Whitehead to aid cloning appeal
March 2 hearing set
By Allen Palmeri
February 21, 2006
KANSAS CITY – Kansas City Attorney Michael Whitehead has been retained to help pro-life lawyers prepare for an appeal hearing, set for March 2 at 10 a.m., in the case involving a proposed ballot initiative to create a constitutional right to clone human embryos.
Whitehead was involved at the trial level as counsel for one of intervening plaintiffs, the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). After a one-day hearing on Jan. 19, Cole County Senior Judge Byron Kinder ruled that ballot title language approved by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan was legally sufficient and fair. Following the hearing, Missourians Against Human Cloning (MAHC), a non-profit organization leading the legal challenge, retained Whitehead to assist in the preparations for the appeal.
Rodney Albert, chairman of the MBC’s Christian Life Commission and a member of the coalition supporting MAHC, expressed his support of the pick of Whitehead to help with the appeal. “He’s a spiritual man, and he is a great lawyer. You combine those two elements and there is a chance that we can reach the hearts and minds of these judges.”
Albert admitted that the appeals court almost always affirms the trial judge in cases like this. Still, he said that the appeal was important, if for no other reason than to keep telling the public that the ballot title is deceptive.
“The initiative says it will ban human cloning,” Whitehead said. “The opposite is true. It expressly protects cloning of human embryos, but only bans implantation in the womb. Our lawsuit is about ‘truth in packaging.’”
“If Goliath goes down on March 2 in the court of appeals, it would surprise me,” Albert added. “It would surprise the entire coalition that I am a part of. It would surprise Missouri Baptist leaders, and it certainly would surprise our opposition. It would be an amazing victory that God grants to us.”
Albert, pastor of Hallsville Baptist Church, has consistently maintained that Christians defending the human embryo in Missouri must trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for victory. This is how the shepherd boy David, who miraculously slew Goliath with a sling and a stone (I Samuel 17), lived. Albert’s exegesis of the passage has taken him to verse 45, where all that really matters is the name of the Lord of hosts. In that context, when “pro-life” politicians like U.S. Sen. Jim Talent defect to the big money side of the debate, it puts even more of the focus on the God who is in command.
“David chose five stones and he threw one and God used that stone,” Albert said. “I don’t think we have any stones. We’re going to end up throwing the sling.”
Albert said Missouri Baptists and other members of the pro-life coalition clearly realize at this point that their political armor will not bring victory. Most “pro-life” politicians in the state Capitol have managed to dodge the issue, he said, save a few men like state Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, and state Rep. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis. Rather, Christians will put their hope for victory in a Holy God to defend the human embryo. The proposed amendment is expected to be on the ballot Nov. 7.
“We do have to pray,” Albert said. “Those of us who are absolutely convinced of the horror of this issue have got to cry out to God. We are facing an enormous battle here. We are outgunned, we are outmaneuvered, but we have God. His principles always prevail. We want to cry out to Him and beseech Him to come down and be among us and fight this battle for us.
“For those Missouri Baptists who aren’t yet convinced of the horror of this initiative petition, they have a moral duty to become educated about this. If they think there’s a slim possibility that this is good stuff, they really need to do some research and they’re going to understand just how evil this proposal is.”
Albert said the key to the MBC strategy is in the hearts and minds of its pastors, who are vital educators.