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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Was Christ an embryo? Tom Delay and Beliefnet

According to the on-line Congressional Record, a House bill, HR 810, to authorise some embryonic stem cell research, was debated on May 24th. The bill explicitly includes three ethical requirements:
1) (quoted from the bill):

The stem cells were derived from human embryos that have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, were created for the purposes of fertility treatment, and were in excess
of the clinical need of the individuals seeking such treatment.

2) The "individuals seeking fertility treatment" had specified, before consideration of use of the embryos in stem cell research, that they were to be discarded if not used.

3) The same individuals had given written informed consent to such use, and did not receive any financial compensation.

The bill passed the House of Representatives, but without enough votes to override a veto. President Bush has promised to veto it.

Representative Tom DeLay spoke in opposition to the bill. He said, during debate, "That embryos are human beings is not a political dispute," which is certainly not so. Members of Congress are routinely given the privilege of revising and extending their remarks. DeLay did so. This is that statement, as found on his web site: "That embryos are human beings is not in biological dispute." The question of what a human being is is a matter of political, ethical, philosophical and religious dispute. That an embryo derived from a human egg fertilized by a human sperm is biologically human is not, so far as I know, in biological dispute. Perhaps that is what Mr. DeLay meant to say.

DeLay went on to state that "We were all at one time embryos ourselves; and so was Abraham, so was Mohammed, so was Jesus of Nazareth . . ." This statement was picked up by Beliefnet, which asked for statements on the question of whether or not Jesus was, at one time, a human embryo, from some of its frequent contributors. They said that He was an embryo, except that one writer seemed to be only allowing for that possibility. (My own take on this question, is that Jesus did, indeed, come as an embryo, not as a baby.) There are lots of comments on the Beliefnet page, some very interesting.

Beliefnet has a poll, on the same page, which is, at best, unfortunately worded. The reader is asked "Was Jesus an embryo?" There are four responses possible. The first is "Yes, because God can make anything happen." The second is "Yes, because Jesus was merely human." The third is a "No" response, and the last is "I don't know." There is more than one problem with this poll, but, assuming the appropriateness of such a poll, one response should have been "Yes, because Jesus was fully human and fully God."


oilspill said...

This is great! My babysitter Brandy is teaching me to blog. I think you know her.

Martin LaBar said...

Yes, I do. In fact, I posted a link to her blog in my June 1st post, Sunspots 11.

Bonnie said...

Well, if Mary was with child "conceived in her...of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1:20)...sounds to me like Jesus was an embryo.

Oh, and forgive me, but you've been tagged!