from my newly-redesigned blog, Basie!
Extremist conservatives like to make every issue black and white, no more so than those pertaining to "life." Stem cell research is a prime example, where further discoveries could lead to therapies and drugs that could save millions of lives, but the right still opposes funding because embryos in petri dishes -- that would otherwise be thrown out -- might be harmed.
The issue clearly is not black and white, however. Likewise, there is not one morality -- Evangelical, for instance -- that governs the country. As Forward's E.J. Kessler reports, the Orthodox Union -- who represents the most fundamentalist Jews -- has come out in favor of a new effort to fund stem cell research.
The Orthodox Union is lending its support to a contentious House bill that would expand federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.
The bill, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, sponsored by Rep. Michael Castle, a Delaware Republican, and by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, seeks to extend federal funding to research on stem-cell lines derived from excess embryos created in fertility clinics. Currently federal law restricts funding for the research to several stem-cell lines derived before August 9, 2001.
The restrictions were enacted at the urging of Catholic and conservative Christian groups, which opposed the research because they believe embryos to be human beings. Proponents of the research -- including most Jewish groups -- believe that embryos outside the womb do not constitute human beings and that the benefits of such research outweigh the destruction of the cells.
In a letter to members of the House of Representatives, the union wrote, "By insisting that publicly funded stem-cell research be conducted on cells derived from embryos donated to IVF clinics in excess and were in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking IVF treatment, and by requiring prior consultation with and consent of the donors, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act serves to value and venerate the sanctity of life and our responsibilities to our fellow man and woman."
President Bush appears poised to veto the measure should it come to his desk. If this is his course of action, it would be a real shame. Millions of people across the world suffer from debilitating diseases that could potentially be cured by stem cell research, but adhering to the extremist ideology of James Dobson and others is inhibiting America's ability to participate in this worldwide effort
Americans would find it appalling to hear that Nigerian Muslim clerics warned their followers against taking the polio vaccine because they claim it speads AIDS. Dobson's claims about stem cell research are little different. It's time for America to take the moral high ground and invest in the type of reseach that will potentially save millions of lives rather than allow one ideology to hold us back.
check out my political blog at Basie.org