It is normal for physicians to recommend their patients schedule an annual routine physical examination to check for overall health and to get lab work to screen for diabetes, liver function and possible problems with other various organs. As a person ages, a doctor may suggest specific screenings targeting age-appropriate diseases and afflictions. At follow-up visits, the doctor either reports that everything is normal or orders more testing based on suspicious test results. There is nothing more life-changing and frightening than to hear a doctor say, you have cancer and if we are aggressive with treatment, we may be able to save your life.
Cancer is an indiscriminate disease that touches all demographics and there are few Americans who do not know someone in their family or social circle who has been diagnosed with cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States in 2010 there were 1,529,560 new cases of cancer and 569,490 estimated deaths surpassing heart disease that killed an estimated 400,000 people in the same time period. There are many treatment options for cancer ranging from surgical removal of cancerous tumors to chemotherapy and radiation that destroys malignant cells. There have been great strides in cancer treatment, and researchers are working tirelessly to find a cure for the deadly disease. One of the most promising areas is stem cell research that could put an end to the killer once and for all.
In 2001, George W. Bush prohibited stem cell research during his presidency because of his deep-seated religious belief that testing embryonic stem cells was akin to murdering infants. In 2009, President Obama overturned Bush’s policy and gave greater independence for federal science policies and programs. President Obama said, “In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values.” The president’s move was applauded by scientists and cancer survivors as well as healthy Americans who know that at any time, they could be diagnosed with the deadly disease. There is still opposition to stem cell research from Christian groups who have anointed themselves with god-status in deciding who gets to live and who must succumb to cancer.
The director of Right to Life Central California, Josh Brahm, has taken opposition to a new level by announcing a boycott of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program to protest the organization’s support of stem cell research. The American Cancer Society has also been attacked for supporting an HPV vaccine and an anti-smoking program by an Iowa Right to Life group. In calling for a boycott of the Relay for Life, Brahm claims that supporting the group is not different than aiding Nazi scientists. The question is; who is really the Nazi? The Right to Life group prefers to let living, sentient beings wither and die rather than destroy some inanimate stem cells in a research lab.
It seems that for the religious right, Right to Life only applies to cells and fetuses. These Christian groups and their bible-based dogmata are responsible for more death and destruction than any other group except the United States military. For the past three months Republicans have passed morally bankrupt legislation to pacify the religious right and the common theme is protecting life of a fetus. Women have taken the brunt of pro-life advocate’s wrath and with the boycott of the Cancer Society, men and children are now the recipients of pro-life hatred. Although the boycott will likely not have any noticeable effect on the Relay for Life program, it signals the depth of depravity pro-life groups are willing to go to in their efforts at imposing their beliefs on all Americans.
There is opposition from religious groups to the HPV vaccination because it prevents a sexually transmitted virus that causes 40 types of genital diseases such as cervical cancer in women and genital warts in men and women. It is not exactly clear why the Iowa pro-life group opposes anti-smoking campaigns, but it seems likely the group supports behavior that leads to cancer and death. There also does not appear to be a correlation between smoking and abortion, but extremist religious nut-jobs in pro-life groups most likely just want people to die. It is fascinating the religious right opposes science and research until cancer or other life-threatening disease touches the fundamentalists or members of their families.
If religious extremists in the pro-life movement want to forgo treatment options that are the result of stem cell research or vaccinations to prevent diseases, then they should be allowed to pray themselves to good health in peace. However, as Christian extremists are wont to do, they feel they have the right to decide for every human being the treatment options they can use. Religious extremists will allow Americans to make their own choice as long as it is the Christian choice; any other option is a sin.
The real sin though, is in calling themselves pro-life and Christian. Christ commanded his followers to abstain from passing judgment, but Christians are making judgments that are pro-death for all beings except cellular life. Women can be raped and Christians enacted forced birth legislation; even if giving birth means the mother will die.
Men, women, and children have to suffer through and die from cancer because fundamentalist Christian extremists opposed stem cell research that could treat the disease and save millions of lives as well as treat severe spinal cord injuries.
It is really a sad state of affairs when a pro-life group decides that death is desirable as long as a cell is allowed to survive to satisfy a twisted mythological belief-system. The pro-life movement is morally bankrupt and is depriving men, women, and children diagnosed with cancer from benefiting from stem cell research that could possibly cure their affliction. Most Americans will be happy the pro-life groups are boycotting the American Cancer Society’s Race for Life, and will work to support the organization’s diligent efforts to find a cure for cancer. They will also hope that no person ever has to hear their doctor give them devastating news that they have cancer because most Americans are pro-life for living, breathing sentient beings, and they support research that may one day end the disease. There is no cure for religious fundamentalism, and no amount of research will ever change the hateful provocateurs of death. The least the pro-lifers can do is change their name to reflect their pro-death agenda so cancer patients will know why they cannot have stem cell therapy and why they will die. It is the least the killers can do.