March 19, 2011
'Nothing Stamped in the Divine Image'By Robert Morrison
A news item from Oklahoma caught my eye recently: "The measure by Rep. George Faught of Muskogee makes it a misdemeanor crime to conduct destructive research on a human embryo or to sell, receive or transfer a human embryo knowing it would be subject to destructive research." I'm not an Okie from Muskogee, but I'd be proud to stand with Rep. George Faught on this one. Except, I'd change the word order: I'd refer to an embryonic human instead.
There's widespread misinformation in this country about what the media calls embryonic stem cell research. By deliberately de-emphasizing the embryonic human and focusing on those stem cells, the media misleads Americans.
Most Americans, Gallup tells us, are pro-life. But polling by Gallup and other reputable firms shows that most Americans also support what is called embryonic stem cell research.
Part of the reason for this is Americans' proper respect for research. Our country leads the world in the development of new life-saving and life-enhancing drugs and medical techniques. I recently went through a battery of medical tests -- and learned to my delight that I did not have cancer. Winston Churchill put it well: Nothing is as exhilarating as to be shot at without result!
So, we honor researchers and support their work, as we should. But do most
Americans know that in order to obtain stem cells from an embryonic human, the experimenters kill those irreplaceable human beings? The media studiously avoids saying this.
Medical science has known since the 1850s that human life begins at conception. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, a new human life commences. Don't take my word for it.
California Medicine is the official journal of a respected medical community. In 1970, they wrote about the confusion over the abortion issue in the media.
Because liberals were determined to push ahead with legalizing abortion, they had to engage in "semantic gymnastics" and "schizophrenic subterfuges" when it came to talking about stem cells, too.
It is doubly tragic to engage in this lethal experimentation on embryonic humans. Not only is it immoral to take innocent human life, but there is a readily available, ethical alternative: adult stem cells.
Dr. David Prentice of Family Research Council (my respected colleague at FRC) has traveled the world, testifying before Congress, state legislatures, and the European Parliament. He has carried the life-affirming message that adult stem cells can be used for treatments of more than 70 different diseases and conditions. None of these treatments kills.
It may be hard for us to see in the first stages of human life what God sees. Our greatest philosophers and statesmen have recognized with awe what is there.
I don't claim that Abraham Lincoln studied embryonic human life. But his tribute to the Declaration of Independence's ideals said the Founders believed: "Nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon and imbruted." Lincoln's beautiful statement applied, of course, to the downtrodden slaves, to the imbruted black people of his day.
Lincoln's re-statement of the Founders' principles can legitimately be applied to human life at every stage of development. People in Lincoln's day tried to argue that black people lacked the same gifts and talents as whites.
Lincoln rebutted that false premise by skillfully arguing that even if that premise were true, the rule of charity is to give to him who has less, not to take from him the little that he has.
What was true of the slave in Lincoln's day is so powerfully true of the unborn child, even the embryonic child, in our time. They, too are stamped in the divine image. What was wrong in slavery and segregation is what is wrong in abortion and lethal attacks on embryonic human beings. In protecting them, we affirm the dignity of our own human lives.