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Stem-Cell Sleight of Hand

Wesley J. Smith

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Mario Cuomo accuses President Bush of letting religion run his stem-cell policy, but Bush isn't the one ignoring actual science

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo is one slick fella. Like all effective propagandists, he's smooth, articulate, eloquent--and he doesn't let the facts get in his way. Take for example his most recent polemic in the debate over embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). In "Not on Faith Alone," published in the June 20 New York Times (where else?), Cuomo takes President Bush to task for limiting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to cell lines that do not involve the current destruction of embryos. But rather than mount an honest argument against the president's policy, he instead simply accuses the president of imposing "the dictates of religious orthodoxy" upon a pluralistic society.

To win his debating points, Cuomo puts words into the president's mouth that Bush has never uttered, asserting that "Mr. Bush believes that destroying an embryo is murder." This supposed religious belief forces the president into a stark inconsistency, Cuomo claims, since "he refuses to demand legislation to stop commercial interests that are busily destroying embryos in order to obtain stem cells. If their conduct amounts to murder as the president contends, it is hardly satisfactory for him to say he will do nothing to stop the evil act other than to refuse to pay for it." This is bizarre. On one hand, Cuomo criticizes Bush of being too radical for imposing a minority view steeped in rigid religiosity upon society in limiting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, while on the other hand he criticizes the president for not being radical enough because he hasn't sought to turn researchers into capital criminals for destroying embryos.

Read this article on the Weekly Standard website (new window will open).

Posted: 28-Jun-2005



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