Personal Dignity Denied

What happens in a culture of death when the focus of attention becomes the value of an individual human being? As we have seen in much of the recent news reports, we need not move beyond our own borders to discover the answer. Let’s see why this is so.

Last week a symposium was hosted at Princeton University, the home of eugenicist Professor Peter Singer. During the conference, which was entitled "Is It Wrong to End Early Human Life?" Princeton’s own philosophy professor, Elizabeth Harman, told the audience:

Look, when we think about ending an early human life, this is something that is really bad for the embryo or early fetus that dies, it’s losing out tremendously—I agree with that as I already said. And then you said that it’s one of the things that we should care about. And, um, I think that I should have said before that I think it’s really dangerous to slide from noticing that something is bad for something, to thinking that that gives us a moral reason. And just to prove that that doesn’t follow, think about plants. So lots of things are bad for trees, and plants, and flowers, and often that gives us no reasons whatsoever, certainly no moral reasons. In my view, fetuses that die before they’re ever conscious really are a lot like plants: They’re living things, but there’s nothing about them that would make us think that they count morally in the way that people do.

It is profoundly disturbing that a professor of philosophy would take it upon herself to explain away the unique value of a human being at any stage of his or her life by merely equating him to a plant. However, Harman’s remark appears to be representative of a growing attitude in America that human beings who do not measure up or are inconvenient are better off dead because their "value" is not up to par in the first place.

Recent research reports from Cornell University appear to confirm that sad reality beyond the shadow of a doubt. It seems that these scientists have created what could be the first genetically modified human embryo.

The lead scientist, Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, claims that the research was done on "an embryo that was never going to be viable" but one has to challenge that statement from the get go. After all, if the human embryo was never viable, which would mean it was dead, what type of research could have been done in the first place? But the article goes on to explain:

The Cornell scientists put a gene for a fluorescent protein into the single-celled human embryo. The embryo had three sets of chromosomes instead of two.

After the embryo divided for three days, all the cells in the embryo glowed, Dr. Rosenwaks said. He said the goal of the work was to see if the fluorescent marker would carry into the daughter cells, allowing genetic changes to be traced as cells divided.

In other words, the manipulation and intentional creation of a genetically doomed human embryo was the entire goal of the research. The mere fact that scientists would even consider doing this is another confirmation of my original premise in this blog – the dignity of the individual person is being denied with greater frequency and for reasons that become more macabre with the passing of each day.

The Cornell researchers are moving toward the goal of making it possible for potential parents to select designer babies in advance. Of course, the point was made in the article that the human embryo in question, and others like him, are not protected under any sort of gene therapy regulations because "a test-tube embryo is not considered a person."

When such news reports come to our attention we have to wonder if in fact the entire nation has been lulled into such a deep state of apathy that even the most heinous of abuse goes undetected and unreported!

Even blatant eugenics-motivated comments by elected officials are being ignored. When Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson expressed his concern that, “If we do away with abortion then we will be overrun by black babies,” nary a word was noted in the media. This is why Georgia Right to Life was put in the position of eventually having to report this in a news release – which I might add has never been covered anywhere until this blog was written. Why?

Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life, got it right when he said:

When a leader ceases to see humans as unique, beautiful and precious, when he forgets in his heart that each human being has a name, then he has crossed a historically frightening line.

To paraphrase Becker, I would point out it is clear that when a nation ceases to recognize human beings as unique and ignores their fundamental dignity which is a gift bestowed on each one of them by God, the future of that nation is in doubt.