Enlightenment - Stem Cell
Research - Wide Range of Views ...
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 082401)

... The following is provided to try to enlighten the
Diabetic, Catholic, Christian, and Baptist communities,
in a non-controversial manner, regarding the stances
of assorted religions across the world, on an issue
important to the search for cures for diseases and
ailments impacting over 50 million Americans.

This post is intended to be informational only, so
that the mentioned communities are cognizant re-
garding some of the wide range of views when it
comes to the broad scope of religious perspectives
on embryological stem cell research ...

Not discussed - the Catholic view which is widely
known and which a substantial percentage of Cath-
olics differ with ...

Also not addressed, the number of religious followers
who differ with the "official" views of their particular
church, as well as my personal views which are decid-
edly one with embryological stem cell research -and-
therapeutic human cloning ...

The irony of "fate having a sense of humor" is that
two of the most influential entities strongly opposed
to embryological research are the Southern Baptists
(my dad is a retired-still practicing Southern Baptist
minister - I was raised in that faith) and Catholicism
(my only marriage was to a distanced Catholic who,
during our marriage, shifted to a closer identification
with that faith and is raising our daughter, my one
and only, under the auspices of Catholic 'education') ...

See, those weren't controversial statements, were
they? (-:

Note - Most of the religious entities (Hindu, Islam,
Buddhist, Jewish, Presbyterian, Mormon, United
Church of Christ, Progressive National Baptist,
Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopal), per the following,
are either non-committal, tolerant, conditionally sup-
portive, -or- strongly supportive towards embryo-
logical stem cell research to search for cures for
ailments and diseases which have impacted a vast
number of birthed human beings, over 1 billion,
on earth, in this life, at this time (and the clock is
ticking as people are dying and suffering).

- - -

Religious Views of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Adam Phillips, Washington
18 Aug 2001 02:53 UTC
http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=399058BF-
9374-11D5-842C00508BF9712A

Excerpts:

Judaism

"If an embryo is created through a fertility process because
of in vitro fertilization, [and] is in the process of being dis-
carded or allowed to thaw, Jewish law would have no hesi-
tation saying that instead of throwing something away, it
should be used for a positive beneficial purpose," said Mr.
Breitowitz.

"So number one, it's going to be destroyed anyway. And
number two, the laws against abortion - although they are
very strict, and traditional Judaism does not support abor-
tion on demand - do not kick in until an embryo has become
implanted within a uterus. It does not apply to frozen em-
bryos or embryos in a petri dish.

Islam

Abdulaziz A. Sachedina, Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence
and Theology at the University of Virginia, says traditional
Muslims have arrived at similar positions regarding embry-
onic research, via a different road. "In the Sunni law, which
is the majority of the Muslims, although the biological entity
is regarded as important, the actual person-hood does not
begin until after the first one hundred and twenty days,"
he explained.

This is based on the tradition that "ensoulment" takes place
after a 120 days… At that point, the spirit enters the fetus….

One Christian Evangelical Organization

'Focus on the Family,' an international Christian evangelical
organization. Ms. Earll insists that human life begins the
moment sperm meets egg.

- - - end excerpt - - -

So far, no theological agreement
By Bill Broadway, The Washington Post
Friday, August 10, 2001 - 12:00 a.m. Pacific
[link no longer available]
-http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/134327976_stemfaith10.html-

Excerpt:

• Some predominantly black denominations, such as the
Progressive National Baptist Convention to which LeMone
belongs, have not taken a position on stem-cell research.
"We don't want stem-cell research to go awry for profit,"
LeMone said, echoing concerns by religious leaders on
both sides that embryos and procedures might be pat-
ented. And African Americans, whose ancestors came
to this country as slaves, "the first form of human com-
modity," want to ensure that the buying and selling of
humans will not be allowed again, he said.

Other opinions vary widely, and the position of religious
leaders does not always mirror that of the rank and file.

• The Rabbinical Council of America, representing the
country's largest organization of Orthodox Jews, has
written Bush expressing support for funding stem-cell
research on embryos that otherwise would be discarded.

• The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism took
a similar position in a July 16 letter to the president.

• The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has not
taken an official stance but generally believes "it is not evil
to do this research," said Rabbi Elliot Dorff, vice chairman
of the denomination's committee on Jewish law and stan-
dards.

Here are some other positions:

• The United Church of Christ, at its general assembly in
Kansas City, Mo., last month, passed a resolution calling on
Bush to release funds for embryonic stem-cell research.
Research should follow guidelines established by the National
Institutes of Health, requiring that research be restricted to
excess embryos created for fertility treatments, the resolution
said.

• The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has taken no
position and has no plans to address stem-cell research at
its national convention in Indianapolis next week. But a resol-
ution could be introduced from the floor, a spokesman said.

• The Presbyterian Church (USA), at its general assembly
in Louisville in June, passed a resolution supporting "the
use of fetal tissue and embryonic tissue for vital research"
that could result in the healing of illness. The resolution,
introduced by the Presbytery of Baltimore, endorses the
use of fetal tissue from abortions and from embryos dis-
carded after fertilization treatments.

• At its general assembly last year, the Episcopal Church
considered a resolution calling for a moratorium on stem-
cell research but referred it to a standing committee for
further consideration. The committee will give its report
at the next general assembly, in 2003.

• Islamic officials have not issued a statement or advisory.
But Muslims support the use of "early embryo leftovers"
in fertility clinics in research aimed at curbing and eliminat-
ing disease, said Hassan Hathout, trustee for the Islamic
Organization for Medical Sciences in Kuwait. Islam
opposes creating embryos with the intention of using
them for research, he said.

• The 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention,
the largest Protestant denomination, at its 1999 annual
meeting passed a resolution reaffirming its "vigorous
opposition to the destruction of innocent human life,
including the destruction of human embryos."

• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is un-
likely to announce a position until scientists further clarify
the necessity of embryonic stem-cell research, said Court-
ney Campbell, an associate professor of ethics at Oregon
State University and a Mormon. Generally, Mormons
believe life does not begin until after 14 days, a critical
time for neuronal and cellular development, so research
before two weeks probably would be acceptable, he said.

- - - end excerpt - - -

Laurie Zoloth, an Associate Professor of Social Ethics
and Director of the Program for Jewish Studies at San
Francisco State University.

[this link is no longer active]
-http://www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/HYBRIDVIGOR/zoloth.htm-

Excerpt:

Islam, Judaic, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian

• There is moral disagreement as to the status of the manu-
factured embryos from which stem cells are extracted. Are
they considered alive? According to Islamic, Judaic, Buddhist,
and Hindu faiths, embryos have no souls and are more like
tissue, or even bacteria in petri dishes. Under many Christian
traditions, however, embryos created in petri dishes are alive,
and therefore have souls. This presents a roadblock to stem
cell research in Christian cultures.

- - - end excerpt - - -

Closing comment: Who speaks for god? See above and
get back to me on that ...

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