BILL FRIST & THE "HYPOCRITICAL" OATH
to diseases, make a habit of two things-to help, or at least do
On July 29th, Senate Majority leader Bill Frist spoke out in favor of embryonic stem cell research and the concomitant destruction of said embryos for the purpose of “possible” cures to diseases.
Has the oath morphed into a postmodern progressive version? “Do no harm; unless you want to run for president then it is okay to chuck your “values.” I know I had seen Mr. Frist’s book in my local Christian bookstore (“Healing America, the Life of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist). It could be more appropriately titled, “Healing America, at the Expense of Embryos.”
Let’s examine some of Mr. Frist’s own words from the Senate floor speech on July 29th and see if we can discern this spiritual schizophrenia.
“I am pro-life. I believe human life begins at conception. It is at this moment that the organism is complete -- yes, immature -- but complete. An embryo is nascent human life. It’s genetically distinct. And it’s biologically human. It’s living. This position is consistent with my faith. But, to me, it isn’t just a matter of faith. It’s a fact of science.”
Mr. Frist states that he is pro-life, and that this view is a matter of faith but proven with science as well. That sounds good. Let’s jump ahead and see what we can find.
“Our development is a continuous process -- gradual and chronological. We were all once embryos. The embryo is human life at its earliest stage of development. And accordingly, the human embryo has moral significance and moral worth. It deserves to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”
That sounds reasonable Mr. Frist. I agree with that.
“As we know, adult stem cell research is not controversial on ethical grounds -- while embryonic stem cell research is. Right now, to derive embryonic stem cells, an embryo -- which many, including myself, consider nascent human life -- must be destroyed. But I also strongly believe -- as do countless other scientists, clinicians, and doctors -- that embryonic stem cells uniquely hold specific promise for some therapies and potential cures that adult stem cells cannot provide.”
Here is the schizophrenia. The embryo is nascent life but it is okay to kill him or her and take their body parts if there “might” be some cures in the future. Does our “majority” leader care about precious unborn minorities? Or has he been listening to CNN, The New York Times, and riding the wave of hype all the way from South Korea.
“I made it clear at the time, and do so again today, that such funding should only be provided within a system of comprehensive ethical oversight. Federally funded embryonic research should be allowed only with transparent and fully informed consent of the parents. And that consent should be granted under a careful and thorough federal regulatory system, which considers both science and ethics. Such a comprehensive ethical system, I believe, is absolutely essential. Only with strict safeguards, public accountability, and complete transparency will we ensure that this new, evolving research unfolds within accepted ethical bounds.”
Is their an ethical way to kill embryos? Ask for an informed consent from the donor?
Let us see what Mr. Frist’s colleagues at the Christian Medical Association had to say about this shocking compromise (Christian Wire Service.)
“The 17,000 member Christian Medical Association, headquartered in Tennessee, today lamented Sen. Bill Frist's (R-Tenn.) decision to pursue legislation and policies that would allow further destruction of human embryos in research to extract their stem cells.
"We deeply regret Sen. Frist's endorsement of an embryonic stem cell research policy that would turn living human beings into commodities for exploitation," said CMA Executive Director David Stevens, M.D. "We have appreciated the senator's thoughtful and principled stances on life issues in the past and are extremely disappointed to see what we consider a crucial moral lapse on this critical issue."
I am equally saddened by Mr. Frist’s stance. He is in need of our prayers for repentance. Professionally, as a physical therapist I work with individuals with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, and many other illnesses on a regular basis. Personally, I watched my Great Uncle have both his legs amputated from the secondary effects of Diabetes before he died. For this reason I am a strong supporter of the ethical “adult stem cell” research, which is already delivering. (www.stemcellresearch.org)
There is much that we can learn from this public decision and compromise. Certainly, there are areas that if we compromise, we stray from God’s word.
We can expose Mr. Frist’s hypocrisy but we must equally ask the Lord to judge our hearts and minds for hypocrisy.
Someday, we may be in a position and it could be easy to fall away from our Biblical moorings and roots, and falter when we need to stand. May we study to show ourselves approved and pray for our nation to repent of destroying human life whether the tiniest embryo or an unborn baby. May we take heed of another admonition from the Hippocratic oath.
will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will
I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a
woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard
my life and my art.”
“Therefore the LORD shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” -- Isaiah 9:17
© 2005 Nicholas Jackson
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Nick Jackson is a physical therapist from Ohio who assists pro-life and pro-family ministries in the Central Ohio area. He is executive director of Reform America, a Christian Activist organization based in Columbus. For more information on Reform America go to www.reformamerica.com
"We deeply regret Sen. Frist's endorsement of an embryonic stem cell research policy that would turn living human beings into commodities for exploitation," said CMA Executive Director David Stevens, M.D.