation about the bill by proponents, as reported in the media and within his community.
Below, in his words, is an excerpt from his February 2020 op-ed published in The Washington Post:
“Contrary to popular belief, most people of faith don’t oppose medical aid in dying. In fact, a majority of Catholics (65 percent), Protestants (62 percent), Jews (67 percent) and Muslims (52 percent) in Maryland support it, according to 2019 Public Policy Polling showing 66 percent of Marylanders overall support this option. I recently joined faith leaders from Judaism, the Presbyterian Church, the Unitarian Universalist Church and the United Church of Christ at a news conference to express our support for this legislation.
“I grew up as the son and stepson of Baptist ministers before becoming one myself …
“Sadly, in far too many of our churches, we are being given a version of a vengeful, repressive God.” He continued, “I don’t know that God. My God is loving. My God is kind. My God is compassionate. My God is freeing. My God is liberating.”
“Joseph offered a refreshing, passionate, and powerful voice from the faith community to the end-of-life care options movement in Maryland,” said Donna Smith, Compassion & Choices Maryland campaign director. “He will be sorely missed.”