Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stem Cell Research & Barack Obama

I often say the Plain Dealer is a rag, fit only for lining a bird cage, puppy potty training and wrapping some fish. Beside being nothing more than a propaganda periodical shilling for the Greater Cleveland Partnership - I've learned the rag serves as a great place to put your muddy boots. Most often there are only two columnists in the PD worth reading... Kevin O'Brien & Phillip Morris.

In O'Briens column today he addresses Barack O-Baby Killers aloofness towards the sanctity of life...

A reader wrote in recently to explain why people needn't worry when President Barack Obama glibly dismisses the destruction of ordinary Americans' finances, insults a key ally's visiting prime minister, makes clumsy overtures to Russia that get leaked and laughed off, grows federal power exponentially -- that sort of thing.

"Has anyone considered," the reader asks, "that President Barack Obama is very good both at multitasking and at seeing things as a system and interconnected? I think that's why he is doing so many things at the same time. Most of us do not have these skills and are lost by his process and speed."

I'll be darned. And all this time, I thought he was trying to keep us from guessing which shell the pea was under.

But when it comes to contemplating the ethics of stem cell research, even the Master Multitasker appears to have hit the limit of weighty issues he can juggle.

Sorry, no time. Busy-busy.

No one was surprised when, within hours of taking office, he swept away an executive order that prohibited American tax money funding abortions in foreign lands. That was just the reinstatement of a Clinton-era rule -- disappointing, morally wrong, but both expected and familiar.

Last week, though, Obama got quite a bit more adventurous, announcing plans to scrap a Department of Health and Human Services rule that allows health care workers to refuse, for moral or religious reasons, to participate in abortions.

That was a new rule, promulgated by the Bush administration on its way out the door.

When the pro-life Bush was in office, medical practitioners possessed of a functioning conscience didn't need the protection. But now that they need it, they can't have it. On some matters, the new administration is in no mood to allow conscientious objectors. We're all in this together, even when "this" is what a lot of us consider murder.

People who work in and support Catholic hospitals hope this item is on Obama's to-talk-about list rather than his to-do list, and maybe they'll luck out. But judging by his past extremist rhetoric and his voting record on abortion-related issues, this may just be one of those rare instances when he actually means exactly what he says.

Then there's this week's decision to open the federal floodgates for stem cell research that involves the destruction of human embryos. There's no opt-out for this one, either, fellow taxpayers. You're in.

The president doesn't want you to worry about any thorny moral, religious or ethical questions, either. He says this is all about science, and that scientists will make all of the decisions about how best to proceed.

So, does Obama speak for you on that? Does it make sense to detach the "can we" questions of science from the "should we" questions of morality and ethics, especially when human lives are at stake? Are we really done with that discussion, just because it happens to bore Barack Obama?

There is every expectation that the National Institutes of Health will decide, as it did in 1994, the last time it was asked, that it should have the authority and the federal funding to create human embryos expressly for purposes of research.

Bill Clinton -- hardly a rabid pro-lifer -- said no to that, after an overwhelmingly negative public response. Obama hopes to short-circuit that public response so he can answer, "Whatever."

His strategy is to pretend that this is a purely scientific issue, devoid of moral and political content, when in fact, it's freighted with both.

Politically, his order will please that considerable element of his constituency for whom abortion rights are always the first priority and anything that diminishes the public's regard for unborn children is a plus.

But it's risky politics, too. A healthy portion of Catholics and evangelical Christians who voted for Obama and other Democrats are experiencing buyer's remorse. If they wish to support Obama on every other matter, so be it. But on matters of innocent human life and death, they cannot in good conscience support him.

He's proving that one thing he said during his campaign was true: This kind of decision is above his pay grade. More to the point, it's beyond his moral capacity.

On this one, the governed should loudly withhold their consent.

1 comment:

  1. http://www.johnhanson.net/ John Hanson (1715-1783) was the first president (1780-1783) of the United States under the Confederation before the Constitution. He was an Oldenburg Moor, a black nobleman, and he, like, Elijah-Baptist-Mehdi, went to heaven in a chariot of fire and never died. He has returned as Obama!

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