Sunday, May 29, 2005

Stem Cell Theology

In today's Washington Post is a column by Jerome Groopman titled "Beware of Stem Cell Theology," noting the difficulty involved in gleaning a definitive Biblical position on human personhood and the ease with which selected passages can be manipulated for political gain.
But it is also foolish, and wrong, to use the founders of Judaism, Islam and Christianity as foils to support the current administration's views on pressing moral questions in medicine. It demonstrates a remarkable ignorance about the diversity of religious thought concerning when life begins, when it ends and what makes it sacred.
The Bible is nothing if not malleable, and has been used at one time or another to justify all sorts of absurd practices and proscriptions. While we understand and accept that documents like the U.S. Constitution are subject to evolving interpretation, it seems that the basis for an absolutist morality should provide clear, definitive and unalterable guidance. That it does not - especially with respect to the stem cell issue - should preclude its use as the basis for imposing restrictions on scientific progress.

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