Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ah, the Culture of Life

It seems the solemn religious act of protecting the unborn is to be done at the expense of the living.  Now that’s the “culture of life” for you.  George Bush, whose misguided war has resulted in untold collateral damage including to be sure the death of pregnant women carrying legitimately defined unborn is, if nothing else, a man of his word.  He promised to veto the sucker and he did.  I could understand if, upon the advice of scientific advisors, the President would use his veto pen because stem cell research were considered dangerous or perhaps even if it were not ready for prime time.  But make no mistake about it, this (for the second time) was a veto born out of a personal religious conviction, not out of any sense or interest in the public’s welfare.  It’s OK with our “decider” to throw unused stem cells in the trash, but not to use them to combat disease and infirmity, not to prolong real lives.  That would be unethical, ungodly.

I’m just reading the final pages of Michelle Goldberg’s chilling “Kingdom Coming” (now in paperback).  I commend it as a must-read for anyone concerned about our democracy.  If you think that overturning Roe is our biggest problem, you’ll quickly find out that it’s but the tip of the iceberg.  Religious zealots are hell bent on theocratic rule and George Bush is in the stream of this movement.  Just look at the large number of narrowly sectarian schooled religious activists he’s put in place at the White House and across many federal agencies.  Look also at the Billions of taxpayer dollars being spent on religious institutions under the guise of the “faith based initiative” and doled out in so named offices throughout government departments.  You and I are paying people to do God’s work under guise of social services and it may not even be the God you’d expect or in whom you believe.

The upcoming election is about the war for sure and also healthcare, global warming and issues of economic and social inequality.  But this election at every level is also about protecting our democracy and maintaining that wall of separation that Thomas Jefferson so eloquently wrote about in his letter to the Virginia Baptists.  Listen carefully to the words spoken by some of the nation’s senators and congressman in debate in both chambers.  C-Span isn’t an essential only for nerds and political junkies any more.  Consider the Justice  Department scandal and the testimony (and academic credentials) of Monica ’07.  If you think only the Islamists send their kids to Madrassas you’re traveling in dreamland.  Do you know how many American children are being home schooled, how many are being nurtured by religious day schools to be the vanguard of a different kind of America?

Some weeks back Charlie Rose interviewed a group of stem cell researchers who spoke of the tremendous promise it has, but also reminding us that this at-the-edge discovery.  It won’t bear therapeutically applicable fruit for some time.  Progress is being made, but not nearly as big as could be or as is desperately needed.  What’s in the way?  George Bush and the Religious Right’s roadblocks.  Thinking of all those who could benefit from this work, my blood was boiling and while alone in the room I so wished someone could hear my screams.  This was not just another veto, it was war and we better start taking it seriously.

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