either human or not

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Dec 08, 2006

The French bishops have caused a ruckus, the New York Times informs us, by raising questions about a popular telethon to benefit medical research. The sticking point is embryonic stem-cell research.

“For us, these embryos are not things, but human beings,” Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, told journalists on Tuesday.

Let's hope the cardinal is the victim of some awkward translation here. Because as it stands, his statement sends exactly the wrong message.

If the embryos are human beings, they are not just human "for us;" they are human, period. As I observed yesterday, the truths of natural law (and in this case of biology) do not apply only to Catholics. If they are true, they are equally true for everyone.

A human embryo is a human person. That either is or is not a fact. Either way, your opinion will not change the reality. The challenge for Catholics and other pro-lifers is to persuade others that they must face the facts. When they do, they will be unable to resist the evidence.

On the other hand, those who support the manipulation of human life are working to convince us all that the humanity of an unborn child is a matter of opinion. If we don't recognize the embryo as a person, then it isn't a person, they argue; if the mother doesn't want to have a baby, then the thing in her womb is not a child. These creatures are not human beings "for us," they would have us believe.

So to argue that a defenseless human is a person "for us" is to concede the main point. Every human being has innate dignity. To suggest that the person's dignity is important "for us" is to accept the notion that we assign value to the human life-- and thus to lose the argument before it begins.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Aug. 05, 2010 11:16 AM ET USA

    Pelosi and her sycophants in the Jesuit order in SF who influence her are "Catholic incompetent."

  • Posted by: Miss Cathy - Aug. 05, 2010 4:43 AM ET USA

    What a great idea! I hope every Pastor and every Bishop makes it a point to bring up the question and answer this question at every opportunity until it sinks in that, yes, every human person has the unalienable right to life from the moment of conception.

  • Posted by: voxfem - Aug. 04, 2010 9:54 PM ET USA

    She can't answer it straightforwardly. She knows life begins at conception but to admit it would take courage and humility.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 04, 2010 7:30 PM ET USA

    What you are describing is a serious mental disorder!

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Aug. 04, 2010 4:16 PM ET USA

    The original question needs to be asked at every one of her press conferences, and in every one of her interviews, until she answers it straightforwardly.