As I found my seat in the ornate East Room of the White House, memories flared. I had been in this room hundreds of times during the years I served President Nixon. Today I was here for a much different reason: To hear President Bush speak about human cloning.
I confess to having become somewhat jaded; America, I thought, had become so post-Christian that I would never again hear an American president explicitly embrace Christian teaching on a profound moral issue. President Bush proved me wrong, and in the process, I was given a remarkable example of God's sovereignty.
Standing at the podium, surrounded by people in wheelchairs, President Bush described the great advances in medicine—the cracking of the genetic code and potential victories over feared diseases. But then came a warning.
"As we seek to improve human life," he said, "we must always preserve human dignity. Advances in medical technology must never come at the expense of human conscience. As we seek what is possible, we must also seek what is right, and we must not forget that even the most noble ends do not justify any means."
As I listened, my spine tingled—and not only from the President's inspiring words. Across the aisle I spotted ethicist Nigel M. de S. Cameron, whom I met 20 years before when he was a freshly minted Ph.D. running a study center in Scotland. We became friends, and I soon discovered his keen interest in bioethics.
At that time, few people even knew what the term meant, or thought about genetic engineering or cloning. For activists, abortion was the life issue. Over coffee one evening in Edinburgh, Nigel told me bioethics would emerge as the moral issue of the new millennium. He was so certain of this that he helped found the world's first bioethics ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more