Foes rally against stem-cell issue
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
By: Kit Wagar - Kansas City Star
Ex-presidential aspirant Alan Keyes and two clergymen call for the defeat of an amendment on the Missouri ballot
Local and national opponents of Missouri’s stem-cell initiative came together Monday in a rousing church revival that was part prayer meeting, part science lecture and part political rally.
Former presidential candidate Alan Keyes compared the initiative to terrorists who take innocent human life and to slaveholders who justified slavery by arguing that blacks were different. The Rev. Robert Finn, bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese, also compared the battle against the initiative to the war on terrorism, calling early stem-cell research “the wholesale manufacture and destruction of human life.”
And Rick Scarborough, a Texas minister who founded the conservative organization Vision America, called early stem-cell research “a devilish science” and urged church members to get involved in the campaign to block the initiative.
“They say this is a David-and-Goliath campaign,” Scarborough said. “Remember — David won.”
The speeches, prayers and politicking came during a rally at First Baptist Church of Raytown that drew several hundred people. The event was sponsored by Christians Against Human Cloning, a group formed to fight Amendment 2 on the November ballot.
Amendment 2 would allow Missouri scientists to conduct any stem-cell research allowed by federal law. It also would create new regulations on stem-cell research, prohibit the fertilization of human eggs just for research and ban efforts to clone a human baby. Supporters say the research holds the potential to create cures for diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and spinal injuries by harnessing the body’s regenerative capacity.
Ironically, participants headed to the rally were greeted by billboards touting Amendment 2 facing both directions on Missouri 350.
Donn Rubin, chairman of the initiative’s sponsors — the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures — said: “The rhetoric of stem-cell opponents is out of step with more than 100 patient and medical groups that support this amendment… To call organizations like the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the Children’s Leukemia Foundation forces of evil is offensive and over the top.”
But Keyes argued that the Christian perspective requires people to give up the benefits of such cures if it involves the destruction of innocent life. Speakers insisted that the cloning of cells in the laboratory creates a human life that should not be destroyed.
Keyes said that slavery was once justified because blacks were considered less-developed than whites. That’s the same justification for destroying lives in a Petri dish, he said.
Scarborough urged church members to go to the polls to block the initiative and stop the killing of microscopic babies.
“This is a hill worth dying on,” he said.