Missouri Baptists prophetic in cloning debate
February 22, 2005
On the evening of Feb. 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-2 to forward Senate Bill 160 to the full Senate. This bill would criminalize the cloning of humans and is the most important piece of legislation the General Assembly will consider this session.
Cloning is diabolical and immoral, and unfortunately it is very popular with many in the business and scientific fields. To further complicate this issue, these advocates have been strong supporters of the Republican Party in past years. They are now asking those in the majority not to criminalize cloning. Further, many who struggle with debilitating illnesses and injuries support cloning. They are hopeful that research on embryonic stem cells will ultimately result in a cure.
So, the banning of human cloning can be very complex for politicians. That’s why Missouri Baptist involvement is needed in this debate. We don’t serve a constituency, we serve a holy God. We aren’t called to compromise, we are called to confront. We are not to be political. We are to be prophetic. Missouri Baptists are needed in the days to come.
Many Missouri Baptists are already involved. I have the privilege of serving on the Christian Life Commission (CLC) with some of the most conviction-driven Missouri Baptists. If you know these men and women, please encourage them. They have helped shape this convention’s public policy agenda and have given biblical clarification to many moral issues. Thanks to the leadership of Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Clippard and Pathway Editor Don Hinkle, and through the faithful ministry of CLC lobbyist Kerry Messer, Christ’s cultural mandate to be salt and light is frequently forwarded.
During the week of Feb. 7, passage of SB 160 out of committee looked bleak. Gov. Matt Blunt indicated to the Kansas City Star that he is opposed to the bill. That caused several senators to lean away from supporting it, and bills that die in committee almost never get resurrected. By mid-week the CLC had informed some Missouri Baptists in key districts of this development, and those folks immediately started putting in calls and circulating emails. It was this grassroots involvement that made the difference.
One senator had previously indicated he would be voting against the bill. By Monday’s roll call vote, he voted for it. It reminded me of an old Ronald Reagan quote: “Politicians often see the light when they feel the heat.”
Missouri Baptists may not know the exact science of human cloning, but we know there is an inherent immorality to this horrible practice. Terms like “blastocysts” and “somatic cell nuclear transfer” (SCNT) and “ART labs” may not yet be in our vocabulary. But terms like “Creator” and “fearfully and wonderfully made” and “in His image” are in our vocabulary.
We will not be idle in this legislative session because human life is at stake. If we do not pass this legislation now, research on human cloning is imminent. Once that process begins, it will be very hard to stop. And when we start producing human clones for the single purpose of killing them to harvest their cells, all humanity is in jeopardy.
We cannot be silent or preoccupied on this issue. We know how Rome devalued the lives of the early Christians. We know how Nazism devalued the lives of the Jews. And we know how our own country devalued the lives of Indians, Africans and the unborn.
Write your senator and representative immediately and let them know you support making human cloning illegal. The Senate version is SB 160. The House version is HB 457. Be prepared to call and write again if the bill starts to languish.
If you need information on the cloning issue or want updates on this legislation, go to the CLC website at www.moclc.org to learn more.
Finally, the CLC has joined the Pro-Life Citizen Lobby Day March 8. Plan to come to Jefferson City that Tuesday to meet with your legislators personally. It is essential to have a strong presence on the Capitol grounds and we’ll need hundreds of Missouri Baptists to underscore our commitment to life principles. There is no way of projecting where this issue will be at that juncture, but it is certain we will need your help.
And let’s not forget frequently to ask God for help. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:8). As we humbly ask God for His blessing and faithfully work to preserve His ethic of respect for life, we can know that we honor Him regardless of the outcome of this legislative issue.
America stands on the brink of producing an entire class of humans for the single purpose of destroying them and harvesting their cells, tissue and perhaps even body organs. As a Christian, as a Missouri Baptist, the time to speak is now. Let us resolve to say on this issue of cloning human beings—“not on my watch.”
(Rodney Albert is pastor, Hallsville Baptist Church and chairman of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s Christian Life Commission.)