Archive for the ‘morality’ Category

Obama’s stem cell research policy: the use of embryonic cells from helpless unborn sparks religious debate

March 10, 2009

As a sign of the moral dilemma and political divide rocking the United States, Pres. Barack Obama reverses the Bush-era stem cell policy that protects the embryo from being used as a tool in finding treatments and cures for illnesses. It is one of the many secularist liberal thrusts of the new administration.

The contentious decision is a triumph for those who want effective treatments against diverse illnesses like cancer, stroke, heart attack, and Parkinson’s disease. However, it is a set-back for the outspoken anti-abortion groups and pro-lifers who believe that life starts at conception and therefore the unborn is deserving of social protection.

“Embryonic stem cells are master cells that can morph into any cell of the body. Scientists hope to harness them so they can create replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases — such as new insulin-producing cells for diabetics, cells that could help those with Parkinson’s disease or maybe even Alzheimer’s, or new nerve connections to restore movement after spinal injury. But they come with criticism. “I believe it is unethical to use human life, even young embryonic life, to advance science,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative organization that opposes the move.”:—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/08/09, Eliot, J)

Obama is criticized by conservatives for approving the use of embryos in stem cell research to be funded by tax payers’ dollars. But his supporters believe curing sickness and allaying suffering take precedence over the welfare of the embryo. The advocates of the new policy are part of the rising number of Americans who believe that life without maladies is possible. They hope the words “incurable” and “terminal” may one day be banished from the vocabulary.

“This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities”—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/09/09, Gorski, E)

There are those who believe that the public funding of embryonic stem research is a paradoxical prelude to setting up of a healthcare policy which will use less costly medical services to the aged and the severely ill—-a radical triage plan which favors more care for people who are young and productive over those who are old, and disabled.

Despite the advance of modern science and temptations to hasten social engineering, life must be respected at the start of conception. Having seen abortion and selective pregnancies done in the America first hand, I don’t concur with Obama’s stance to use the cells of developing embryos in research investigations.

Though I may well benefit from embyronic stem cells because of my illness and disability, on ethical and religious grounds, I believe researches must find a way to spare the embryo. Life in its early form has been redefined, used and abused to suit certain socio-political agenda. The growing embryo deserves equality, dignity, and protection from society just like any human being.

“Princeton University politics professor Robert George, a Catholic and another member of the Bush-era Council on Bioethics, said the moral argument over embryonic stem cell research is not rooted in religion but in ethics and equality. He said research shows that an embryo is a human being in its earliest form of development, so we have to ask ourselves whether all human life should be treated equally, with dignity and respect. “—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/09/09, Gorski, E)

Convenience, easing suffering, prologation of life, and escaping mortality must not be done at the expense of others in society. From the vantage of science, embyronic stem cell research is not the only way to find cures against life-threatening and debilitating illness.

It’s my belief that individuals and governments have no ethical right to use cells of helpless embryos to advance the conveniences of the strong even if the need is pressing. Though cures from stem cells may one day be realized with the use of the conceptus, humanity can’t escape the changes that go with something as natural as sickness and ageing—all that leads to dying and demise. (Photo Credits: California Institute for Regenerative Medicine x 2)=0=

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UP’s bizarre nude runs spill over university belt

March 4, 2009

What was once a prank of running nude in the UP Diliman had morphed into a spectacle of genital display among other students in the University belt in Manila. Elevated from a raunchy tradition by the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity to dramatize “protests” against school issues like tuition fee increases or government corruption, members of the same fraternity staged another nude run in public streets.

The event has the usual draw of crowds— giggling watchers and cajoling voyeurs as male students excitedly bare their skin, interrupting commerce and vehicular traffic. The disruptive display of private body parts has caught the ire of Senator Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel who sees zero value in the immature behavior.

Airing his disapproval to the Senate Education Committee and demanding for an investigation, Sen. Pimentel asserted, “Sanction the parties responsible, including the university authorities for their failure to exercise their duty to see to it that the laws and the rules of this country may prevail… What redeeming social value does displaying the male genitals to prurient or innocent audience, young and old, pose to justify it?” GMANewsTV (03/04/09; 03/05/99 Balagtas-See, A)

For the overwhelming majority, Pimentel can rightly remind individuals and school authorities of laws against lascivious public exhibitions. There are boundaries of decency that Filipinos must uphold even if students and their teachers imagine they are the naked patriots, “mga hubad na bayani“— the emblematic reincarnations of the statue guarding the entrance of UP.

Organized shedding off of clothes is hardly an affair that one can be proud of. The “Oblation Run” has become embarrassingly vulgar. Many innocent children have been exposed to body parts better wrapped in garments. Yet even UP, the cream of the country’s universities, finds nudity exhilarating. For its frequency, the bizarre exhibitions come like a recurrent lewd joke devoid of meaningful significance.

At the end of the 100th year of the state university, close to a hundred Upians in Diliman bare themselves as an “offering” to their alma mater. Similar controversial naked runs have been staged in different UP campuses and in schools where the APO fraternity has its members. (Photo Credit: Justin Jovellanos) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “The Oblation Run: a risque prank becomes a raunchy protest” Posted by mesiamd at 6/20/2008; “Nudity in UP Campus” Posted by mesiamd at 12/18/2008

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Morality as an administrative order

February 18, 2009

The administrative order No. 5 signed by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo calls for a program that will bring moral renewal to the country. Is it for real? The presidential edict comes on the heels of many corruption charges which see no end. As the president’s tenure reaches the finish line, the entire nation wonders what will be accomplished by the action plan for moral rejuvenation. Zero tolerance towards corruption—that’s what the president says.

“Why only now? She should have done it long before. It is funny she’s calling for moral renewal now as it is only a year before the end of her term unless she plans to extend her term,” Jinggoy Estrada said.—GMATVNews. Net (02/17/09)

Widespread corruption is out of the box in the Arroyo government, but no one has the resolve to prove it. Used to inaction, Filipinos live in apathy and forlorn silence with their frayed cultural values. They hope a deliverer will come to rescue them— or something will happen by simply waiting.

Foreign observers point to widespread dishonesty, but most of us choose to keep our mouths shut. The emboldened corrupt among us are defensive. They are trying to convince us there’s nothing that can be done. It’s only a year before the next presidential election and many believe the government is better left alone to wither away for the next status quo. (Photo Credit: bw.futures(away)=0=

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“Not as a lecturer or as a judge,” EU thinks RP must do more to curb corruption

January 28, 2009

Many huge corruption charges in the Philippines involve officials in the highest corridors of power, but almost all of them remain as accusations displayed like dirty laundry for the public to bear. At the cost of the country’s credibility, almost no one gets punished. The entire nation keeps a blind eye of the growing list of scandals whose outcomes are often tip in favor of the crime doers.

For a long time, corruption comes like a foul odor ignored by the government and its citizens. The stench is allowed to stay, follow its course, until it dissipates in the wind. That’s the usual course that has incrementally robbed the country of its shame and dignity. The public is tired, perhaps, about to give up on corruption—for even with laws in place, there is little accountability. There is almost no public outcry of protest.

Illegal deals and criminal transactions occur right on the face of a Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo. Circumventing the law is common, perpetrated by criminals in broad daylight without embarrassment. The hideousness of the corrupt practices has prompted foreign entities like the World Bank (WB) and European Union (EU) to sound their alarm; they point to government deals that smell too stinky to brush aside. The latest is the WB disclosure of fraud in its bank-financed projects.

The president’s husband Jose M. Arroyo, just like in the past, has been linked to greedy collusion schemes. The latest is with the E.C. De Luna Construction Corp, one of the contractors named by the World Bank for rigging the bidding process of road projects funded by foreign money. Officials of the foreign bank are dismayed by the scale of corruption that is traced way back in 2007.

Careful not to rub the sense of shame of Filipinos, WB’s corruption charges which point the complicity of Chinese partners, suggest that the international community can’t just watch the dirty way the government is run. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo continues to play the charade for the nation.

The EU also sounded its concern by offering the Philippines help to fight corruption. Ambassador Alistair MacDonald of the European Commission said in a Commission of Human Rights meeting in Manila that the EU “sees corruption as a symptom of poor governance and lack of transparent, accountable management, and control system. —Philstar (10/28/09, Clapano, JR)

There it is. MacDonald is right in saying that officials, the civil society and media must work together to fight corruption in government by observing “transparent electoral processes and supporting parliamentary and judicial oversight.” The country can’t live with perversion of integrity that is out in the open and politicalized for everyone to see, but can’t do something against it.

Even if the outside world wants to help the Philippines solve corruption, it is still the people who must first reject and work against it. There is no shortage of anti-corruption laws. They are just waiting to be enforced, not by officials who are themselves corrupt, but by those who are committed to move the country ahead.

The fight against corruption needs ethical leaders to help government officials and business leaders reform their ranks. They need moral rejuvenation and accountability which must be taught and applied in the community. With the nation’s fate at stake, there is deep shame when foreigners remind Filipinos of their freedom, duty for country, and moral responsibilities. (Photo Credits: Almostevil665; wdbphoto) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “On Philippine Corruption And Our Being Inure To It” Posted by myty555 at 12/16/2008