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With Stem Cell Funding Obama Opts For Science And Sound Public Policy

March 9, 2009

For me one of the most frustrating aspects of the Bush White House was the tortured reasoning applied to areas of  public policy when science was shelved or skewered so to placate some portion of the conservative base.  No other issue felt so-like fingernails on the chalk board in my head than the day President Bush failed to understand the merits of stem cell research.  I still recall how shallow I thought his reasoning was, knowing full well that the only reason he had come to the decision was for political purposes.  Karl Rove had polled, and there was no other way to proceed than follow the least educated in the nation who cast ballots in key states.

What a way to make public policy.

Today President Obama reversed course on stem cell research, and not only placed the interests of the medical needs of the nation ahead of Southern Baptists, but also let it be known that science would again be a valued commodity in the White House.

I am very proud of the first movements in the direction of  a more sane approach to stem cell research.  It bodes well for the long-term interests, and needs of the nation.  But I am absolutely delighted that science has again been recognized as something to be treated with respect.  It is a shame that our nation was brought to a point where we actually were headed in the opposite direction of science.  Not only in regards to stem cell research, but climate change, and environment safeguards as well.

In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.

It’s a difficult and delicate balance. And many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research. And I understand their concerns, and I believe that we must respect their point of view.

But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans — from across the political spectrum, and from all backgrounds and beliefs — have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research; that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.

Ultimately, I cannot guarantee that we will find the treatments and cures we seek. No President can promise that. But I can promise that we will seek them — actively, responsibly, and with the urgency required to make up for lost ground. Not just by opening up this new front of research today, but by supporting promising research of all kinds, including groundbreaking work to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells.

Now, this order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let’s be clear: Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s also about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about letting scientists like those who are here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology. (Applause.)

By doing this, we will ensure America’s continued global leadership in scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs. And that is essential not only for our economic prosperity, but for the progress of all humanity.

That my dear readers is what I call leadership.  Sad to say that President Obama  had to make these statements at all.  They should be taken for granted.  But such is the level of where our nation finds itself at the end of eight long years of Republican rule.

Given another four years in the White House perhaps the GOP could have placed flat earth thinking in public schools too.

4 Comments
  1. March 9, 2009 10:39 PM

    Well for Pete’s sake please go somewhere and get your bearings before you show up here on my blog and write what you did today.

    The world is in need of medical break-throughs for a raft of needs that this research very well may lead us to in the future. You seem smart and well reasoned most of the time, but you really offend thinking people with your totally off-the-wall emotionally ladened term of ‘harvesting farms’. This is horse-rot, and we both know it.

    I am only stunned that you did not somehow include ACORN in this note earlier today.

    Now I ask that you re-read your first comment here today.

    Then ask yourself why you all are not in power anymore?

  2. Tom Canton permalink
    March 9, 2009 10:14 PM

    Sorry, I don’t trust Wikipedia… Anybody and their Mom can write and edit it – and apparently they do. It’s fun to look at when I want to know whatever happened to Grand Funk Railroad or the Doobie Brothers otherwise I have no use for it.

  3. March 9, 2009 5:11 PM

    You have NO..repeat..NO….idea of what you are talking about when it comes to stem cell research.

    To help with the basics I offer a read that will take about five minutes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell

  4. Tom Canton permalink
    March 9, 2009 4:54 PM

    In this time of economic downturn, now that President Obama has overturned the use of stem cells. Does it not seem logical that there will now be more abortions. If stem cell research takes off labs will start paying for human embryos to do research. Thus abortion clinics could become great “harvesting farms” of embryos for stem cell research.

    It’s interesting again we have Pain-In-The-Ass organizations like PETA ramming down our throats that you shouldn’t eat eggs because they are unborn chicken embryos. Or protesting to the Chicago Park District not to paint corn oil on Canadian Goose Eggs because it will kill the little baby Goose Pooper inside. But our President has gone ahead and said “go ahead experiment to your hearts delight on human embryos”.

    Capitalism? Or a Double standard??

    Animals rights over human rights??

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