|'Fearfully and Wonderfully Made': excerpts
Dec. 13, 2006
NEW YORK (UMNS) -- Here are some excerpts from "Fearfully and
Wonderfully Made: A Policy on Human Biotechnologies," adopted by the
National Council of Churches at its 2006 General Assembly:
Faith and science
From our Christian point of view, science is understood to be the
exploration of the created world, the measure and analysis of the
material world in as wide a framework as possible. Inasmuch as we are
responsible for tending Godís creation, scientific endeavor is proper
for a Christian because one should know as much as one can about what
one is responsible for. Problems arise when the results of scientific
investigations are misinterpreted or misused...
...Biotechnologies, like all human endeavors, stand under the judgment
of God. From our faith perspective, we seek then to raise questions on
behalf of human well-being as we approach biotechnologies with the
potential they bring for human advancement.
Biotechnologies and ethics
How Christians and churches make ethical assessments reflects who we are
as a people and what the Church is called to be, believe, think and do
in the world. Our understanding of God shapes our moral life. What we
believe about God, the cosmos, and ourselves raises profound moral
questions about life and death and directs us from belief to values to
concrete imperatives for action... In short, how we deal with genetic
issues impacts our life together and our life for others - our very
faithfulness as Church is at stake in this strange new world.
Individuals and families are faced with ever-increasing possibilities to
shape life through the use of biotechnologies. This challenges pastors
to adapt traditional roles and skills to a growing variety of places and
times where people struggle with the questions of faith that may arise,
or with how to apply their own faith and belief to the decisions they
Stem cell research
Perhaps no area related to human applications of biotechnologies is more
divisive within the Christian community at present than the matter of
stem cell research.
The churches of the National Council of Churches support the pursuit of
medical research that may result in alleviating human suffering, and
even possible cures, but hold differing strong opinions about the
morality of human embryonic stem cell research. As a result of a lack of
clear consensus, the National Council of Churches neither endorses nor
condemns experimentation on human embryos and takes no position on the
use of human embryonic stem cells for research purposes.
We are, however, in agreement in our recognition of the irreducible
sanctity of human life, as well as the intrinsic moral and ethical good
inherent in efforts to reduce human suffering through medical science.
Perception of disability
...(B)iotechnology becomes profoundly disquieting to many with
disabilities when disabling conditions or predictions are equated with
lifelong suffering, imperfections or disease. When those personal and
social values are combined with the power of technology to prevent the
birth of a child with a disability or defect, the possibility of a new
eugenics fueled by social values, market forces, and personal choice,
rather than official policy, becomes quite real.
Conduct of the biotechnology industry
In a world of poverty, wars, and hunger, a wise balancing and use of
limited resources for the basic necessities of life must temper our
advancement of research and consumption of newly available
New genetics or old eugenics?
Among the most disturbing implications of the emerging biotechnologies
are the various potential applications that are likely to provoke or
exacerbate social tension and injustice.
The fabric of the commonweal and the future
The emerging era of biotechnological discovery that now seems poised to
usher in a revolution in human medical innovation will no doubt also
inspire the Church to articulate new understandings of what it means to
be human, Godís own, and stewards of Godís creation.
The entire document can be downloaded at www.ncccusa.org/biotechnology/ on the NCC Web site.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Interview with Clare Chapman:
"We are pleased with this policy."