Friday, May 20, 2005

Bush Again Threatens Scientific Research

Back during the presidential campaign, when Pres. Bush was seeking reelection, he actually stated that, although he held strong religious beliefs, he would not impose them on Americans, because everyone in America is free to worship and believe as they wish.

During one of the debates, his opponent John Kerry stated that if he were elected, he would be the president of all the people, not just those who fell in line with his concept of morality. Bush must have thought that sounded good, so he later said virtually the same thing.

I had to laugh because, of all the presidents that have been in office during my lifetime, the one who seems to delight most in inflicting his own moral imperatives on the masses is Bush.

Last Friday, he provided yet more proof of this. He stated that if Congress passed legislation that would weaken his ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, he would veto it.

“I worry about a world in which cloning becomes accepted,” Bush said.

Well, I don’t worry about such a world. In fact, I would welcome such a world, as long as the cloning follows well-thought-out universal guidelines. But, as long as Bush is president, those of us who see the advantages in a world where cloning is used to grow organs on demand will just have to look to the future and hope the next president isn’t as intransigent.

But Bush is not only putting a stranglehold on embryonic stem cell research in the United States. He has chastised South Korea for not only allowing such research, but promoting it.

South Korea is one of the nations that has seen the benefit of doing research on stem cells from embryos. The government there has funded the production of cloned human embryos for the purpose of extracting stem cells.

“That represents exactly what we're opposed to,” said White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy.

Everyone involved with the issue, from the White House to the researchers, agree on one issue. Cloning for reproductive purposes should be banned, at least for now. And so it should.

But cloning for scientific research, which is expected to lead to cures for a wide variety of genetic disorders, is extremely important. In fact, since we have the technology to do it, I would suggest that it might be morally wrong on some levels not to pursue it.

There are those, including Bush, who believe that destroying any human life, even if it saves many other lives, is immoral. They say that life as a human being begins at the moment of conception, even if it is artificial conception.

But there are many other reasonable and moral individuals who do not share in this belief. We believe that an embryo created in a Petri dish is not a human being because it was never meant nor expected to develop into one. The intent is the key.

And so, we’re back to Bush’s personal moral imperative being shoved down the throats of those who disagree with him, not on the basis of good science, but on the basis of his own belief system. And that’s exactly the opposite of what he promised during the campaign.

It’s just one more good reason why, despite the pretence of being highly moral, Bush cannot be trusted.

Unfortunately, he has more than three years left to go in his term, and we’ll just have to muddle through. But Congressional elections are coming up next year.

Because of the mess Bush is making of things, recent polls indicate that if an election were held today, Democrats would win. If the trend continues, maybe enough political moderates will be elected to keep Bush’s reactionary agenda in check.

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