Monday, August 01, 2005

Values Voters and the ethics Frist, Delay, and Dobson on Stem Cell Research (rant alert)

I have no desire to weigh in on the ethics of Sen. Frist's change of mind on the issue of stem cells research. I will leave the deep analysis to "experts" such as James Dobson and Arlen Spector. I wil also leave the puppet masters like Dobson to rally their troops to circle Frist's wagons. Unlike the omniscient Focus on the Family president, I do not assume the Frist is choosing "politics over principle." I am not arrogant enough to make such an assumption (and I am pretty arrogant) . I am happy for his decision for one reason. Personally, I think that any decision he makes which causes him more difficulty in becoming the next president is a good thing.

I could rant about the desire to play God and think we should do things just because we can. I could rant about the effects of our desire use technology instead of faith in our decisions about childbirth. I could even remind us all that neither side of the issue has any idea about the real possibilities or lack there of concerning stem-cell research. But, I will not bore you with my lack of regard for some of the advances of technology (as I sit behind a PIII cursing its slowness), including the desire to become immortal. I will keep all of these opinions ot myself. Too many people, Christians included, do not want some of these questions asked.

I will just point of the hyprocrisy I have seen this week. First, we have Tom Delay reprimanding Bill Frist and taking him to task for his ethical lapse. Having Tom Delay lecture Bill Frist on ethics is like having Ted Kennedy lecture Billy Joel on auto safety or Hugh Hefner lecture Bill Clinton on sexual ethics. Give me a break! *

Secondly, Delay, Dobson and the rest of the RR Kingpins have attempted to define "pro-life" and "values" once again in their narrow-minded hypocritical manner. Delay actually said that Frist "declares both profound respect for human life but also support for the federal funding of its destruction -- can be boiled down to the argument that while all human life is precious, some are more precious than others."

Yes, Tom Delay sees no irony in his statement. Some of these "pro-lifers" consistently decide that the lives of rich, white, corporation owning Americans (and our allies, I guess) are more precious than the lives of the poor, the Iraqi or Arab, the African, the elderly, the sick, the homeless, the bankrupt, the criminal, the gay or the different. Judge these men by their rhetoric and their actions. Judge these men by their political decisions and their policy statements.

We should not allow one group to define "Pro-Life" or "Values" to promote their narrow agenda. Whether it is Tom Delay, Ron Sider, James Dobson, Jim Wallis or Bill Frist, everyone defines this term in their own manner (and to suit their own purpose). In my opinion, Tom Delay and James Dobson are not pro-life. They are anti-abortion, euthanasia and stem-cell research (all of which I have no issue with), but they not pro-life. They are not representing "Values Voters" either. All voters are "Values Voters"-whether it is the value of their checkbook or children. I know they do not represent me and I resent their intimation that only voters who align themselves with their narrow agenda have values.

Last time I checked the love of power, love of money, meanness, hyperbole, lying, attacking one's opponents and arrogance (sadly, I could continue) were not the family values of Jesus Christ.

* Now that I am done ranting, let's play a game. Come up with a better Bill Frist/ Tom Delay analogy than my Billy Joel/ Ted Kennedy analogy. Have fun.


g13 said...

i don't know man, that kennedy/joel analogy cracked my ass up.

i have nothing that eclipses it (at present).

Rick said...


you are the type of person I expect these things from.

Kevin said...

Like Bush Lecturing the UMC Council of Bishops on Warfare.

james said...

Like Janis Joplin lecturing Kelly Clarkson on vocal technique.

also and along a different line of comparison the following was seen in the news today . . . "John Bolton is to Diplomacy as Jack the Ripper was to Surgery."

Dave said...

Like Bobby Bowden lecturing Phil Fulmer on maintaining discipline in a football program.

Warren said...

I know you said you's rather keep these things to yourself, but one line caught my attention and I wish you would elaborate . . . .

"I could rant about the effects of our desire use technology instead of faith in our decisions about childbirth."

Are you suggesting that those who seek out medical attention when dealing with issues like infertility, perhaps using technologies such as in vitro or even technologies less severe, are somehow acting contrary to faith?

Rick said...

actually it is more of a question that needs to be asked. I have no idea or opinion myself.

however, we are quick to use technology for 1 thing and say it should not be used for the other without asking the questions in advance.

when we created the technology for IVF and such, the ethicists should have been asking stem cell questions instead of waiting.

It is more a question for the right that wants the technolgy for IVF with no consequences to be thought of (like the extra eggs or the desire of the scientific community to do something they deem productive with those eggs).

Sadly, I have many friends who have used extraordinary means (nothing wrong with that) without thinking through the issues related (that is where I have the issue)and the consequences (especially for hardcore Prolifers).

Am I making anything clear?

No answers, just questions

Warren said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Warren said...

Wanted to tweak my previous comment . . . .

Yeah, that's clear. Technology is a tricky thing, and I agree that fertility technologies require us to ask some serious ethical and theological questions like what to do with extra eggs, how many to harvest, how many to inseminate, how many to put back for implantation, whether or not to donate the eggs to other couples, etc.
Rog and Pam and I had some discussions about that when they decided to go IVF. Angie and I have yet to make that decision, though we are leaning more toward adoption than hard-core fertility treatment at this point.
This is one example of a concept I like in process theology (I won't pretend to be an expert on it, and there are things in my understanding of process theology that I reject). One of the main principles of process theology is that the more complex systems become, the greater their capacity for good and the greater their capacity for evil. Such is the case with fertility technology.
Personally, I'm grateful for these issues as it is starting to reawaken good ethical and theological thought in Christian circles. The trouble is, we've been asleep for so long on issues of ethics that we've forgotten how to engage these issues. God help us and guide us.

8:27 AM