Showing posts with label embryonic stem-cells. Show all posts
Showing posts with label embryonic stem-cells. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Making a Deal with the devil

Bzz bzzz bzzzzz! Did you hear about the Catholic bishops' conference being in bed with the pro-aborts?

Bzz bzzz bzzzzz! It's the Catholic Campaign for Human Development! They gave money to the socialist baby-killer-backers!

Bzz bzzz bzzzzz! The head of the place was on the board of one of those commie-lib poverty-pimp outfits. And they're backing gay marriage and abortion rights!


OF COURSE, the American Life League and the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry never bothered to contact anyone at the CCHD for comment -- that was left to Our Sunday Visitor, which was reporting on the online conflagration. Then again, it's not like these folks are real journalists -- the kind who seek facts and strive for balance -- they just play them on the Internet.

What we have here are activists in search of "gotcha," and that's fine. Just don't pretend it has anything to do with journalism . . . or Catholicism.

Now, mind you, I don't doubt that there's at least some smoke where the witch hunt says it has uncovered the towering inferno. Frankly, I find that the Catholic "peace-and-justice" crowd is at least as consumed by progressive politics as the Catholic "pro-life" crowd is by a slavish devotion to Republican talking points.

And it matters not whether you're prattling on about how "we are church" or happen to be more Catholic than the pope, it's still a sad fact that Jesus Christ and Catholic doctrine get pimped out to politicians and principalities.

In a church no less riven than anything else about the United States these days, that's to be expected. Alas.

BUT THE AWARD for excellence in unmitigated gall and sheer hypocrisy has to go to "conservative" Catholic "intellectual" Deal Hudson, who has busied himself touting what awful sinners the commie-libs at the CCHD be.

What abortion supporters the commie-libs at the CCHD be.

What Bad Catholics (TM) the commie-libs at the CCHD be.

From the Inside Catholic website:
This is the second round of incriminating evidence presented by ALL and BVM about the [Center for Community Change]. Three months ago, they issued a press release and supporting research regarding 31 CCHD grantees with a relationship to CCC -- all of which was ignored by the USCCB.

As ALL's Michael Hichborn points out, these reports have "revealed no less than fifty organizations (one fifth of all CCHD grantees from 2009) that are, in some capacity, engaged in pro-abortion or pro-homosexual causes ( The sad thing, however, is that these recent revelations manifest a pattern of cooperation stretching back for decades."

These latest findings make it impossible for the USCCB not to sever its ties with the CCC. However, the situation is made more difficult by the news that John Carr -- who oversees the CCHD as the USCCB's Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development -- served on the CCC board from 1999 to 2006 and on its executive committee from 1999 to 2001. Carr was hired by the USCCB in 1987, but his involvement with the CCC goes back to 1983.

ALL research shows that in 2000, while Carr served on its executive committee, CCC itself received a $150,000 grant from the USCCB. Carr's resume at the USCCB Web site does not mention his service at the CCC, while other published versions of his resume do.
I'D LISTEN to Deal if I were you. After all, it takes one to know one . . . on all counts.

Let's go back to the summer of 2001, shall we? That's when President George W. Bush was trying to figure out what to do about funding embryonic stem-cell research.

Historically, the Catholic Church has been -- forgive my phraseology -- death on research involving fetal and embryonic stem cells. That's because it all starts, somewhere, with dead fetuses and discarded, cannibalized human embryos.

And even if you're not the one doing the killing of a developing human being, conducting research with the cannibalized "parts" constitutes significant "cooperation with evil."

Look at it this way, "Well, they were dead anyway, and we didn't want them to go to waste" was the same justification the Nazis gave for making lampshades out of the skin of Holocaust victims, not to mention harvesting the gold fillings they'd no longer be needing.

You shouldn't be surprised that Catholics think Jesus Christ would frown on such.

Not that that stopped Hudson, among other "conservative" Catholic "intellectuals," from trying to gild the moral-theology lily as they "advised" Bush, which is what I think folks call influence-peddling nowadays. From a July 8, 2001, article in the Los Angeles Times:
Now, however, three conservative Catholics who advise the White House are saying a compromise may be possible. Depending on how the details shape up, these opinion leaders may publicly offer arguments for why some funding of embryo experiments is morally acceptable and help Bush win support for the policy among Catholic leaders and voters.

The advisors are focusing in particular on one option, now under discussion among White House aides, in which the government would pay only for research that uses existing stem cells scientists already have isolated from embryos. Any experiment that caused the destruction of additional embryos to obtain new cells would be ineligible for federal funds.

Spokesmen for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents the church in the United States, specifically have rejected this idea, saying it would make the government complicit in embryo destruction. But one of the nation's leading Catholic thinkers on abortion issues now is offering a different view. "I can imagine circumstances in which this would not only be politically acceptable but could be a morally justified policy," said Robert P. George, a moral philosopher at Princeton University who participates in a weekly telephone conference of Catholic intellectuals that often includes White House staff.

Another participant in the weekly calls, Rev. Robert A. Sirico, who leads a Michigan-based ethics think tank, said he has told the White House that the compromise might be regarded as acceptable and consistent with church teachings if it ensures that the government never pays for the destruction of another embryo.

"I am open to it," said Deal W. Hudson, editor and publisher of Crisis, a Catholic magazine. While the compromise would be "a victory for those who want to use embryonic stem cells, it can also be seen as a victory for the pro-life side," Hudson said, "because it ensures, for the time being, that there is no more government support for the destruction of embryos for their stem cells."

The stem cell issue came up during the conference call Thursday, Sirico said, but he would not give details. The Catholic advisors have seen no formal proposal and have not endorsed any.

Still, the comments from the three advisors suggest there is more diversity among conservative Catholic leaders regarding the stem cell issue than previously has appeared in public debate. If Bush moves in any way to support embryo cell research, it will be crucial that he win the support of at least some conservative Catholic leaders, George said. "Then they could say there's a range of opinion and that this issue is not like abortion or euthanasia," which are uniformly condemned by church leaders and ethicists.
AFTER BUSH announced his decision, which was unappreciated by the Catholic hierarchy, I heard from a friend tuned in to such matters that, according to "Catholic gossip circles in DC," Hudson had been "spotted around town looking like the cat who ate the canary today."

This friend said he'd heard that Hudson was "praising Bush's decision as 'Thomistic,' and taking credit for influencing the president's thinking -- which I'm sure he did."

Pot. Kettle. Black.

And we won't even go into why it was that Hudson abruptly quit as a "Catholic-outreach adviser" to Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. That was a doozy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Confederacy of Dunces

This is what the American university has come to.

When faced with questions so fraught with scientific, moral and ethical complexities as embryonic stem-cell research, top brass of the University of Nebraska now have been reduced to making arguments they wouldn't accept from their teen-agers for even a nanosecond.

"But DAAAAAAAAD, all the cool kids are doing it!"

"But DAAAAAAAAD, Malia and Sasha's dad says it's OK!"

"But DAAAAAAAAD, everybody will make fun of me! You're making me into a laughingstock!"

"But DAAAAAAAAD, it's not like I bought the beer with a fake ID. All I did was have two or three of them."

"But DAAAAAAAAD, everybody's going to the party. If I don't go . . . Gawwwwwd, I'll be hated. Nobody will be my friend."

I THINK that covers all the arguments made by NU President J.B. Milliken and others in favor of expanding embryonic stem-cell research at the university's med center in Omaha. From the Omaha World-Herald:

University of Nebraska scientists don't need formal approval from the Board of Regents to expand their work with human embryonic stem cells, NU President J.B. Milliken said Friday.

Citing an Oct. 2 legal opinion from the university's general counsel, Milliken said existing state and federal laws, as well as university policy, allow scientists to use new lines of embryonic stem cells, once they are approved by the National Institutes of Health.

After more than an hour of public comment on the topic during a Board of Regents meeting, Milliken recommended that the board let current policy stand.

“Embryonic stem cell research holds enormous promise, and if the University of Nebraska is to be a leading research university, it should be appropriately engaged in this research,” he said.

“To do otherwise would unnecessarily limit the opportunities for discoveries to save and improve lives. It would also risk great harm to the reputation of the university and damage our ability to recruit and retain outstanding research and clinical faculty.”

Milliken said Friday that the regents had had the opportunity for review during the past several months and that he was now prepared to open the door to expanded research. He said the board has three options: affirm the existing policy, revise it or do nothing.

The Milliken recommendation upset anti-abortion advocates.

Since the Obama administration announced a change in the federal guidelines last spring, abortion opponents have been urging regents to “draw a line in the sand” to stop NU scientists from embarking on expanded research involving cells derived from human embryos that would otherwise be discarded.

“This is unbelievable what was stated here today,” said Chip Maxwell, executive director of the Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research. “It's not for the president or any administrator to set this policy.”

Regents Chairman Kent Schroeder said the board probably will take up the issue at its November meeting.

Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, said she and other abortion opponents will continue to urge the regents to reject expanded embryonic stem cell research.

“I will be here,” she said of the November meeting.

The regents agreed to take public comment on the research after anti-abortion groups announced that they planned to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The 12 people testifying in favor of the research included Omaha philanthropist Richard Holland, who is founder and chairman of the pro-research group Nebraskans for Lifesaving Cures; Lynne Boyer, daughter of the late Charles Durham, whose family has donated tens of millions of dollars to build research towers on the NU Medical Center campus; and Rik Bonness, a former Husker All-American football player whose two sons have Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes.
OH . . . I FORGOT an important instance of NU leadership's unleashing of its inner 15-year-old. "I'll do what I want, and you can't stop me."

But frankly, my gut tells me all you have to know about the university's willingness to scrap a hard-won cease-fire between it and Nebraska pro-life groups is this: Holland and Durham. The University of Nebraska, like most of us pathetic creatures, adheres unswervingly to the Golden Rule.

He who has the gold, rules.

It's embarrassing. And I'm not referring to the regents' potential for doing something that causes all the other cool scientists not to want to play with the little Cornhuskers anymore.

No, what's embarrassing is that a pre-eminent university can wade into a moral and ethical quagmire and think the mere spouting of inanities -- ones, in fact, barely worthy of teen-agers who act "young" for their age -- is enough to let it emerge without a lungful of fetid water.

What's embarrassing is that newspaper columnists such as the World-Herald's Robert Nelson can graduate from UNL and still think an effective column in favor of the university's stem-cell stance is little more than calling pro-lifers "zealots" and "rabble." Oh . . . that and regurgitating the party line -- if the Board of Regents gives in to the zealous rabble, that all the cool kids won't play with us anymore, blah blah blah, ad infinitum.

C'mon, I went to LSU, and I couldn't be that all-out dumb even after finishing off a couple of fifths of Early Times.

YOU WANT SCIENCE? I'll give you some basic biology.

Embryos are the result of the union of the female egg and the male sperm. When implanted into the womb and left alone (other than being given nourishment), they naturally grow into fetuses, and fetuses ultimately become (given enough academic degrees and fed enough bulls***) presidents of state universities spouting inanities to elected officials.

At what point do you say "not human, not human, not human, not human . . . AH! HUMAN! Can't gratuitously dissect it anymore!"? That is a question scientists have proven themselves unequipped to answer.

That's the realm of philosophers, theologians and clergy. That's "heavy" stuff, and the University of Nebraska should be ashamed -- in its cavalier handling of the weightiest material -- to have been revealed as such a collection of ethical and mental lightweights.