The Washington Post ran a story yesterday on Kerry's push for federal funding of embroyonic stem cell research ("Kerry Takes On Issue of Embryo Research" August 8, 2004), vowing upon election to "stand up for science," and remove the restrictions the Bush administration has placed.
"Here in America, we don't sacrifice science for ideology," Kerry said in his radio address. "Every day that we wait, more than 3,000 Americans lose their lives to diseases that may someday be treatable because of stem cell research."
. . . what really bothers me about this quotation is that Kerry seems to think that science has no moral limits. He thinks that Bush's policy is a mere kowtowing to ideology. But why can't he assume the best? Why can't he read what his own deeply held faith argues is at stake here (these are publicly accessible arguments based on reason by the way)? Why can't he at least assume that Bush made his decision in good faith and that those of us who oppose embryonic stem-cell research do so based on good reasons that are more than mere "ideology"? And, moreover, why can't he admit that he doesn't even believe science should be wholly unregulated and without moral limits? Can't he at least admit that he and Bush both are making their decisions based on a moral analysis? Kerry believes the potential good (and let us admit that there is much good that could come from embryonic stem-cell research) of such research justifies the destruction of innocent human life. I and those who join me in opposing such research do not believe such potential and likely elusive ends (though even if they were guaranteed I would still oppose such research) justify the actual and present destruction of innocent human life. Both positions are harnessing science for a moral purpose.
And shouldn't the burden be on Kerry to make the case for the intentional destruction of what even he believes to be human life?
I don't have the statistics on hand, but I would venture a guess that the majority of those who oppose embroyonic stem cell research do so on specifically religious grounds, motivated by a genuine respect for human life, from conception to death, and a belief that life is sacred. If Senator Kerry wants a real discussion on this issue he is going to have to confront the objections of those who oppose it.
Likewise, if Senator Kerry is truly interested in establishing connnections with those of religious faith (a weakness which the Democratic Party has been trying to alleviate as of late), he could do a lot better than casually dismiss the religious belief of thousands of American citizens as mere "ideology."
Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch
Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.