- Finding out the human body’s capacity to endure and survive high altitude
- Learning how to treat hypothermia
- Investigating immunization for and treatment of malaria
- Researching ways to treat soldiers wounded by mustard gas
- Treating the soldiers with bone, muscle nerve regeneration and bone transplants
As barbaric and inhumane as we may envision the Nazis, the above are just a few of the reasons for their human experimentation. They wanted to help people. They were at war. They wanted to help the soldiers. They were truly thinking of what was best for all the people and for the future of their nation.
I think it is critical that we remember that as monstrous and evil was their evil — in a very non-human, no way we can relate to such heartlessness — it actually began with good motives: motives to help alleviate suffering, pain and devastation.
Comparing our current debate over embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experimentation is far from extreme when we consider it all principally.
Last week, Senator Bill Frist declared his support of embryonic stem cell research while simultaneously defining his position on life: “I am pro-life. I believe human life begins at conception.” Just to clarify, that statement implies that life at conception, in the form of an embryo is deserving of the same value and protection as a five-year old boy or a 60-year old woman. It’s all life. It’s all a gift. It’s all worthy of living.
Only God Himself can determine its course, its start and its end. Just as we would never tolerate a neighbor or a stranger dictating how we are to raise our own children or coming into our homes to harm those precious lives, it would surely be arrogant, presumptuous and even evil to delineate between those we deem worthy to live and those who we consider better served by sacrificing their lives for the sake of “medical advancement.”
How can anyone hold the position that human life begins at conception and allow ANY form of experimentation that would harm, much less destroy, that life? How do we justify delineating between lives? Can we use embryonic cells from a baby aborted at eight months but not a prematurely born one at seven months? These are the questions we must answer if we are to consider such a crime against humanity if we dare destroy some lives in the name others.
“Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude…that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived…Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and finally all non-Germans…” (Professor L Alexander, a consultant to the United States chief counsel for war crimes during Nazi doctors’ trial.)
God forbid that be our fate. We say we are enlightened. We are leaders in western civilization. People from around the world want to live like we do. They import everything from our music to our fashion and our movies. What value will we export in regards to life?
I call on all who value life to pray, to speak out and to call your Senator regarding this issue.
God is watching. The world is watching. And, history will judge us.