Would-be cloning journalist: "I am a good old-fashioned Christian"
Michael Guillen, the former ABC News science reporter who was going to test the Raëlians' claim that they'd cloned a human, has been the brunt of a lot of media anger. When there was little to report after Clonaid's initial press conference, reporters cannibalized one of their own. He was portrayed as "flipped out," greedy, untrustworthy, a quackery-pusher, and too credulous of "pseudo-science."

Last week, after Clonaid refused to allow DNA testing of the supposed clone, Guillen, who was already distancing himself from the story, suggested that it all might be "an elaborate hoax." But it may be too late. "The story could tarnish Guillen, a former Harvard professor who left ABC last fall after 14 years," USA Today earlier reported. "After ducking reporters for two weeks, Guillen is trying to salvage his reputation."

As part of that, he talked to Beliefnet about his own beliefs and those of the Raëlians.

"I am a good old-fashioned Christian, and that's what is difficult for people to understand," said Guillen, the son and grandson of Pentecostal pastors. "I believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and what the Bible says."

That's not something he was eager to make public before issues of cloning surfaced, he says. After the sheep Dolly was cloned, Guillen was part of a roundtable discussion on Good Morning America.

Charlie Gibson asked me what I thought of cloning. I said I was concerned about the implications of what [researcher Ian] Wilmut had done as a scientist—and as a scientist who believes in God. … When I was showering that morning to get ready for the show, I suddenly began to sob uncontrollably. … I realized I had never spoken about my belief in God on the air, and  … that if I was going to be honest, I would have to confess I believed in God. I didn't know how people would react. I had always tried to be impartial and keep my personal opinions to myself. … As I walked through the studio, every grip and camera guy shook my hand. It was a milestone for my career, but I felt ashamed for not having confessed sooner, for having been such a coward. It was also very painful when the media speculated that I was a Raëlian, and somehow I had gone over to the dark side with Clonaid.

Gullien says most of his critics don't believe that science and religion can ever be reconciled, and that journalists who reported their criticisms should have acknowledged the biases of their sources. But, he says, "I am completely at peace with what has happened. I am in God's hands. He loves me and even all this has purpose which will be revealed to me."

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Beliefnet also has a defense by Gullien's interviewer.

"As the anti-Guillen crowd sees it, the reporter is a definite I-want-to-believe 'Mulder' type—to borrow from 'X-Files' iconography—in a role that needs him to be Scully, a hard-nosed skeptic," James Pethokoukis, who usually writes for U.S. News & World Report, says. "Yet a look at Guillen's reporting record—while undoubtedly showing a real interest in fringe topics, and, likely, the ratings they draw—also reveals a healthy dose of skepticism about those otherworldly subjects."

Pethokoukis also takes on Guillen's critics. By their criteria, he says, "any journalist who fails to reject any possible common ground between science and religion would seem to be a worthy nominee for … being a crackpot."

Mel Gibson: Jesus film "brings out a lot of enemies"
Speaking of discrediting people who integrate their faith and work, Mel Gibson says making a movie about the life of Christ has launched a media Inquisition.

"It's interesting that, when you do touch this subject, it does have a lot of enemies. And there are people sent. I've seen it happening," he said on the The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News. "Since I've been in Rome here, for example, I know that there are people sent from reputable publications—they go about, while you're busy over here, they start digging into your private life and sort of getting into your banking affairs and any charities you might be involved in. And then they start bothering your friends and your business associates and harassing your family, including my 85-year-old father. I find it a little spooky."

"If Mel Gibson's thesis is correct and there is an agenda to embarrass him because he is making a movie sympathetic to Jesus, now we have a serious situation on our hands," Bill O'Reilly said on today's show. "Secular editors have no right to hurt people with whom they disagree. … And the news organization that publishes that kind of an article is going to have a major problem."

The New York Post alleges that The New York Times is leading the crusade.

But Gibson wanted to talk more about the film than about his celebrity woes. "I think it's meant to just tell the truth," he said. "I want to be as truthful as possible. But, when you look at the reasons behind why Christ came, why he was crucified, he died for all mankind and he suffered for all mankind, so that, really, anybody who transgresses has to look at their own part or look at their own culpability. It's time to sort of get back to a basic message, the message that was given. At this time, the world has gone nuts, I think. Christ spoke of faith, hope, love and forgiveness. And these are things I think we need to be reminded of again. He forgave as he was tortured and killed. And we could do with a little of that behavior."

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More articles


Faith-based initiative:


Clergy sex abuse:

Memoirs of Church of England bishop David Jenkins:

  • Pushed away from God | In his frank memoirs, David Jenkins says that being a Church of England bishop brought him nearer to atheism than anything in his life. Today, while he is convinced by God, he is still unconvinced by most religions (The Times, London)

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  • I was called an unbelieving Bishop | Vilified by traditionalists, including Lord Hailsham, when he dared to air commonplace views questioning the literal truth of scripture, the author still pursues an open liberal theology (David Jenkins, The Times, London)


  • INS: Ghana asylum seeker's tale is hoax | Adelaide Abankwah claimed that as a "queen mother" in waiting, she had violated tribal law by becoming a Christian, secretly falling in love and losing her virginity. If forced to return to Ghana, tribal elders would punish her by cutting her clitoris, she told an immigration judge. (Associated Press)

  • Has God ambushed Ghanaians? | Charismatic churches keep congregations uninformed and ignorant (Kwasi Boahene, Ghanaian Chronicle)

Money and business:

Intelligent design and evolutionary theory:


  • Holy war over gospel | A copyright battle over gospel music is looming as churches square up against gospel artists who take church hymns without permission and rearrange them without crediting the composers or paying royalties to the churches (City Press, Johannesburg)

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