In solid opposition to genetic engineering, some of the country’s most influential Christian leaders have laid theological, doctrinal, and political differences aside. Some 60 such prominent leaders, representing virtually all facets of Christianity, have signed a resolution that calls upon Congress to prohibit genetic engineering of the human germline cells.
The signers include Moral Majority’s Jerry Falwell, Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, Southern Baptist Convention president James Draper, and noted evangelical theologians Carl Henry and J. I. Packer. The resolution has been endorsed by almost all leaders of Protestant denominations and by Roman Catholic bishops from every region in the country. This is the first time in this century that such a diverse group of leaders has united in support of a specific piece of social legislation.
The resolution was written by Jeremy Rifkin, director of the Foundation on Economic Trends. In a paper outlining the key arguments behind the resolution, Rifkin suggests that genetic engineering could pose as serious a threat to humanity as nuclear warfare. Rifkin writes that with the arrival of genetic engineering, “humanity approaches a crossroads in its own technological history.”
Rifkin is skeptical of the argument that the potential benefits of genetic engineering outweigh the potential harm. Arguing that part of the strength of the human gene pool is its diversity, Rifkin reasons that tampering with the pool “might ultimately lead to extinction of the human race.”
Rifkin likens contemporary talk of superior genes to Hitler’s dream of an Aryan race. “Today the ultimate exercise of political power is within our grasp … Never before has such complete power over life been a possibility.”
Rifkin continues, ...1
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