Letters To The Editor
August 02, 2006 - MidWeek
Science is pro-life
Regarding Dan Boylan’s column “Religious Right Sells Out America,” I would rather be right than wrong.
There is no doubt in my mind that science is on the side of the pro-lifers. When the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was rendered, the popular scientific belief at the time was that the fetus was a mass of living tissue. Thanks to advances in science (ultrasound and fiber-optic cameras), we now know that there’s a beating heart at four weeks and it has all of its organs in place at eight weeks. Grandma didn’t know she should read and play music for her baby in the womb, because science at the time didn’t know the baby in the womb would respond positively to this.
While the media focuses on the “Billy Bobs,” as Mr. Boylan refers to them, the religious right is much broader and encompassing. When Roe v. Wade was first rendered, the Billy Bobs at that time either had no opinion or no problem with the decision. It was the Catholic Church that immediately stood up in protest, because they knew from the Didache (first century teaching), “You shall not murder a baby by abortion.”
Cut the hysteria
So President Bush vetoed the use of taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research. Why the hysteria? There is plenty of money already out there. Why is it so important for the federal government to pay to destroy human embryos?
Almost every week, there are announcements of major advances using either adult stem cells or umbilical cord blood cells. The National Right to Life web-site (nrlc.org) has a special section devoted to these reports. By contrast, every experiment using embryonic stem cells has been a disaster -from producing tumors in mice to “absolutely devastating” side-effects from injecting cells from aborted babies into the brains of Parkinson’s patients.
Don Ho went to Thailand so his own adult stem cells could be implanted into his damaged heart. He’s back singing and in good health. Why did he have to go to Thailand? Pro-lifers in Congress have had to fight to even get consideration of federal funding for such trials. Deplorably, a minority of House members on July 18 blocked approval of a bill (S. 2754), which earlier had passed the Senate unanimously, to encourage federal funding of research into methods of obtaining pluripotent stem cells without harming human embryos.
(Pluripotent cells are those that can morph into most types of body tissue.)
Regrettably, Reps. Abercrombie and Case voted against consideration of the bill. It appears that they are interested in funding only the type of stem cell research that kills human embryos. Any scientists who have ideas for non-embryo-killing alternatives need not apply.
Killing to save
As a pastor, let me see if I can present Dan Boylan a reasonable argument for my support of the president’s veto of stem cell research legislation, despite the clear liability of my religious convictions.
Stem cell research is very promising, and has reaped real benefits to suffering individuals. All stem cell success so far has been achieved through the use of non-embryonic stem cells. In theory, embryonic stem cells could also yield medical benefits, though to date they’ve produced none. Those who oppose their use do so because embryonic stem cells must be harvested from living human embryos - which results in the death of the embryo.
This is in essence killing one person in order to possibly relieve the suffering of another.
In his diatribe, Mr. Boylan, despite implicating that he worships at the altar of reason, gave not a single reason why this legislation should have been signed by President Bush. Mr. Boylan may win more converts were he to enlighten them with a bit more reason.
In response to Russell Noguchi’s letter regarding Ehren Watada:
Does signing a contract with the military remove all one’s personal values? Perhaps that is why no soldiers in Nazi Germany stood up against Hitler!
I have faith in today’s soldiers to stand up against moral injustices. Let them speak out despite the peer pressure from a majority that feels the president is always right. In the long run, the truth shall set you free. Lt. Watada is a beacon of truth in a world led by lies. He speaks for the soldiers who are afraid to, and his name will live on far longer in history than those who followed the flock.
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