As President Bush pointed out in his April 10 endorsement of S. 1899 sponsored by Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the issue of human cloning presents America, and particularly its government, with a choice of paths.
America is challenged
In the President’s words, we must decide either to “pursue medical research with a clear sense of moral purpose,” or “travel without an ethical compass into a world we could live to regret.”
It is not without cause that the Holy See “supports a world-wide and comprehensive ban on human cloning, no matter what techniques are used and what aims are pursued.”1 All human cloning is morally wrong. It can never be purely “therapeutic.” Cloning – even when euphemistically labeled “therapeutic” or “research” cloning – is always reproductive since it always generates a developing human being.
Some proponents of human cloning hint menacingly that unless America legalizes it, we will be “out of step” with the rest of the world and that we will be “left behind.” However, it would be shameful, pusillanimous and an abdication of leadership to turn our back on what we know is morally right to spare ourselves the sacrifices inherent to paddling upstream. If the river is rushing heedlessly toward a moral waterfall, we should want to be left behind. Furthermore, rather than follow trends we should set them, and we should set them correctly.
We are no longer talking about authentic medical progress where nature is observed, understood and perfected. Backed by a biotech industry that has already patented and redesigned some animal species, this is a new frontier that could seek to change the very nature and form of human life itself.
From the hallowed high-tech halls of our research institutions, a disturbing new worldview is emerging. There are some who believe this biogenetic revolution will free us from the physical limitations of the human body. We will be the architects of a new creation independent of universal truths or outside forces. We are to be the masters of our biological destiny as we program our own evolution. Rejecting God, Who created us in His image, we will be free to create our own image.
Indeed, some authors describe this “brave new world” as “posthuman.” “In our view, human cloning constitutes a momentous route to the posthuman,” write Professors Steven Best and Douglas Kellner, “a leap into a new stage of history, with significant and potentially disturbing consequences.”2
This posthuman world is anything but disturbing to the futurist thinker and founder of Extropy Institute, Dr. Max More: “No more gods, no more faith, no more timid holding back. Let us blast out of our old forms, our ignorance, our weakness, and our mortality. The future belongs to posthumanity.”3
Cloning, therefore, is a first and tragic step towards this posthuman world. Our elected representatives would do well to keep this in mind when they vote on this bipartisan bill.
The Senate must pronounce itself on this grave issue while America grapples with a war that started last September 11, but which will develop, and, more importantly, will end at a time and in a manner that no one can foresee. The stakes, however, are clear: America’s survival, and that of Western Christian civilization.
If there ever was a time in our history when America stood in urgent need of divine help it is now.
The Senate’s decision to ban all forms of human cloning would be an important step toward obtaining this help from Providence.
This is so because a government speaks for the nation. It represents the nation not only in the eyes of the world and history, but also in the eyes of God. A government’s decision binds the country, for better or worse, and has consequences for all of us. God rewards and punishes nations in this life, for the good or evil they do. His infinite justice requires this, for nations as such do not pass into eternity.
The Old Testament abounds with examples of how God chastised or rewarded the infidelity and fidelity of nations. For instance, regarding the Chosen People, we read in the Book of Judith: “But when they deviated from the way He prescribed for them, they were ground down steadily, more and more, by frequent wars, and finally taken as captives into foreign lands. The temple of their God was razed to the ground, and their cities were occupied by their enemies. But now that they have returned to their God, they have come back from the Dispersion wherein they were scattered, and have repossessed Jerusalem, where their sanctuary is, and have settled again in the mountain region which was unoccupied.”4
Regarding this, defeatists may argue that banning human cloning now is “too little, too late.” That is false reasoning. It is never too late to do what is morally right. America was viciously attacked on September 11 because of the good principles it represents. Our answer should not be to throw in the towel, but to fortify and expand those good principles all the more. In doing so, we may even receive special graces to correct our ways and make up for our shortcomings.
It is imperative that the Senate ban all human cloning now, and thus help secure God’s blessings on America.
- The Views of the Holy See on Human Cloning, Zenit, March 3, 2002.
- Steven Best and Douglas Kellner, Biotechnology, Democracy, and the Politics of Cloning, on the web at http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/papers/biotechdem.htm.
- Max More, Ph.D., “On Becoming Posthuman” in Free Inquiry, Fall 1994.
- Judith, 5:18-19.