Destroying Human Life at Tax-payers’ Expense

Today, President Barack Obama signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Let’s be clear about what this means. Tax-payers will now be forced to pay for research that destroys innocent human life in its earliest stages.

You wouldn’t have known what was at stake had you listened to President Obama’s remarks today just before he signed the order. In fact, you wouldn’t even have known that human life was on the line at all. Here is the justification that President Obama gave for signing what amounts to a death-warrant for embryonic human life.

“In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.”

Did you see his argument? I didn’t either. It’s because there’s not one. He simply argued by assertion that funding the destruction of human life is moral. Obama says nothing about the moral status of the embryonic human beings that his order will destroy. Is it too much to expect the President of the United States to offer at least some sort of rationale for denying the humanity of those he would destroy in the name of scientific advance? High approval-ratings may make that kind of argument fly before an undiscerning American electorate, but it won’t fly before the only tribunal that counts.

President Obama says that he believes that “we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering,” yet he does not believe that we are called to care for embryonic human life. How can he so casually exclude from the human community a whole class of persons? Does advancing science to ease the suffering of one set of humans justify the destruction of another set of humans? Apparently, he thinks it does. But where does this logic take us? If human embryos are not protected from this destructive research, are human fetuses? What about “unviable” fetuses? What about “unviable” babies? What about “unviable” humans at any stage of development? Obama may not see where his bankrupt reasoning takes us, but this is where it goes nonetheless.

President Obama also said that we need science to be free from “ideology.” In his own words:

“Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s also about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about letting scientists like those who are here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”

Really? Does the President actually want science unbound by ideology? What about an “ideology” defined by its commitment to preserving the rights of innocent human life? Does Obama really want scientific inquiry to be free from an obligation to protect human life? Isn’t this the kind of ideology-free science that the Nazi’s used to exclude Jews and gypsies from the human community? Contrary to what many “progressives” would have us believe, scientific inquiry is not value-neutral. Science can be used for good or for ill. There are all kinds of things that scientists can do but shouldn’t. But the President speaks as though what science can do it then should do. That is deadly logic and morally bankrupt.

Obama is once again living up to his word. Signing this order is exactly what he promised to do during his campaign, and it is an affront to the sanctity of human life.

13 Responses to Destroying Human Life at Tax-payers’ Expense

  1. Chris Garner March 9, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    I really liked that line “scientific inquiry is not value-neutral.” Kind of makes you wonder if they know that?

  2. Matt Privett March 10, 2009 at 12:38 am #

    Dr. Burk, you said, “Is it too much to expect the President of the United States to offer at least some sort of rationale for denying the humanity of those he would destroy in the name of scientific advance?”

    To steal a phrase from the President, I guess that’s “above his pay grade.”

    To be free from ideology is a convenient way of sounding morally superior, but it only sounds that way. You said it right. It’s morally bankrupt.

    What is at least equally bothersome to me is that it seems a majority of evangelicals, even conservative evangelicals, do not put two and two together when it comes to embryonic stem cell research. It is every bit the taking of human life that abortion is, every bit the tragedy, every bit immoral.

  3. volfan007 March 10, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    The sad reality is that we have a President of death. He is proud to sign off on things that will lead to the death of many, many children.

    America is getting what she wanted.

    I hope that she’s ready to reap the whirlwind.

    David

  4. Gary Matthews March 10, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    Thought you would find this interesting, too.
    http://www.ur.umich.edu/0809/Mar09_09/19.php
    “The A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies is the first major embryonic stem cell research program launched in Michigan since the Nov. 4 passage of a state constitutional amendment allowing scientists to create new stem cell lines using surplus embryos from fertility clinics.” [emph. mine]

  5. Brian Krieger March 10, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    How can he so casually exclude from the human community a whole class of persons?
    The way so many of us do as well (and there’s a big finger pointed at me) and that is silence. Embryos (those in and out of the womb) don’t speak and can’t scream. In the same manner, I am often more callous towards those in need because they do not live right next door to me.

    You know, when I saw this yesterday, my thought (as was Matt’s) was to the president’s “that’s above my pay grade” comment. Obviously, identifying that is not above his pay grade. He just didn’t want to say what he really thought (neither escr or abortion involve human life). Or, more frighteningly, maybe he does and these “balls of tissue” are an inconvenience…..yikes! When he got elected, I thought that the FOCA “promise” was a typical political, um, truth stretching (as in it wouldn’t be the first bill he signed and it perhaps wouldn’t even come to table). Now, though, it seems as thought that is on a very clear agenda. As he stated about his daughter having an abortion, carrying that child may be too much of a burden. I think we’ll eventually see how much and who is an inconvenience (again, contrary to the “above my pay grade” comment).

  6. Ken March 10, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Someone needs to ask him would he kill his daughters to: “. . .to care for each other and work to ease human suffering”.

  7. Micah March 10, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    I have a question, is there anything we can do to avoid having our tax money go to this research? Do you foresee a time when Christians would be morally obligated to stop paying taxes because of our government’s funding choices. If so, what would it take for you to make that decision.

  8. Nathan March 10, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    This is not above the presidents pay grade. He signed the executive order! He issued the decree! This is exactly what President’s are paid to do; issue executive orders (among other things).

    If it was above his pay grade, he should have told Congress to come to a legislative decision and said that he will sign whatever they deem appropriate.

    Also, the President and the “scientific” community he supposedly relies on are ignoring the scientific data that the overwhelming number of advances (huge numbers) are from adult stem cells. So the President chooses to kill the unborn rather than scientifically view the data and put the resources into Adult Stem Cell Research.

    Sure he values Science, NOT!

  9. Brian Krieger March 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Nathan:

    That’s a question that loomed in my mind back when they (were forced to?) began using adult stem cells (more aggressively?). But I suppose part of the rebuttal is that the scientific community was forced to research adult cells (though, in my logic, it makes more sense to learn to adapt adult cells as they are far more readily available….but what do I know, I’m just a begonia.).

    You know, even in this extremely short amount of a presidency, there are some cool things that have just been wiped out by (and I suppose I’m just too stodgy) a complete moral failure on the actions against the innocent unborn.

    Michah:

    That’s an interesting question. I think that there could be a time. We are to obey princes and principalities and give to Caesar, etc. But it seems that it could eventually come to that kind of a question (though I stress could as I just don’t think it will ever get there). Mostly, for example, I think it would have to be a situation akin to people collecting money that they tell you will specifically be used to euthanize the elderly, force abortions, etc. I think there is (just?) enough people between my taxes and the final disbursement that it doesn’t fall to me (I suppose I think of paying taxes as in Matthew 17). What do you think, Michah?

  10. Nathan March 10, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    Brian,

    There is an assumption that the scientific community was “forced” to use adult stem cells, however there were already embryos that had been destroyed that former President Bush allow research on. So those lines of embryonic stem cells have been used by the scientific community with no tangible results to show, whereas the adult stem cell lines have already proven their worth.

    The “scientific” community stills purports that embryonic stem cell lines will yield more, but they have nothing to base it on at this point other than theory.

    So, the President, being careful to avoid dealing with issues of the unborn that are above his pay, grade abdicated his power over the discussion to the scientific community.

    Translated: He is either too naive to realize he just made a “pay grade decision” or he knew exactly what he was doing.

    Bet on the latter, the man is not stupid.

  11. Brian Krieger March 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    Yeah, if I remember correctly, there was an article on CNN or in Time that indicated a paradigm shift in a large block of the scientific community wrt adult stem cells. I seem to recall the word “amazed” being used in the scientist’s comments.

    And you’re right. He is far from stupid. That man is shaaaa-arp.

  12. Travis Smith March 13, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    So I have been thinking about this for the past couple of days. There is nothing I really can do about Obama that I really want to spend my time and efforts. My greatest concern is the eventual ethical question now that this has been signed into law: What should we as Christians do with the medical results (and the solutions it provides) that embryonic research may produce? Check out my blog post here: http://travisthoughts.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/ethics-of-using-medical-data-gained-from-embryonic-research/

  13. Harrison Lewis March 14, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    As a Medical Scientist, I reviewed the executive order, which I believe it is necessary to do before people start calling this President a destroyer of human life. Under the Bush administration, embryonic stem cells harvested prior to a certain date were still allowed to be used. Was he also a destroyer of human life.

    Lets be clear about the science and were these cells are derived before such unfounded statements are made in a supposedly “academic community.” The President has not given the government to fund development or creation of embryonic stem cells, but has given the NIH the ability to review its funding of research on those Stem cells harvested after the arbitrary date (2001) imposed by the Bush administration. As a scientist and Christian I certainly undertand and value the sanctity of life and God’s creations, but please; don’t be blinded by ones owns ideaology before you review the facts. In fact, the president will review the NIH’s assessment in 120 post signing the executive order.

    My advice is to get all the facts before such hateful and hurtful (undercover) remarks are made about the President of the United States. God bless you all and see the fact sheet from the White House itself below.

    FACT SHEET ON PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE ORDER

    REMOVING BARRIERS TO RESPONSIBLE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
    INVOLVING HUMAN STEM CELLS

    Today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation. Its time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore Americas place as the world leader in science and technology. – President Barack Obama

    Today, in conjunction with the issuance of a new Presidential memo on scientific integrity, President Obama is signing a Presidential Executive Order removing barriers to responsible scientific research involving human stem cells.

    This Executive Order by President Obama revokes the Executive Order signed by President Bush on June 20, 2007 and the Bush Presidential statement of August 9, 2001 that limited federal funding of research involving human embryonic stem cells.

    The previous Administration allowed the National Institutes of Health to fund human embryonic stem cell research on cell lines created before an arbitrary date, August 9, 2001, but prohibited research on cell lines created after that date. The Executive Order signed by President Obama today lifts this restriction, which has no basis in science and was not required by any law.

    Under the Obama Executive Order signed today, the Director of NIH is instructed to develop guidelines for the support and conduct of responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research, to the extent permitted by law. Doing this will involve gathering the necessary scientific data and published best practices. NIH will then post draft guidelines for public comment, and will carefully review of all the public responses. Within 120 days of the signing of the Executive Order, NIH will issue final guidance.

    Research involving human embryonic stem cells and human non-embryonic stem cells has the potential to lead to better understanding and treatment of many disabling diseases and conditions. Advances over the past decade in this promising scientific field have been encouraging, leading to broad agreement in the scientific community that the full range of promising stem cell research should be supported by Federal funds.

    The purpose of this Order is to remove these limitations on scientific inquiry, to expand NIH support for the exploration of human stem cell research, and in so doing to enhance the contribution of America’s scientists to important new discoveries and new therapies for the benefit of humankind.

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