Regarding the May 25 article "House defies Bush, approves stem cell bill": I commend President Bush's fortitude in promising to veto the House's decision to loosen restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. This Frankenstein science should be banned in every civilized country.
Genetic science has great potential for either serving or degrading humanity. Its proper use requires moral reflection and the establishment of moral limits.
Here, a relationship of domination between of researchers and their embryonic subjects exists which not only opens the door to new threats against life but is contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.
Genetic screening used for the deliberate destruction of human embryos can never be justified because here we are dealing with murder.
All governments have a moral obligation to protect human life in all phases of its existence from conception to natural death.
Hence, the cry should be not for an increase in federal funding for embryonic stem cells, but rather an aggressive expansion of adult stem-cell research. I commend the progressive work being done in this regard by the President's Council on Bioethics.
Gary Bauer, president of American Values, was quoted in the May 26 article "Another stem-cell showdown," as saying that the main argument presented by religious conservative leaders against expanding funding for stem cell research is that "Americans who are deeply morally offended by that research are going to be required to pay for it." Were it not so sad, this would be a laughable statement.
In this great country of ours, how many Americans have been required to pay for government programs that they find morally offensive? What about the thousands who marched against the invasion of Iraq? How much have they paid for a war they find morally offensive? Billions! The list goes on, regardless of party affiliation or issue.
In a country such as ours - indeed, in any country or government - decisions will be made and laws passed that require citizens to pay for programs they may find morally offensive.
It is part of learning to work and grow together, culturally, and individually.
D. David Robinson
Regarding the May 23 article "Policing displays of affection at school": There is no doubt that affection is a basic need of all human beings. Since it is, why should anyone object to public hugging?
There are many things we do in private and not in public, and the only question is where we draw the line.
Recently the line has moved towards greater exposure of things previously considered permissible only in private, and it is difficult to point out any improvement as a result. There is more violence, much more sex-related violence, and words such as rape - which previously could not be said in public - are now used commonly and openly all over TV, movies, and songs.
Our society - and our children - are exposed to a constant barrage of sex-related sights and sounds, and the sexual behavior of society is noticeably less healthy than before society allowed this blatant sexuality in public.
Surely every open-minded person realizes that the time has come for a return to modesty, as was practiced in the US years ago and is still practiced in many societies.
Petah Tikva, Israel
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