Godlessness in the Embryonic Stem Cell Debate

Mark Belz in the June 11 issue of World Magazine hits the nail on the head when he points out that some of us are becoming so wrapped up in our modern society that we have begun rejecting God with abject impunity.

Belz on Modern Godlessness

Belz asks whether it is more dangerous for a society to explicitly or to implicitly reject God. He is talking about our society in which big governments gradually take over the role of God. He says it isn’t just government that is trying to step into this role, but also higher education, modern science and technology and contemporary medicine.

Not that these disciplines are specifically trying to take the place of God: that goal is only implied in their function. They don’t necessarily say God doesn’t exist; they just act like He doesn’t exist. We are gradually being secularized and are making God less important in our daily lives.

Michael Kinsey puts this bluntly when he says there is no place for religious ethics in the debate over embryonic stem cell research. “We know all we are going to know about the moral issue, he writes:

There are three issues: First, do the embryos used for stem cell research and therapy have rights? They are clumps of a few dozen cells, biologically more primitive than a mosquito. They have no consciousness, are not aware that they exist, and never have been. Nature itself creates and destroys millions of these every year. No one objects. No one mourns. In most cases no one even knows.

He then comments:

If my life is worth no more than the survival of one of these clumps, then it is terribly unfair that I can plead my case on the op-ed page and they can’t . But I have no trouble feeling that the government should value my life more than the lives of these clumps. God may disagree. But the government reports to me and to other adult Americans, not to God.

While Belz calls Kinsley’s words startling and audacious, he admits that Kinsley does speak for those who dominate government, academia, business, medicine, science and the media. Practically speaking they think like Kinsley.

“So,” Belz concludes,” God has now moved from being explicitly referred to as ‘Creator’ in our founding documents to being politely ignored, to being explicitly excluded. So I ask which is better to be shut out of discourse while folks pretend otherwise, or to make it official?”

Bells concluded on an ominous note: “No one should pretend that He who sits in the heavens is ignoring all this. It is true that he has remarkable patience. It’s also true that sometimes it’s most quiet just before the storm.”

Benedict Appeals to Italians on Stem Cells

Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged Italians not to take part in ongoing referenda dealing with the use of embryonic stem cells for experiments and three questions on in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination. Benedict said that these laws involve using human beings as things, and he has insisted that human beings can never be reduced to a means.

If 50% of voters fail to take part in the voting, the referenda are invalid. The referenda would attempt to make the laws more liberal.

A story in Monday’s Chicago Sun-Times says the Pope may be getting his way, as few Italians have been turning out to vote. According to the Interior Ministry, only 18.7 percent of voters turned out on the first day of voting.

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