I'm My Own Grandpa
By Deacon Keith Fournier
(c) Third Millennium,LLC
A comical country music tune all of a sudden has become reality in the "Clone Age."
As a Bostonian, born and bred, I was never much of a fan of country music. But, my wife and I had moved to the hills of Weirton, West Virginia, to shorten my daily commute to law school, and it surrounded me.
I remember one particular tune, unique amidst the typical country lyrics concerning love affairs gone awry and hopes dashed against a sea of almost constant infidelity, because it had a striking and comical refrain: "I'm my own grandpa!" I would laugh aloud to myself each time I heard it play on the local country music station.
The basic story line of the song concerned a series of illicit relationships, which, through the most improbable turns of sexual promiscuity and infidelity, resulted in the claim of this country crooner being true--he had become his own grandpa!
Little did I imagine that the same worldview announced in Roe v. Wade, which relegated children in the womb to the status of property to be discarded when inconvenient, would lay the cultural framework for such an absurd relationship to actually occur. But that became the case in the last year of the twentieth century when Pandora's box opened to what one commentator recently coined "the New Clone Age."
Out of this box legal, moral, sociological, and cultural challenges abound. For example, the natural categories, of mother, father, grandfather and grandmother may soon all be replaced and potentially forgotten. Science now presents the possibility of six "parents" for a genetically engineered child produced, like a product, out of the petri dish.
There is the sperm vendor, egg vendor, surrogate "owner" of the fetal hotel once called a womb and the various possible commissioning "couples." Moreover, these "couples" come from among all the various new configurations that our "enlightened" sexual libertinism has rendered not only acceptable, but also protected, by civil rights legislation.
A new legal climate has resulted from the application of laws, originally and rightly enacted to protect against invidious discrimination. They are now being used by legal and social engineers to protect (read "promote") promiscuous sexual behavior, heterosexual or homosexual, outside of the marriage bond.
This cultural environment is problematic enough because of its 'anything goes' approach to sexual activity separated from marital fidelity and procreation. But with its newfound police power (because everything is protected by the State through the misapplication of civil rights laws) this new "morality" threatens the traditional two-parent, marriage bound family as the foundation of Western law!
What's more, to hold a traditional view is now considered at best intolerant, at worst "extremist." As a lawyer, public policy activist, father of five, and a citizen, I seek to raise a cry of alarm before we all find ourselves, and our once deeply held esteem for natural familial relationships, relics of an age past.
Additionally, there is need for concern over the regulation of the new "market" these technologies promote. Any commercial regulation is problematic enough in its efforts to insure fairness of economic participation and the proper role of competition.
But now, in this age of scientism and dualism, the human body has become a thing, one more field for experimentation. We have succumbed to an approach to technological experimentation that has embraced the notion that whatever can be done should be done. Baby parts, sperm, eggs, nuclei, embryos, "stem cells"--once viewed as worthy of special legal protection--are now simply new consumer products. As in the days of slavery, man has, once again, placed man back on the market.
Because the genetic genie is out of the bottle, we can no longer laugh about "absurd scenarios" that, like the country tune of my earlier years, once seemed so ridiculous. Our once deeply held moral convictions and the laws protecting our first mediating institution, the family, are light years behind the dangerous march of this technology. We must act now!
A decade ago, a prominent pioneer in the science of genetics, Jerome LeJeune, warned of the possible scenarios that these reproductive technologies could unleash. He said, "Science is [only] a tree that bears good and bad fruit."
We humans understand something about picking and eating the fruit from trees. We have suffered the consequences of wrong choices in our collective past. Perhaps, it all began with that primordial wrong choice at the tree in the garden. Regardless, we are free to choose yet again.
The choice between cloning humans as products, or protecting the begetting of children as persons in the nurture of a faithful marriage and family, is now the choice of our future. How we choose may determine whether there will be a future at all.
Rev. Mr. Keith A Fournier, the founder and president of "Common Good", is a constitutional lawyer. Long active in political participation, Fournier was a founder of Catholic Alliance and served as its first President. He is a pro-life and pro-family lobbyist. He was the first Executive Director of the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice). He also served as an advisor to the presidential campaign of Steve Forbes. Fournier holds a Bachelors degree (B.A.) from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Philosophy and Theology, a Masters Degree (M.T.S.) in Sacred Theology from the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Pittsburgh and an Honorary Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.) from St. Thomas University. Fournier is the author of seven books on issues concerning life, faith, evangelization, ecumenism, family, political participation, public policy and cultural issues. He is a features editor for Catholic Online and the Co-Director of "Your Catholic Voice"
http://www.commongoodonline.com VT, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - Founder, President, 757 546-9580
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