Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

bragging rights

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 21, 2006

Over on the First Things blog, editor Joseph Bottum furnishes an enthusiastic eyewitness account of a speech in which President Bush explains his veto of legislation expanding federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research:

His body language and, particularly, the “on fire” look in his eyes, convinced me that, agree or disagree with Bush, he believes in his stem cell policy wholeheartedly.... He truly believes that he has drawn an important moral and ethical line that does not place the imprimatur of the United States on harvesting nascent human life—as if so many ears of corn—but which at the same time does not impose his moral view on a country that substantially disagrees (at least when the embryos are “leftover IVF embryos due to be destroyed anyway” are concerned).

Sounds good, right? That last line might cause a bit of concern, but it's only a shadow on an otherwise bright sunny day.

Then you click over to Amy Wellborn's blog, and you find her mystified-- not by the President's speech, but by the post-veto comments of Tony Snow, the presidential spokesman, who boasted that President Bush is "the first ever to have financed research using embryonic stem-cell lines."

OK, that's a simple factual statement-- albeit of not too much historical merit. It's true that Rutherford Hayes didn't fund stem-cell research, just as Abraham Lincoln didn't support space exploration. But what does it mean? Snow continued:

This is a President who's spent more money on embryonic stem cell research and stem cell research generally than any President in American history. He's got the track record. What's happening now is that people are trying to politicize it by accusing him of standing in the way of science, when he's the guy who's made it possible to open up the way to science.

Now that sure sounds as if he's boasting. If he is, will someone please explain what he's boasting about?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.