“Saving Lives, Securing our Future Yesterday” is the ingenious motto of the nonpartisan ONE Vote 08 campaign, which launched yesterday in a church in Washington D.C. In a stroke of brilliant marketing, ONE Vote 08—an offshoot of the ONE Campaign—combines two quintessentially American traits: moral idealism (The worlds poorest countries are in crisis and we have a moral obligation to act) and strategic pragmatism (Fighting poverty is in the strategic interest of the United States).
ONE is a grassroots organization which attempts to mobilize supporters to pressure elected national leaders, particularly Congress, to fund more of the U.Ss international development and relief programs. The ONE Vote ‘08 Campaign extends that focus to the upcoming presidential race.
Although my favorite charity (World Vision) is a founding member of the coalition, I’ve tended to view the ONE Campaign with a degree of skepticism. The problems of humanity are too complex to be solved by government programs or increased funding of NGOs and no amount of money can substitute for the world’s most pressing need: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Still, international aid can help alleviate the rampant poverty and disease that ravages our neighbors in Africa and threatens the security of the West. That is why I’m giving my tentative support for this campaign.
Here are five more reasons I support ONE Vote ‘08:
It isnt often that I am impressed with Republicans in their handling of pro-life issues, but last week’s floor debate in the House on easing the Presidents restrictions on stem cell funding was one of those times. The arguments by the largely Republican opponents of the stem cell legislation were measured, rational, and scientific. In contrast the arguments of the bills supporters shouldnt even qualify as demagoguery. Histrionics would be more apt.
In speaking out against the bill Republicans were on top of their game. They clarified thatin spite of their opponents spinthere is no ban on embryonic stem cell research. They pointed out that the research is not struggling or under-funded, but already has over $4 billion designated for it over the next decade from the public and private sector. In response to the perennial charge that they and the President are against science they reminded the listener that the current bill is in essence one passed two years ago and that two years is an eternity in cutting edge science. They argued that embryo-destructive research is quickly becoming yesterdays news. One member even pointed out that the Nuremburg Code should make us weary of deriving medical knowledge from the destruction of a humanno matter how small or young it happens to be.
Their opponents, in contrast, seemed to have grown intellectually flabby, gorging on their perceived high levels of public support. They made specious arguments that by only allowing supernumerary IVF embryos to be destroyed they were instituting needed ethical constraints. (Note that currently the ethical constraint for federal funding is that no embryos be destroyed. This argument assumes the part to be greater than the whole, known to be a fallacy for centuries.) They vaguely and generically referenced America falling behind the rest of the world in stem cell research. They belittled the usefulness of adult stem cells, in the face of most evidence. And when all else failed, they fell back to lame arguments from authorityfrom thousands of scientists (both the well meaning and the self-interested), to that pillar of cellular-biological erudition, Michael J. Fox.
Perhaps most reprehensible was the way in which many members invoked sick friends, family, and loved ones. One cannot help but sympathize with them in their struggles, and pray for their well being. At the same time, when embryonic stem cellsand only those derived from destroyed embryosare presented as the only possible hope for every ailment, large or small, one cannot help but detect a despicable cynicism at workeven for politicians.
Following thirty minutes of the pro-life forces arguing against the bill dispassionately, from bases in reason, science, and secular ethics, Speaker Pelosi ended the floor debate by calling embryonic stem cell research biblical in its power to cure. Speaker Pelosi defended the bill by invoking the Good Book, and yet her ilk would have us think its the pro-lifers who thump their Bibles in opposition science. The pro-life Republicans who spoke yesterday are owed a debt of gratitude for showing just how wrong that view is.
“Whenever lawmakers are debating stem cells, you can guarantee some study about adult stem cells will be released,” said a frustrated Senate Democratic aide about the reports, in Nature and Cell Stem Cell.”
I can see why they would be frustrated. Every time the Democrats want to push through some embryo destructive legislation the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy sends a memo telling the leading science journals to release studies showing why such unethical legislation isn’t needed. After the Democrats go to all the trouble of claiming that millions of people will die without ESCR its a bit rude for the scientists to contradict them by proposing an ethical alternative.
Maybe Congress should just institute a 90-day blackout period on any scientific advancements that contradict the need for their pet causes.
Science is a gift of God to all of us and science has take us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. And that is the embryonic stem cell research.
I completely agree that science, like all good things, can sometimes be viewed as a gift from God. I’m less clear, though, on the other part of that sentence. How exactly is it “biblical” to kill a human being in the fanciful hope that we one day might obtain cures for other humans beings? Is that written in one of those obscure Old Testament books that no one reads?
Perhaps Ms. Pelosi, Democratic House leader and theologian, can explain that one for us.
While criminal law treats all violent acts equally, the proposed law would additionally punish the accused for any prejudice they might have toward the victim. Instead of ending discrimination, this bill would create a judicial caste system in American society by creating categories where some victims are given more consideration and attention than others. This is a direct affront to the equal protection provision of our constitution.
As a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and a person who grew up fighting racism, I oppose the idea of thought crimes. In America, our Constitution guarantees everyone the freedom to think and believe whatever he or she wants, no matter how repulsive those beliefs are to others. And, our Declaration of Independence champions the dignity and worth of every individual.
The need to solve cultural problems for today's family is great, urgent, and possible.
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