In the winter of 1999, I found myself on a Greyhound bus travelling from Three Rivers, Michigan to Richmond Hill, Ontario. I was moving to L’Arche Daybreak, one of the many communities of people considered intellectually disabled and nondisabled who share life and faith together. A little excited and a little frightened, I went looking for Christian community and a way to live the Gospel. I wound up finding both those things – and a whole lot more.
Utilitarianism forms the backbone of Singer’s theories. For him, ethics and the question of personhood should be rooted in ‘quality of life’ rather than in hypothetical ideas about ‘sanctity’. Much of his thinking revolves around the question “can they suffer?” As such, animals and humans are placed on equal terms. For him the question is not between human and animal, but between ‘person’ and ‘non-person’.