NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–While U.S. armed forces continue to rout out the remaining vestiges of the Taliban in Afghanistan, some American news reporters are fingering an alleged new “Taliban” in America — those who have religious and moral concerns on bioethics issues, Richard Land said Jan. 19.
And these reporters are marching to a familiar drumbeat, said Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, citing a recent report that in this election year the Democratic National Committee would be seeking to compare conservatives to the heavy-handed former Afghan leadership.
Land, host of For Faith & Family, a national weekday radio program, cited a Jan. 17 Washington Post story on the membership of the President’s Council on Bioethics as a case in point.
The story’s author, Rick Weiss, noted the recently named presidential council would be grappling with some difficult decisions, particularly in light of the response of “religious conservatives and others” that science was failing “to serve the nation’s will” in recent announcements that researchers had cloned a human.
In the next sentence, Weiss wrote, at the same time the “United States was fighting a war to free a faraway nation from the grip of religious conservatives who were denounced for imposing their moral code on others.”
It is clear, Land insisted, that Weiss was implying some sort of linkage between the Taliban and religious conservatives in America. “Anybody who takes religion seriously, according to Rick Weiss, is like the terrorist-supporting, former government of Afghanistan — the Taliban,” Land said.
“What does he mean by that? Does he mean that abolitionists who knew slavery was wrong because it was contrary to the law of God were part of some 19th-century Taliban?” Land asked.
“If you in any way seek to impose your moral and ethical views on others, you are out of line according to The Washington Post and the liberal media,” Land continued, saying the plan is simply an attempt to block anyone whose moral and ethical viewpoint comes from a religious perspective from taking part in public policy discussions.
“We are not trying to impose our beliefs at the point of gun,” Land said. “We are out there with information and ideas rooted in Scripture, and in the United States, if you can convince a majority of citizens you are right, you have the right for your view to prevail.
“The idea of equating Americans — who for moral and religious reasons have grave concerns and objections about cloning and then killing babies to harvest their tissue — with the Taliban in Afghanistan is outrageous,” Land said. “Rick Weiss and The Washington Post are seeking to ‘talibanize’ anyone who has religious and moral concerns on this issue.”
Land said Weiss clearly showed his hand in an article he penned for the paper’s Jan. 18 edition, appearing to emphasize that decisions on cloning should focus only on “scientific issues.”
The reporter seemed to laud an announcement by the National Academy of Sciences, which said human reproduction by cloning should be outlawed but backed so-called therapeutic cloning. The NAS said cloning for reproduction purposes should be banned because it poses a high risk of injury or death to the clone and to the woman who would bear the clone. The report said research involving human embryo clones should be allowed.
Land noted Weiss specifically wrote that the NAS looked only at “scientific issues and not moral or ethical concerns.” Weiss did not delve into the background or beliefs of the NAS panelists either, as he had in his story on the bioethics commission.
“Rick Weiss and his friends are comfortable dealing with scientific issues but they pan any discussion of the moral and ethical implications of the issues,” Land said.
Such a mindset, he said, conjures up ugly memories of Nazi Germany: “Germany was the most scientifically advanced country in the world but they committed some of the worst barbarisms in recorded history because in their efforts to build the perfect human being they turned their back on any moral argument that conflicted with their goals.”
If we separated politics and religion, Land said, Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign for civil rights and full equality for African Americans led by clergy would never have taken place or resulted in the civil rights laws of the 1960s.
Many in the scientific community and on the political left want to allow the cloning of babies in test tubes in order to harvest their tissue, thereby killing them, Land said. “They call this therapeutic cloning,” he continued, asking, “Therapeutic for whom? It is certainly not therapeutic for the babies who are slaughtered in order to harvest their tissue.
“We cannot let these people be the arbiters of what is going to be the basis of discussion. Do we really want to have a society where it is acceptable to create human babies through cloning and then kill those babies in order to harvest their stem cells to try to find medical benefits for older and bigger human beings?” Land said. “A human clone is a human being.”
Efforts to suppress discussion on these issues is an attempt to smear not just religious conservatives but anyone who is coming from a religious and moral perspective, as part of a radical Taliban-like organization, Land said, calling on individuals to contact their U.S. senators and urge them to impose a complete ban on cloning.
Then, he said, Christians and others will be overriding the attempts of the liberal-leaning national media to shut them out of the discussion.