Missouri pro-life groups united in their criticism
of pro-cloning petition
By Allen Palmeri
November 15, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – Virtually every conservative pro-life organization in Missouri is criticizing the pro-cloningpetition designed – if passed in November by voters – to amend Missouri’s constitution preventing therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research from being banned.
Rodney Albert, chairman, Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) Christian Life Commission, and pastor, Hallsville Baptist Church, blasted the tortuous wording of the petition at the MBC’s annual meeting Oct. 24-26 at Second Baptist Church Springfield. The petition needs 150,000 signatures before it can go on the ballot.
“The amendment is more like a convoluted essay, a verbose document meant to confuse Missourians,” Albert said. “We are not confused. Missouri Baptists know killing when it’s done to the handicapped. We know killing when it’s done to a baby in the womb, and we know killing when it is done to a human embryo. We will not stand for it,” Albert told about 2,000 messengers and visitors at the annual meeting who responded with enthusiastic applause.
Kerry Messer, lobbyist for the MBC’s Christian Life Commission said he is concerned about the ballot initiative being so misleading.
“The frustrating thing about fighting this constitutional amendment is how deceptive it’s going to be to the average voter,” he said. “They (the pro-cloning lobby) get to put an almost 2,000-word document on the ballot, and put a 100-word or less summary that you know is not going to accurately reflect all the damage done with that constitutional amendment. It’s our tedious job to expose the deception and try to educate Missouri voters into all the misleading issues in that constitutional amendment. We’ve never micromanaged public policy in the state constitution, and that’s what this almost 2,000 words does.”
Pam Fichter, president, Missouri Right to Life, called the petition “deceptive” in a recent letter to the editor published in The Joplin Globe, which has joined The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star in supporting the petition drive.
“The statewide petition campaign by the deceptively named Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures would make it illegal in Missouri to protect human life created in the laboratory, would remove protection from human embryos created through in vitro fertilization, and would make it very difficult to restrict taxpayer funds from supporting this lethal and unproven research,” Fichter said. “Missouri Right to Life urges all Missourians to oppose the statewide initiative and to support the real promise of adult stem-cell research.”
Meanwhile, Sam Lee, founder, Campaign Life Missouri and a veteran pro-life lobbyist, said Missourians will be duped if they sign the petition.
“We’re talking about a fake cloning ban,” he said. “We’re talking about a made-up definition for cloning, or attempting to clone a human being, which is not found in any medical textbook, embryology textbook or medical dictionary of the National Institutes of Health website.”
State Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar and a member of First Baptist Church of Lamar, criticized the petition with two op-ed articles denouncing cloning in the Joplin Independent, which is supporting the petition drive. In his Oct. 26 article, Emery announced that doctors, scientists, policy makers and business people have banded together in a group called “Missourians for Ethical Cures” to fight the initiative. Choose adult stem cells, the group is proclaiming. Adult stem cell research does not require the destruction of life like that of embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning, also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).
State Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit and a deacon at First Baptist Church, Raytown, called the initiative “prolix,” which means that it is extended, wordy, tedious, tiresome, diffuse and prolonged. In other words, it is structured so as to wear out the average citizen who will likely give up trying to understand it, the senator said.
“Proponents of this amendment will come against us with their deceitful and emotive sloganeering, their professional advertising campaigns, their powerful politicians and their millions of dollars,” Albert said. “We will come against them with truth, and the truth always marches on. And we will come against them in the name of the Lord.”
Other organizations opposing the petition drive include The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network in St. Louis, Missouri Eagle Forum and Concerned Women for America in Missouri. In addition, the Missouri Catholic Conference will kick off a major education initiative in all of its parishes Nov. 26-27. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis, recently called embryonic stem cell research/cloning “intrinsically evil.”
To read the pro-cloning petition go to The Pathway web site at www.mbcpathway.com.