ACTing before It’s Too Late

For the past few years, I have been telling you about how cloning technology threatens our human dignity -- indeed, how it has the potential to redefine what it means to be human. In all of this, I've spoke of human cloning in the future tense. Well, if reports out of Massachusetts are to be believed, the future is already here. With the war in Afghanistan drawing attention away from its actions, Advanced Cell Technology of Worchester, Massachusetts, announced on Saturday that it had cloned a human embryo. It had done so for the purpose of "mining" human stem cells to be used in the treatment of diseases. The company denied that it intends to clone human beings, that is, to produce babies. Rather, it told the press that its goals are to "make lifesaving therapies for a wide range of human disease conditions." And, one might add, make a healthy profit in the process. But regardless of its stated intentions, cloning proponents see the company's actions as bringing us an important step closer to cloning human beings. Johnnie Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American, called Advanced Cell's work an "amazing accomplishment," and something that people once thought impossible. Advanced Cell Technology's actions prompted other responses, as well. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle called the news "disconcerting." His colleague Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary committee, told NBC that he found the reports to be "very, very troubling." He added that "I think most of the Congress would." But this never would have happened if the Senate had acted swiftly to pass the bill authored by Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, which bans all human cloning. The House passed a parallel bill earlier this year by a sweeping majority that included both pro-life and pro-choice members. I hope now that the Brownback bill (S. 790) -- which has the support of the President -- will become law. Cloning transforms us from persons created in the image of God into manufactured commodities, and, in the process extinguishes our humanity. C. S. Lewis warned us about the illusory promises of biotechnology in his essay, "The Abolition of Man." Lewis wrote, "If man chooses to treat himself as raw material, raw material he will be: not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but [by] his dehumanized conditioners." Christians have known about the threat posed by cloning for five years. Yet, in my travels across the country, I've sensed very little interest in the issue. This apathy has to end now. We can no longer afford to sit on our hands while biotech companies, motivated solely by the bottom line, threaten our humanity. Pro-life Christians need to wake up to the broader biotech agenda. This is why we have formed the Council for Biotechnology Policy, directed by leading Christian bioethicist and Wilberforce Forum Dean, Nigel Cameron. And we have joined with other groups - - both liberal and conservative -- in this cause. But the most powerful weapon in our arsenal is the voice of millions of Christians raised in opposition. Please, call Senator Daschle's office in the Capitol, and your senators, to urge support for Senator Brownback's bill, S. 790. It would be an outrage if the Senate adjourned without acting. For more information: The Council for Biotechnology Policy has a web page accessible through You can sign up for periodic e-mail alerts on biotech issues and a monthly e-mail update from the Council by sending an e-mail to <>. For a helpful introduction to bioethics, we recommend Gilbert Meilaender’s BIOETHICS: A PRIMER FOR CHRISTIANS (Eerdmans 1996), available at the BreakPoint Store at


Chuck Colson



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