Cloning Confusion

Public opinion polls reveal that Americans are still largely uncertain about human cloning. Several studies suggest that depending on how the question is framed, many people change their opinions about cloning.

According to one poll, 63 percent of Americans support President Bush's opposition to human cloning for reproductive or research purposes. Another poll, however, shows that 68 percent of Americans want the government to allow scientists to do cloning research.

"The poll shows clearly that the more the American people know about this vital research, the more strongly they oppose government efforts to ban it," said Michael Manganiello, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, celebrating the pro-cloning survey.

A second researcher praises the other poll, however. "We're very pleased that the American people, like President Bush, oppose all human cloning," said Weekly Standard publisher William Kristol about the Stop Human Cloning poll.

So who's right? Pollster John Zogby says that the answer is complicated. "People can be conflicted in their values," Zogby explained. "It is very possible for an individual to believe in both, to be opposed to … an embryo or child [being] destroyed and at the same time believe that embryonic stem cell research, the creation of embryos for medical research purposes, is a good thing.

"I've polled for years, and 70 percent tell me killing a fetus is tantamount to manslaughter," said Zogby, likening the cloning issue to abortion. "But 69 percent, including obviously many of the same people, tell me they're pro-choice."

Zogby concluded that Americans are still largely conflicted on the issue and that their answers to questions about cloning depend on "which argument tweaks out which value."

CNSNews.com, April 26, 2002



Bible Bigotry

A proposed European Union law against racism could ban distribution of the Old Testament. The law, designed to discourage racist hatred and violence in the wake of September 11, could additionally result in arrest warrants being issued for those who distribute the banned materials.

Lord Richard Scott told colleagues in the British House of Lords that the measure, part of a suggested harmonization of European anti-racism laws, would "almost certainly" ban children's stories such as the Biggles series, a popular set of British adventure novels. The series centers around the life of a fictional World War I pilot and uses terms like "natives," "coons," "half-castes," and "half-breeds." The main characters also refer to specific racial groups as "Japs" and "Huns." In addition, the law would clamp down on racist web sites, outlawing "public dissemination of racist material by any means, including the Internet."

Lord Scott added that the law could also censor religious texts. "It would probably cover the distribution of the Old Testament as well," he said. "I don't know what the government's reaction to this particular proposal will be. I imagine it will be a mixture of horror and laughter."

The proposed law bans literature that contributes to "public incitement to violence or hatred for racist or xenophobic reasons and directing, supporting or participating in the activities of a racist or xenophobic group."

Conservatives, religious liberties groups, and several legal scholars have criticized the law as ill-thought out.

CNSNews.com, April 24, 2002

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