By Tom Chapman
For The Catholic Messenger
Please pray for those who are in public service or running for office, that they may use their position to protect the defenseless, promote the life and dignity of the poor and vulnerable, and seek ways to advance fairness, justice, and dignity in our society. Among the new resources available from the Iowa Catholic Conference are videos from the bishops of Iowa on topics related to Faithful Citizenship. A list of candidates is available as well.
How many times have you looked at your cell phone today? If you’re like us, the answer is, many times! The Iowa Secretary of State’s office is making a new free resource available to help Iowans register to vote and remember to vote.
At www.myiowavote.com, you can register to vote and opt-in to a series of reminders to vote as well as request absentee ballots. Iowa Catholic Conference staff has tested this website out and its looks promising. We can see how this might be especially helpful in remembering city and school board elections. Give it a try.
Federal action alerts
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently announced its intention to begin funding research that involves injecting human embryonic stem cells into animal embryos, thus creating part-human and part-animal organisms known as “chimeras.” This means that, for the first time, the federal government will begin spending taxpayer dollars on the creation and manipulation of new beings whose existence blurs the line between humans and non-human animals.
According to the U.S. bishops’ Human Life Action group, this research is ethically problematic for several reasons:
• It relies on the killing of humans at the embryonic stage to harvest their stem cells.
• It involves the production of animals that could have partly or substantially human brains.
• It involves the production of animals that could have human sperm or eggs (with a stipulation that precautions are taken so such animals are not allowed to breed).
• It allows the introduction of human embryonic stem cells into animal embryos early in their development such that it may be very difficult to know the extent to which human cells contribute to the final organism. Consequently, researchers won’t know what their moral obligations may be toward that being.
Our partners at the Justice for Immigrants campaign are requesting contacts aimed at the Administration, U.S. Senate and Congress in support of refugees. The church is encouraging a robust humanitarian response in order to meet the needs of the extraordinary number of people worldwide forced from their homes and countries, the largest displacement on record.
(Tom Chapman is executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference.)