Political Teamwork

For over a year, BreakPoint listeners have heard me address human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and other destructive, anti-human elements in the biotech agenda. During that same time our Wilberforce Forum formed the Council for Biotechnology Policy to speak to policy makers about the dangers of that agenda. Now, under the leadership of bioethicist Dr. Nigel Cameron, the Council has drafted The Sanctity of Life in a Brave New World: A Manifesto on Biotechnology and Human Dignity. Joining Dr. Cameron and me in signing the document are Robert Bork, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Joni Eareckson Tada, Sandi Rios of Concerned Women for America, and a host of others. Yesterday we held a press conference on Capitol Hill to release the Manifesto and to express our support for a total ban on human cloning -- the first big bioethical challenge in what some have called "the biotech century." As the Manifesto states, the uniqueness of human dignity is at stake. "Human dignity is indivisible: The aged, the sick, the very young, and those with genetic diseases -- every human being is possessed of an equal dignity; any threat to the dignity of one is a threat to us all." Advances in biotechnology have brought about wonderful discoveries. It would be a grave error to think that all biotechnology is bad or that all biomedical research is unethical. There is a great good coming out of very ethical research. For example, a diabetic who was unable to walk for four years due to an open sore on his heel was treated with adult stem cells. Three months later, he danced at his daughter's wedding. It is remarkable, and since the treatment relied on adult stem cells, it is entirely ethical. The Manifesto recognizes and applauds this kind of research. But not all technological breakthroughs are so clearly ethical. And the danger is that, as C. S. Lewis warned in The Abolition of Man, biotechnology gives us new powers over ourselves and over human nature. The Manifesto is clear on this: Technology can be used for good or for ill. And when used for ill, it "turns us into commodities that have been manufactured. As we develop powers to make inheritable changes in human nature, we become controllers of every future generation." In abortion and euthanasia, we took away God's prerogative of ending human life as we saw fit. Now in cloning and making inheritable genetic changes, we are seeking God's prerogative on creating human life, which raises a profound question: Is it a greater sin to take life made in God's image, or create life made in man's image? Cloning and genetic engineering, the ultimate acts of human hubris, will be driven by selfishness, greed, and profit. I want to invite you to sign the Manifesto on Biotechnology and Human Dignity as well. Call our BreakPoint resource center (1-800-995-8777) for a copy of the Manifesto. Or visit where you can read the Manifesto and sign it online. Mail another signed copy, as well, to each of your senators and your congressman. It takes a team to move the ball in Washington. Our prayer is that you will join this team to defend human dignity in the biotech century. Take action: Read and sign the Manifesto on Biotechnology and Human Dignity. Then print and send it to your two senators and congressman. (Address for Senators: The Honorable (Senator's full name), United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510. Address for Representative: The Honorable (Representative's full name), United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.) Find out who your congressman and senators are at For further information: To receive the FREE monthly "Biotech Policy Update" send an e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject line to "Charles W. Colson Endorses Brownback-Landrieu Bill to Place a Comprehensive Ban on Human Cloning," Council for Biotechnology Policy press release, 29 January 2003. Charles Krauthammer, "A Secular Argument against Research Cloning," New Republic, 29 April 2002. Charles Krauthammer, "Cloning Debate Is Not Another Monkey Trial,", 10 May 2002. Kathryn Jean Lopez, "Here Come the Jersey Clones," National Review Online, 3 February 2003. Charles Colson, "Can We Prevent the Abolition of Man?", an address to U.S. Congress members and staff, 1 May 2001. Mark D. Wilkerson, "Ban needed on human cloning," Montgomery Advertiser, 26 January 2003.
  1. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man(HarperSanFrancisco, 2001).


Chuck Colson


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