I was disappointed that the 2006 July-August issue of Many Paths included an insert promoting a constitutional amendment favoring embryonic stem cell research in Missouri. Many believers, including the Catholic Church, have taken a strong position opposing this amendment, and I was surprised that a spiritually sensitive organization such as CRES would distribute the argument for one side of this religious debate without acknowledging the other.
I exchanged some correspondence with Vern, whom I respect very highly. Among the points in his thoughtful response was this, referring to the position of the Catholic Church: "Because I strongly defend religious pluralism, I do not believe one theological position should be forced on others." But I feel that this is in fact what CRES has done by promoting one side of an issue that is not just political but religious.
CRES is in a unique position to help Missourians understand the multiple beliefs we hold, and I am disappointed that the organization did not take this opportunity to help us speak to one another to increase that understanding.
The goal of CRES is stated in red ink at the top of the newsletter: "multi-faith community resource for exploring spirituality through civic involvement, teaching, consulting, and writing." For readers of multiple faiths who would like more deeply to explore the spirituality associated with the civic issue of embryonic stem cell research, I urge you to consult:
The Rev. Paul Turner
This letter appeared in Volume 23, Number 09, 2006 September, page 4.