The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The religious wrong

 The religious wrong
The religious wrong

The religious wrong

On bad days she’ll sit in her wheelchair, tilt her head tothe side and stare at the unknown.

On good days she stays in the same position, but when you greether she’ll reply with a smile, joon am.

The phrase roughly translates from Farsi to English as my life.That’s her reply to her children, grandchildren and anyoneshe comes into contact with. This newfound actor has to do this forsome sense of normalcy. My grandmother doesn’t know our namesor how to complete basic tasks anymore. She and about 4.5 millionother Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease.

Her medication only treats AD it doesn’t cure it. However,my family continues to have her take it because that is all theycan do. The disease has been acknowledged for almost 100 years, butscientists still don’t know its cause or a cure.

President George W. Bush could do more to assist scientists intheir search for a cure. He has not because he put his faith andhis political base the Religious Right before the general Americanpopulation.

Stem Cell Research may not be the final key to a cure for AD,but it will at least provide some answers. As citizens of asuperpower we must demand this. Going to Mars is not the only wayto show scientific strength.

Bush made us weak with his decision on Stem Cell Research.

This is where scientists use inner cell material of a week oldembryo to produce large amounts of cells that can reproduce. Theythink that with this ability to perpetually morph different cells,scientists will be able to find cures to Alzheimer’s and muchmore.

According to the National Institute of Health web site, stemcell research will help find ways to treat: Parkinson’s,spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes,osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

On Aug. 9, 2002 the president came to what he called a”compromise.” Federal funds would only be used forresearch on stem cell lines in progress. At the time Bush saidthere were 60 lines. The extra frozen embryos in various clinicshad to be discarded. Evangelicals were ecstatic while scientistsand those effected with these medical conditions weredevastated.

By May of 2003 the National Institute of Health Director, Dr.Elias Zerhouni reduced the number of available stem cell lines to11. The president also exaggerated the use of those availablecells. Most of them were cultivated on mouse feeder without thepotential of being transported to humans.

It took Bush 8 months to come to this one-sided compromise in2002. He needed time to speak to scientists, scholars,bio-ethicists, religious leaders, members of Congress, his cabinetand friends.

Americans should wonder if religious leaders’ opinionswere more regarded? Bush has made no secret of his friendships withJerry Falwell, James Robison and other evangelists. Not to mentionthe fact that he prays with some of them in the oval office.

Former White House speechwriter David Frum called the stem cellstance, “the biggest political victory the pro-life movementhas had in years.” The far right restricted this researchthrough our “born-again” president.

According to their interpretation of the Christian Bible thisreligious group believes stem cell research is wrong and should notbe practiced by any other Americans. Making others follow yourfaith against their will is wrong.

How can this leader tell Americans of all faiths that their taxdollars won’t go to finding cures for diseases that affectthem? Parkinson’s affects 1.5 million Americans whilediabetes does to 18.2 million. These statistics on diabetes,Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s only include those who havethe disease. Assuming each patient has only three family members,these three diseases affect about 73.5 million Americans.

The Bush stem cell policy is a mere example of how our presidentuses his faith to run our country. Bush’s bias is evidentthrough his faith-based initiatives, his stance on gay marriage,abortion and many more subjects.

Some Americans said that having a man of faith like Bush in theoval office comforts them.

However, when Bush tells Bob Woodward that he listened to a”higher father,” in relation to his actions in Iraqthey should be uncomfortable. Faith is a private matter. Bush iserroneously making it a public matter diminishing the gap betweenchurch and state. If he wants to pray with his friends he needs tokeep that in the residences of the White House. The oval office iswhere he must represent Americans of all religious backgrounds notpracticing his own.

My grandmother left Iran over 25 years ago to avoid a theocraticgovernment. The Bush administration may not be as extreme as themullahs ruling Iran, but religion is ruling Americans. They mustask themselves if they want a priest or president in November.Hopefully, it is the latter.

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