I read Bob Smietanas commentary "Playing Doctor, Playing God" (September 2004). His quandary is real and frustrating. My brother also suffers from multiple sclerosis, my mother from Alzheimers, my sister from rheumatoid arthritis, and myself from polymyositisall autoimmune conditions. I believe that God does not give us scientific know-how just to say "dont use it." God has given us this emerging know-how to use for healing, as the scientists suggest.
But God also calls us to responsible stewardship so as not to slip into the objectifying, dehumanizing abyss that Amy Laura Hall describes. God expects us to regulate our efforts, to embrace the gray area of a delicate balance between the born and the unborn. The United Kingdom, at the advice of such lights as John Polkinghorne, has established guidelines governing stem cell research. For example, a woman can never be hired to conceive and abort for research; only after a woman has reached that difficult decision for other reasons can she be asked to donate the embryos.
No doubt these guidelines are imperfect, but they are a faithful response to Gods gift of science. Banning the research denies Gods gift and drives the work underground; faithfully stewarding the work celebrates Gods love and gift of free will.
Rev. John A. Mills
Fanwood, New Jersey