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Nadler: Don’t Slander Other Faiths

Washington, DC, May 23, 2005
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today spoke on the House floor in favor H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005.  Congressman Nadler countered the argument that supporters of embryonic stem cell research oppose “people of faith.”  Many faiths, the Congressman said, demand the exploration of stem cell research as a promising tool in the religious mandate to preserve life and alleviate suffering.

Congressman Nadler’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

“Mr. Speaker, the debate on stem cell research challenges all of us to think carefully about the value we place on human life.  Many of us turn to our faith tradition for guidance and wisdom on these difficult questions.

None of us has the right to legislate our religious beliefs and impose them on others, but as members look to the teachings of their faith for guidance, I would ask them to remember that not all faiths hold that stem cell research is the enemy of life.  The religious traditions of many of us do not tell us that a 14-day-old blastocyst has the same significance as a human being and do tell us that the obligation to preserve life, which includes the obligation to cure disease and alleviate human suffering, is paramount.

I understand and respect the faith of my colleagues.  It is a sincere faith that reveres life.  I ask them to accord that same respect to the faith of others.

Unfortunately, words have been used carelessly, and these words sometimes denigrate the faith of others.  When a faith is described as ‘a culture of death’ because it teaches that the potential to save and heal human lives is an integral part of valuing human life, that faith and its adherents are being slandered.

How dare anyone slander the faith of other Americans as a ‘culture of death’?

G-d does not speak to one faith alone.  We hear lots of speeches about respecting people of faith, and the need to bring faith into the public square.  The people who make those speeches should show respect for all faiths.

Vote your conscience, but don’t denigrate the faith and conscience of the millions of Americans who seek to preserve life and end suffering and believe embryonic stem cell research saves lives, and therefore embodies the highest morality.”

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