Responses to: Contrary to A Popular Assumption
Your recent article about stem cell research was interesting. You reported that federal funds are not used for abortion. While this is on the books, it is technically not true. All federal employees have a government paid health care system that covers abortion, which in fact can be reduced to government funded and endorsed abortion. It's just another contradiction in our federal government.
Thanks for your e-mail reports.
- S. C.
Your articles on many things have been largely thought provoking and well-thought-out.
I would love to see you build on the past columns you've done about the separation of church and state to actually consider what the first amendment actually says and what the papers of the founding fathers say about what was intended by that amendment, taking the focus away from a phrase that I believe appears only in one of Jefferson's letters.
In a couple of other areas you're starting to lose me as a fan - in these areas you appear to have abandoned your high ground of well-conceived combinations of faith and reason to opinions verging on the kind of right-wing dogma that gives Christians of all stripes a bad name. These areas are globalization and stem cell research.
In the case of global trade, while individuals certainly suffer as jobs and trade becomes globalized, nations prosper. America has prospered enormously through globalization. Further, it is only, practically, by a combination of trade and of the US setting a real example of love and moral behavior (as a country and as individuals) that boundaries of hate and resentment can be pulled down. As the most prosperous, most heavily polluting country in the world America should sacrifice something to bring the rest of the world up, to remove the huge economic gaps that spawn global terrorism and to live up to its responsibilities to the world.
In the case of stem cell research and cloning, I don't believe that the tremendous potential to end human suffering in diseases like Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis etc should be set aside because of the fate of a few embryos. Goodness, we seem entirely willing to allow the ongoing sacrifice of thousands of totally conscious living people due to this country's (almost unique in the developed world) love affair with firearms. We have also (reasonably) in the past conscripted unwilling grown men to fight the scourge of Nazism. Why get so upset about what people might do with stem cell technology - why not closely monitor progress and ensure that if the lives of some nascent human beings are sacrificed, that they are sacrificed responsibly for the good of all humanity while ensuring that non-benign uses of the technology are anticipated and prevented. We could, if we chose, regard any embryos that are sacrificed in this cause like the grown men that laid down their lives agains
t Nazism, willingly or not. Both are heroes in the fight against a global scourge.
I would love to see this column deal with any or all of the following issues in America and to do so from a biblical perspective, not from the perspective of the political agenda that the so-called 'religious' right has laid out for us:
Gun Control in the US or the lack of it
Global Warming and other environmental issues
Israel and the Palestinians
Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and the treatment of foreign prisoners
Our responsibilities to the poor - both at home and in the rest of the world (Africa is a particularly topical case)
- J. P.
The missing element in every human 'solution' is an accurate
definition of the creature. The way we define 'human'
determines our view of self, others, relationships, institutions,
life, and future. Important? Only the Creator who made us in
His own image is qualified to define us accurately. Choose
wisely. There are -- and will be -- results.
Many problems in human experience are the result of false
and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised in man-
made religions and humanistic philosophies.
Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe. The
balance is a vast void of human ignorance. Human reason
cannot fully function in such a void, thus, the intellect
can rise no higher than the criteria by which it perceives
and measures values.
Humanism makes man his own standard of measure. However,
as with all measuring systems, a standard must be greater
than the value measured. Based on preponderant ignorance
and an egocentric carnal nature, humanism demotes reason
to the simpleton task of excuse-making in behalf of the
rule of appetites, desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.
Because man, hobbled in an ego-centric predicament, cannot
invent criteria greater than himself, the humanist lacks
a predictive capability. Without instinct or transcendent
criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with foresight
and vision for progression and survival. Lacking foresight,
man is blind to potential consequence and is unwittingly
committed to mediocrity, averages, and regression - and
worse. Humanism is an unworthy worship.
The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with a
functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the foot-
dragging growth of human knowledge and behavior. Faith,
initiated by the Creator and revealed and validated in His
Word, the Bible, brings a transcendent standard to man the
choice-maker. Other philosophies and religions are man-
made, humanism, and thereby lack what only the Bible has:
1.Transcendent Criteria and
2.Fulfilled Prophetic Validation.
The vision of faith in God and His Word is survival equip-
ment for today -- and the future.
Man is earth's Choicemaker. He is by nature and
nature's God a creature of Choice - and of Criteria.
His unique and definitive characteristic is, and of Right
ought to be, the natural foundation of his environments,
institutions, and respectful relations to his fellow-man.
Thus, he is oriented to a Freedom whose roots are in
the Order of the universe.
The human family dare not sow the seeds of cannibalism.
We have been warned.
- J. F. B.
It is ironic that we are concerned with embryos when we the Society, the Government, the Community, the Parents don't care the Danger that awaits our live children when they go out of our homes. We give so much emphasis to; Drugs, Arm Robbery Criminals, end so on, but what about the Sexual Predators that are walking the streets just waiting to make their move on an ease pray.
Our children are Not safe including women, even Senior Citizens and boys are exposed to this Animals! How can the Government take this offense not serious enough and send them back to the community when they should be either Segregated, or in jail, this predators should be kept locked once they commit the first offense, why wait until they destroy more lives, this should considered as Killing , these are mentally ill people showing remorse just to be given a second chance, it is impressive how they are trusted, they will continue destroying until they are caught and comes to the light other wise they are protected because they report the next morning? Do they have a tracking device? How do the Officer knows what he did, to whom and how many so far? Texas pride is their State size why not building a colony "something like are 51" only for them, if the poor are separated in a so called projects, why the predators are free when they should be far way from the community. I moved
from another State and the city thinking it will be safer for my children and this place has a concentration, the Cities or Counties should list Warning or Attention! Sexual Predator's Community" I did some research about the area where I live, and let me tell you I am Terrified! They are Soooo Many that it is Scary to allow my children to go out alone, one was living one street way from mine, I contacted the police, the State Police, Email the Government and I will keep moving this until someone those something quick,. The local Parole officer called me yesterday to let me know the predator had moved to Houston, Have you ever heard the News! every single day one or more children are kidnapped, abused, taken away from their mothers and later thrown out (disposed) we know of only those taken out to the light. It is so sad that Nobody cares about it, this is common and OK! With the USA Government! We are so like Iraq and Bin Ladin, Sending WOMD "Predators" to destroy our own
Country our communities our children and pass on their legacy to make more abusers "Fact" Is there something you can do about it! What a challenge. The "FREE COUNTRY" slogan is just a lay. What would you do if one of those children were yours? Would you plea to give the predator a second chance? What if one of those children were yourself when you were a kid! Do the Government realize that the real world can not afford to leave surrounded by body guards, or expensive neighborhoods?.
- C. C.
Scary stuff, isn't it! And this country, Canada, is in many ways, more
liberal than yours. Right now the minority Liberal government is trying to push through bill C38 legalizing same sex ':marriage" before the summer recess. And there is NO LAW protecting preborn children from the likes of Henry Morgantaler, notorious abortionist, and his ilk. Henry Morgentaler lost his license to practice medicine some time ago but the University of Western Ontario with its theological colleges including a Roman Catholic college, is planning to honour this man with an honourary doctorate. There are a couple of petitions ongoing, one to try and stop the granting of the degree and another from a very left wing group to endorse the choice. The opponents now have over 12,000 signatures.
Two points: One: We started the slide down the slippery slope with Rowe versus Wade and other moves to liberalize abortion including my native England which allowed first trimester abortions beginning in 1967. Now we have a situation where only a vocal group of Christian pro-lifers are still working for the protection of the developing baby. and Two: Isn't the use of adult stem cells equally, or even more, useful?
Listening to the radio last evening, I heard that a young man in Texas was going to be sentenced for murder because he caused the death of his girl friend's twins [he was the father]. She asked him to jump on her abdomen hoping to cause a miscarriage, which he did. Does that mean that abortion is not legal in Texas? Or that there's a difference between causing a miscarriage and ending the baby's life in a clinic or hospital? When we break God's word it only causes confusion.
Keep up the good work. Yours in Christ Jesus,
- J. N.
Regarding Andrew Sullivan's quote, "No American taxpayer should be required to fund from her own dollars what she regards as a moral outrage." I and millions of others consider war "a moral outrage." But we have to cough up our taxes like everybody else. Outrageous! - G. B.
Your article on stem cell research and cloning brings up some good points, especially regarding cloning, which I agree is potentially a hideous infringement upon nature and the sovereignty of God. Some other words from the article, however, had an even greater impact upon my emotions. The author expresses concern for American taxpayers who should not need to fund something that they consider to be "terribly immoral, even murderous". Further, it is stated that "forcing these dissenters to pay their hard-earned tax dollars for activities they detest would be to violate society's duty to respect diverse opinions of its citizens." You even quote Andrew Sullivan when he describes his view on the matter: "No American taxpayer should be required to fund from her own dollars what she regards as a moral outrage."
In those words, you have neatly summed my own feelings regarding Bush's immoral and, as stated by the leaders of his own Christian denomination, unjust, war in Iraq. I would be pleased to see such eloquent concern expressed in tothesource for the lives of Iraqi children, and those in other countries as well, who have suffered as a result of Bush policies. The moral outrage that many American citizens feel about the war in Iraq and other foreign policy embarrassments of this administration surely compares to that which is expressed in the article about stem cell research and cloning. Yet, if those of us who feel that way would not have to pay the military percentage of our taxes to support such immoral acts and policies, there probably could be no war. (Note--just this morning, a report is out that 52% now feel negative about the war.)
So, yes, this administration is speaking out about what is right and wrong on this particular issue, and I think that there is some validity to what they are saying. However, there are many other moral issues of equal importance for which this administration gets a failing grade--and this has resulted in a severe decline in America's credibility and level of respect in the world.
- D. N.
Hasn't the government been funding the destruction of innocent human life through the needless war in Iraq? What about capital punishment? It's been proven that some of these people are innocent, too. President Bush is not the moral icon you make him out to be. This idea that you must support Bush to be a Christian is for hypocrits and liars. Please take me off your email list immediately.
- P. J.
I guess I will learn to listent to the "sky is falling" metality of those afraid of stem cell research when I hear the same people just as concerned about thousnds and thousands dying in Iraq (not so disturbing to many because they are mostly Iraqis) as they are concerned about a stem cell. Why is the upholding of some values that are Christian not extend to others? I believe the spirit of the Christ as well as the words of the Gospels suggest "loving your enemy, etc.." Yet we accept pre-emptive strikes and pre-meditated wars with no concern about crossing a moral and ethical line. I think we sometimes strain at a gnat. . .and swall camels. - D. D.
It seems to me that you have gotten things backwards with this ban on embryonic stem cell research.,if it is murder to use these embryos for research then certainly it is murder to discard them as this administration is demanding. Please remove me from this republican propaganda list.
- B. J.