Human Embryo Cell Research; Commandment Book Covers; “We Still Pray”

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August 24, 2000

This week the federal government announced that it will allow funding for the National Institutes of Health guidelines for human embryo cell research, which will require the destruction of human embryos. Researchers believe that stem cells from these embryos may be able to generate tissues and cells that could be used to replace missing or damaged ones in those with serious diseases or injuries, but recent evidence shows that some adult cells hold the same potential. Researchers at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have produced nerve cells from stem cells that came from adult bone marrow. Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat for Pro-life Activities, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, said “It’s becoming harder and harder to argue that embryonic cells have uses that adult cells do not.” President Clinton endorsed the NIH guidelines by saying, “I think we cannot walk away from the potential to save lives and improve lives, to help people literally get up and walk, to do all kinds of things we could never have imagined as long as we meet rigorous, ethical standards.” According to Rep. Jay Dickey, the guidelines are a violation of a federal law banning research on human embryos. He says, “We consider the human embryo to be alive. To take federal funds paid by taxpayers, millions of whom object to such destruction of human life, is wrong. We are trying to honor the sanctity of life and respect the moral conscience of the nation.”

Commandment Book Covers
As long as religious groups stay off of school property and only distribute them to children who want them, Ten Commandment book covers may be given to public school students in Chicago, say school officials. This is being criticized as a violation of the separation of church and state. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said that the school district, ” has no business taking a position on whether the Ten Commandments or any other religious document is good, bad or indifferent” and they should be “rigidly neutral.” Countering his statement, Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas said, “That’s the problem. Schools have become too rigidly neutral. What in the world is wrong with ‘Thou shalt not kill?’ or ‘Thou shalt not steal?'”

“We Still Pray”
Last Thursday night, thousands gathered together at the “We Still Pray” rally in Asheville, North Carolina hoping that America will join the cause of signing “grievance petitions” to give to Congress and that other rallies will be organized in communities across the United States. Dr. Ralph Sexton of Trinity Baptist Church in Asheville said, “I never expected this kind of response. This nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom, all religions. We have seen the steady erosion of those rights in this country and it was time to let people know. We still pray.”

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