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True Morality Takes a Back Seat

10 Mar

 Obama Signs Order Lifting Restrictions on Stem Cell Research Funding – First 100 Days of Presidency – Politics FOXNews.com
 http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/03/09/obama-lift-restrictions-stem-cell-research-funding/
 Screen clipping taken: 3/10/2009, 5:33 AM

As I read the quote above this morning I found myself taken aback at the recklessness of the president’s thinking on this issue. As I see it there are at least three parts of this quote that I find disturbing.  

  1. Government is the Ultimate Good – The point of Obama’s signing is that only with government investment can embryonic stem cell research make its greatest strides. This statement is simply not the case. The limit in prior years concerned the creation of new stem cell lines. The existing lines were available. Further the limit only restricted government funds from being used to create new lines. In the article above it is made clear that private research on embryonic stem cells have continued and new lines have been created privately. By doing this the President oversteps the bounds of good government in the biblical worldview. Paul’s reasoning in Romans 13:3-4 points to good government being one who protects its people from any wrongdoing and harm. Surely this applies ethically to the way government should deal with medical research. Adult stem cell lines have been successfully used while embryonic ones have been less than successful even in the best funded research. The most tragic consequence of this decision is that the government is further supporting the destruction of human life in the form of the “snowflake babies” that are now available to be developed with taxpayer dollars into new embryonic stem cell lines.
  2. The US must be Best in Everything – Perhaps this point needs to be belabored the most. I think though I do not have enough time to develop this point here. Consider with me the history of the Old Testament kings. There were several of them that had a very secularly successful reigns. Amaziah and Uzziah both kings of Judah had successful reigns until they began to place their trust in be worldly things. Amaziah brought back foreign gods as trophies of sorts from his victory over Edomites. He also trusted his army’s strength against Israel instead of trusting God’s warnings. (2nd Chronicles 25) Uzziah followed the same pattern of his father wanting to be superior militarily than the northern kingdom. Uzziah went to do the job of the priests instead of taking seriously God’s Word. (2nd Chronicles 26). In the case of both of these kings the desire to be superior lead to their destruction. Being the best at things God finds no pleasure in ultimately will lead to our downfall.
  3. A Choice for Funding Embryonic Research is not a Choice Against Morality – Of all the statements in the quote I find this one the most disturbing. In making this decision the president is making a clear choice to uphold science instead of morality. In fact by his very terminology he states that embryonic stem cell research is “sound science”. Unfortunately, “sound science” in this avenue has not made much of an impact on his decision. The sound science of adult stem cell research already is being used to treat patients. These stem cells can be obtained in a morally acceptable manner without the creation of or destruction of human life. Further, by making this decision the president is throwing moral values at least into the back seat of the political bandwagon as a means to inform but not affect public policy when “sound science” is available. After all as Proverbs 14:12 states “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Though this decision may seem right to many men unavoidable human life must be created in order to be destroyed. How can this be morally right or sound scientifically?

      I think of the guiding words of President George Washington in his Farewell Address. He said “And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Washington’s legendary foresight in his address can broadly apply to many situations this nation has faced. In this statement Washington allowed that our society may exists as a moral nation without the confines of a national religion. This could only be the case so long as reasonable people with individual religious principles could come together to forge a national morality. I fear that we have forsaken the insight of these words as a nation. The interior strife we face, Americans against Americans comes not due to our differing religious principles, but in large part to our rejection of any religious principle. When the government actively takes a side against a religious principle how long will it be before the government comes down on the side against all religious principles? Personally what I advocate is governmental neutrality. If good government truly rests on a national morality – which according to Washington is derived from individual religious principles – when an apparent fracture in the foundation of the national morality exists on issues such as embryonic stem cell research, a woman’s right to choose, and on the state of homosexual unions neutrality on the part of the government seems the best path.

    Finally I would like to make one further point. Romans 13 (quoted above) has been seen by many to be imply an unconditional endorsement of government. Paul’s case here is not for the radical endorsement of all that a government may do. Rather it is a statement about a man’s responsibility to government. Obviously it would be a bad and wrong government to force the worship of the leader as a god like the Romans did; however the Romans were given their authority by the one true God. Paul’s writing here is an explicit warning to Christians that even if the government’s policies are bad they should prepare for judgment (Romans 13:2) if they oppose the government. When the Romans decided that the Christians had to worship Caesar as well as the true God Christians willingly accepted death as a judgment for their disobedience to government. For Christians today this is a similar warning. We should do all that is possible to submit to the government (Romans 13:5-7) pay taxes and respect until the day that we must disobey man in order to be faithful to God. When that day arrives we should receive man’s punishment and our heavenly reward.

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Posted by on March 10, 2009 in Ministry of the Word, Shepherding

 

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